How to Incorporate AI Into the Fashion Design Process

Apparelmark's Guide to AI Prompts

By Apparelmark

July 19, 2023

In today’s fashion industry, there’s no escaping the buzz surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and the discussions about its impact. While many are concerned about the potential drawbacks, we began to wonder if AI could already be a tool for designers to enhance their creativity and presentation skills. In this blog, we’ll provide you with useful tips and prompts for fashion illustration, croquis development, turning sketches into illustrations, and creating moodboards. AI programs can serve as a catalyst for innovation and artistic expression. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just starting out, these prompts will inspire you to push boundaries and create captivating work.


Fashion Illustration Prompts


We played around with several AI programs and landed on Midjourney as a way for designers to enhance their presentation skills. Midjourney creates images and photography through text prompts. It is subscription based so you will need to sign up and go through the very lengthy setup process…. stay with it, it’s worth it!

Start with an Image to get better results. Instead of using text prompts, here is the prompt we used which includes a starting image URL to create the above artwork: 


/imagine (image URL) Female fashion illustration sketch of clothing garments in the style of soft color blending, muted colorscape mastery, conceptual simplicity, frontal view on mannequin, use of fabric, washed out, utilitarian, precise and lifelike, reflective, limited color range, functional aesthetics, imitated material, gray and beige, soft color blending, purple


Croquis Development Prompts


It is also possible to manipulate croquis used for sketching.  Creating useful croquis is quite challenging, as the AI bots seem to like to draw in a futuristic way (makes sense) which is cool to see but not overly useful for sketching. Avoid using the word “futuristic” in the prompt for better results. 

Create croquis using your existing favourite drawing templates. Start from an image and try this.


/imagine (image URL) as a fashion CAD outline line drawing of a mannequin, soft and blending, full body, black and white, in the style of a pencil CAD fine line drawing, with slender angular exaggerated proportions, detailed face, conceptual simplicity, perfect form


Sketches to Illustrations Prompts


Turn Sketches into illustrations with prompts that create realistic hand-drawn illustrations. The AI technology is very hard to control, so describing in detail how you want the end result to look is very important.

Less is More. It is easy to be distracted by AI generated art, but the simpler the better. It is possible to get realistic illustrations that are close to the original sketches which may be useful for moodboards. Here is a nice simple prompt: 


/imagine (image URL) as a simple design sketch of a woman wearing athleisure clothing, in the style of conceptual simplicity, frontal view, on mannequin use of fabric, washed-out, with dynamic styling





We create moodboards on a weekly basis so we wanted to see if “AI” could help us create collages. AI tools like Midjourney can be helpful in generating ideas and incorporating illustrative qualities into your creative process. While it may not save time due to the post-editing required, the AI-generated images can serve as a strong starting point for your moodboards and provide fresh perspectives for your layouts.

There is something about moody photography within a grid that feels perfect for golf, tennis or active. It’s best to start with an image or pre-created moodboard to get better results. 


/imagine (image URL) as a collage of photography in multiple square grid, white borders, in the style of moody photography, outdoor, golf and tennis, blurred and grainy, overexposed, limited colour range, portrait oceanscape, gold, waves muted tones


Fine-Tuning the Designer Eye


We still have a lot to learn and experiment with, but we are seeing some consistency with key prompts- listed below – to help give the computer-generated work a little bit of a designer’s eye! 


/imagine (image URL) as 6 squares within a grid with pantones, Female fashion illustration, sketch of clothing garments, in the style of soft color blending, muted colorscape, conceptual simplicity, frontal view on mannequin, use of fabric, washed out, utilitarian precise, lifelike, limited color range 


To create a moodboard with a softer look suitable for yogawear or organic collections, try describing the kind of product you’re hoping to create along with nature scenes such as “ethereal landscapes”.


/imagine (image URL) as a minimalistic moodboard for spring summer, yoga athletic womenswear, in the style of fashion illustrations, hand drawn pencil, minimalistic, soft color blending, ethereal landscapes, feminine elegance, pastel palette, atmospheric color, washes, soothing color palettes, in soft colors, multi-panel compositions, organic material, outdoor


Working with Color


We also do not suggest taking Pantone advice from AI, but rather WGSN.  To bring some colour into the background, use descriptive words from nature such as “snow white”, “rock grey” and “sky blue” for interesting results.


/imagine (image URL) as a color palette moodboard showing surreal outdoor fashion illustrations, minimalistic, soft color blending, dynamic linework CAD, hand drawn quality, layered images, Pantone swatches, snow white, light grey, rock, superlight green, sky blue, outdoor rustic

Or try prompt:

/imagine (image URL) as 6 squares within a grid with pantones, Female fashion illustration, sketch of clothing garments, in the style of soft color blending, muted colorscape, conceptual simplicity, frontal view on mannequin, use of fabric, washed out, utilitarian precise, lifelike, limited color range 


What do we think? So far we like the illustrative component where we can generate illustrations from images or sketches. That would save us the most time and it looks impressive. It’s a supportive tool but not a replacement for any task we do. We will keep working with AI tools to see if we can automate anything in the future, but right now we won’t be using it very much.

Fashion illustration and moodboards powered by AI present designers with both opportunities and challenges in the creative process. While AI technology offers a range of possibilities, it is important to approach it with a sense of caution and an understanding of its limitations. Directing AI creativity effectively requires honing one’s skills and providing detailed instructions to achieve desired results in a timely manner. AI can serve as a valuable tool for generating ideas and expanding artistic horizons, but it should be viewed as a complement rather than a replacement for human creativity and expertise. By embracing a collaborative approach, designers can harness the potential of AI while still maintaining their unique vision and personal touch. So, continue to refine your skills in directing AI and explore the balance between human ingenuity and technological innovation. The future of fashion lies in the delicate interplay between human and AI collaboration.