Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Amazon wants to use AI to recommend you clothing — again

June 7, 2019
A screenshot of blue dresses with white polka dots on Amazon.
A screenshot of blue dresses with white polka dots on Amazon.Screenshot/Amazon

StyleSnap is Amazon’s latest attempt to use machine learning to peddle fashion.

How it works: Announced at Amazon’s AI and robotics conference re:MARS 2019, the tool lets you upload photos and screenshots of clothes and accessories you like. It then uses machine-learning algorithms to match them to similar items on Amazon. Accredited "influencers" for Amazon are encouraged to get their followers on social media to use StyleSnap to take a screenshot of outfits they’ve modeled. The influencer will then earn commission on any subsequent sales.

The big picture: It’s the company’s latest crack at one of the few areas it has yet to dominate in retail. Last year, it took a different tack with the launch of a stylist assistant built into the Echo Look camera. The assistant compared two photos of you wearing different outfits and selected which looked better on the basis of fit, color combination, and current fashion trends. But reviewers found the assistant’s logic lacking, and the product never took off.

Technical difficulties: The assistant had a tougher task: it had to generate subjective opinions with relatively simple logic to back it up. With StyleSnap, Amazon may have more luck. It leans on machine learning’s biggest strength: pattern matching in images.

To have more stories like this delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for our Webby-nominated AI newsletter The Algorithm. It's free.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

The inside story of how ChatGPT was built from the people who made it

Exclusive conversations that take us behind the scenes of a cultural phenomenon.

AI is dreaming up drugs that no one has ever seen. Now we’ve got to see if they work.

AI automation throughout the drug development pipeline is opening up the possibility of faster, cheaper pharmaceuticals.

GPT-4 is bigger and better than ChatGPT—but OpenAI won’t say why

We got a first look at the much-anticipated big new language model from OpenAI. But this time how it works is even more deeply under wraps.

The original startup behind Stable Diffusion has launched a generative AI for video

Runway’s new model, called Gen-1, can change the visual style of existing videos and movies.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.