Unsupervised Feature Extraction of Clothing Using Deep Convolutional Variational Autoencoders
Abstract: As online retail continues to grow, large amounts of valuable data, such as transaction and search history, and, specifically for fashion retail, similarly structured images of clothing, is generated. By using unsupervised learning, it is possible to tap into this almost unlimited supply of data. This thesis set out to determine to what extent generative models – in particular, deep convolutional variational autoencoders – can be used to automatically extract representative features from images of clothing in a completely unsupervised manner. In reviewing variations of the autoencoder, both in terms of reconstruction quality and the ability to generate new realistic samples, results suggest that there exists an optimal size of the latent vector in relation to the image data complexity. Furthermore, by weighting the latent loss and generation loss in the loss function, it was possible to disentangle the learned features such that each feature captured a unique defining characteristic of clothing items (here t-shirts and tops).
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