Fashion is the art of the novel, the surprising, and the never-before-seen. And now the catwalk has a range of new stars who aren’t flesh and blood but are a product of codes and algorithms.
Who are these new fashion stars? They’re models created by generative AI — and companies like Levi’s are harnessing this cutting-edge technology, rewriting the fabric of the fashion industry as we know it, and opening a world of infinite aesthetic possibility.
What Are AI Fashion Models?
AI fashion models are digitally created representations — designed using artificial intelligence — that can showcase clothing and accessories in a similar way to human models. These AI models can be customized to display various body types, ages, sizes, and skin tones, offering a diverse range of looks for the fashion items they model.
They're not just static digital mannequins but dynamic presences capable of morphing their appearances, styles, and environments at the click of a button. The AI models are designed to showcase fashion collections in a wide range of new ways and give businesses the ability to adapt, iterate, and customize looks on the fly.
What Are the Biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of AI-Generated Models?
Here are some key benefits of AI-generated fashion models:
● Cost reductions: AI models can significantly reduce the need for expensive professional photoshoots. When brands no longer have to worry about scheduling and hiring real human models, it can lower operational costs.
● Customizability: Brands can easily generate and modify AI models according to the precise needs of their brand and their target audience. This gives fashion companies unlimited creative control to represent their clothing in the most favorable light.
● Diversity and inclusivity: Companies can create AI models in a multitude of body types, ages, sizes, and skin tones. Showing a wide range of models can help brands reflect a diverse and inclusive range of customers.
● Better shopping experiences: With AI models, customers can see how clothing would look on a body that’s similar to theirs. This experience can enhance the online shopping experience and potentially boost sales.
● Sustainability: Using AI models is also a great move for sustainability because it can reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional photoshoots.
● Ease of use: Even people with no prior modeling or photography experience can create professional-grade AI model images for their products. This opens up a lot of new possibilities for large and small businesses alike.
But the advent of AI models also brings certain challenges. Digital models can be perfected in ways humans can’t — which might contribute to unrealistic beauty standards and exacerbate consumers’ body image issues. Displacing human models and replacing them with AI versions could also lead to economic implications in the fashion industry.
The deployment of AI models will inevitably stir ethical debates around consent and the potential misuse of fabricated images. Real models also bring human connection and authenticity to brands, and consumers who value those experiences might be left cold by AI models.
Levi’s Enters the World of Generative AI
Levi's, the legendary denim brand, announced in March 2023 that they’ve decided to experiment with using AI-generated clothing models to augment diversity in their shopping experiences. This move is not intended to replace human models but to complement them, offering a broader spectrum of representation. Levi’s is partnering with Lalaland.ai, a leading digital fashion studio that specializes in creating hyper-realistic, AI-generated fashion models to generate their ideas and put the project in motion.
However, it wasn’t smooth sailing when Levi’s made this announcement. The company faced a storm of criticism, which led the company to issue a clarifying statement on its intended use of AI in fostering diversity.
As the company prepares for this digital experiment, it maintains that AI is not a panacea for diversity issues. Levi's has clarified that their venture into AI modeling does not constitute its entire approach toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
A New Fashion Revolution?
As the fashion world continues to grow and evolve, AI-generated models hold promising potential. They offer an inclusive, sustainable, and cost-effective alternative to traditional modeling, with the added advantage of scalability and customization.
There are still some challenges that fashion companies need to address — but it's exciting to watch this innovative technology change the landscape of online shopping, making it a more personalized, diverse, and user-friendly experience.