Hello, this is Nagashima from the CG team.
Today, I’d like to write about the in-house fashion contest we recently held at our company.
The Beginning: From a "Mokumoku Meeting"
We often host public contests, such as the "AI FASHION CHALLENGE -Brand Contest" and "accelerando.Ai Item Design Contest". However, if we take a step back to April 2023, about six months ago, we were just starting with our internal contests.
A "mokumoku meeting" is where participants quietly work on their individual tasks. It’s akin to a self-study session where people gather to work in silence.
During these meetings, aimed at promoting AI image generation, participants either choose their themes or work on assigned topics to create images within a given time frame.
Our in-house contest, which I’m introducing today, originated from such "mokumoku meetings".
Purpose of the In-House Fashion Contest
The internal fashion contest had three primary goals:
- Promote the use of AI-generated images within the team.
- Gather design ideas from a broader range of our employees.
- Serve as an opportunity to leverage our employees’ strengths.
We hoped that the contest would encourage the use of AI in image generation, harness a diversity of design ideas, and help us discover and utilize the unique skills of our team members.
The First Contest Experience
I unfortunately couldn’t participate in the first contest due to other commitments but revisited the Slack history to catch up on what had transpired.
Here are the details:
Contest Name: 1st accelerando Fashion Contest
Theme: Free choice, no specific theme
Image Generation Tool: Midjourney
Submission Method: Post the artwork and prompt as a set on Slack
Presentation: Present in the order of submission
Voting Method: Vote by adding a stamp to the preferred works on Slack (each person has three stamps)
Ranking: Determined by the number of stamps received
Now, let’s take a peek at the works submitted on Slack.
Here is the work of the member who clinched the first place in the inaugural contest.
The journey to the completion of this image is detailed in the blog post "[Image Generation AI - Part 1] Midjourney for Creators: How Far Can We Express Our Ideals?", and it made a lasting impression.
Building the Second and Subsequent Contests
I actually participated starting from the second contest. While the first round had a free theme, the second contest was organized with a pre-determined theme.
Contest Name: 2nd accelerando Fashion Contest
Theme: Future (High fashion that evokes thoughts of the future)
Note: We welcome entries with a strong narrative; interpretations of ‘future’ are entirely up to you
Image Generation Tool: Midjourney
Submission Method: Submit artwork images and prompts as a set on Slack
Presentation: Presentations will be done in the order of artwork submission
Voting Method: Vote by stamping artworks that you like on Slack (each person has three stamps)
Ranking: Rankings are determined by the number of stamps received
Even with a specific theme, its simplicity and the freedom it afforded made participation easy and enjoyable. The ‘future’ theme allowed for diverse interpretations, leading to a variety of creative outputs, each carrying the distinct touch of its creator. It was exciting just to imagine the array of works that would be produced.
We aimed for an evolving contest style, incorporating new approaches and refining the process based on feedback with each iteration.
Here is the work of the member who won first place in the second contest.
Incredibly, my own artwork was chosen!!!
I adopted the theme of my own future image, centered around the concept of "Beautiful in both mind and body." As we age, our appearance inevitably changes, yet I embedded my belief in the artwork - the desire to maintain inner beauty.
In the past, I’ve been recognized in competitive arenas like swimming and martial arts, but this was the first time that my artistic expression received acknowledgment. This revelation gave birth to a realization – “I too can create.” It ignited a sentiment that everyone should have a platform for expression and the opportunity to relish in it.
Looking back, this triumphant experience intensified my interest in AI image generation, drawing me further into its allure. When contemplating the management of the contest, I’m inspired to treasure such individual emotions and experiences of each participant.
The Third Contest - Becoming the Theme Setter
I always knew the day would come when I would be asked to set the theme for the contests, and indeed, I was assigned this role from the third contest onwards!
Wondering what theme to set, and coming up with nothing, I decided to change my scenery and went out for a steak bowl. It was then that inspiration struck: "Why not style an outfit for our CEO who is speaking at a Generative AI event!"
Contest Name: 3rd Accelerando In-house Fashion Contest
Theme: Create a styling image for the outfit that CEO Ueda will wear at the "Generative AI and Fashion’s Future" event on 5/25
Additional Information: Don’t worry about the actual scene of wear, feel free to design creatively
And this is the artwork that was awarded first place!
The reason for its selection was "I’ve been gaining some weight around my belly recently and need something more forgiving," so it seems haha.
I thought it was quite stylish as an outfit, but there's also a way of choosing based on imagining oneself actually wearing it. While it's about covering body shape, amid everyone proposing sharp, well-fitted suit styles, this piece met the needs of those not wanting something too formal and rigid - a perfect fit indeed.
In the context of the contest, we designed the theme with the following anticipated effects in mind:
・Enhancing employees’ consciousness towards participating in events
・Fostering a sense of unity among employees
・Sharing everyone’s perception of Mr. Ueda
・Verifying the approaches of the participants
・Observing reactions to relatable themes
As a result, we felt that it achieved a certain level of effectiveness. Not only did it boost the willingness to participate in events and enhance team unity, but it also enabled the sharing of common images and expectations towards Mr. Ueda. Moreover, the announcement of the contest results was enjoyable. The anticipation of what kind of attire Mr. Ueda would choose and appear in at the event also escalated!
When running a contest, irrespective of whether it's internal or external, crafting content that participants can enjoy is indispensable. We respect the ideas of the participants, establish criteria that can be empathized with, and are also considering soliciting themes for the contests from the public in the future.