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Following its latest designer collab, Baggu faces backlash over use of AI

Baggu makes – you guessed it – lightweight bags crafted from recycled nylon and canvas. Its eco-credentials and bold prints helped make the brand a hit, most recently with Gen Z. But has that dream soured?

Earlier this month, the brand released a capsule collection designed by Collina Strada, including a horse bag complete with feet and a strap tail. Fans' initial enthusiasm quickly waned, with consumers expressing disappointment that Midjourney had been used to generate two prints featured in the collection. Although a disclaimer was added to the product pages and Hilary Taymour, the designer behind Collina Strada, has been open about her use of generative AI, some felt the brands had not been transparent enough about the role the technology played in the creative process. Others highlighted the impact AI has on small makers and on the environment.

Given that gen AI isn't going anywhere — 96% of global executives feel an urgency to incorporate AI into their business operations — brands in the fashion industry and beyond will need to have strategies in place to mitigate potential backlash. Three approaches to consider: 

🔎 Transparency: Be open about when, where and how AI is (or isn't) used and steps being taken to minimize environmental impact. Carbon labeling has become more common over the last few years. What would an AI equivalent look like?

🎨 Participation: With studies suggesting that familiarity drives a more positive view of the technology, consider developing gen AI-powered co-creation tools that make fans a part of the process. See Reebok Impact, which transforms user's photos into personalized sneakers.

💞 Meaning: Can you honestly say that AI is truly enriching your service or experience, or are you guilty of deploying the tech for its own sake? Consumers will appreciate thoughtful applications in the vein of Rebind, a startup that's enhancing the reading experience with AI-powered author takes. 

Spotted by: Vicki Loomes