Will the models of the future all be generated by artificial intelligence?
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When it comes to technology, the fashion industry is often one step ahead. This has been seen with the metaverse, and now with the advent of artificial intelligence. While the industry's major players have yet to explore all the many features of ChatGPT, some are already using AI to showcase new products or create futuristic magazine covers.
The future of fashion is slowly but surely taking shape. Most ready-to-wear brands are already committed to making fashion more sustainable, and they have not overlooked new technologies and their infinite possibilities. This was seen at the beginning of March, during the Coperni autumn-winter 2024 fashion show, where models paraded alongside robot dogs. This runway first serves as a reminder that the fashion and luxury industries have not given up on the metaverse as their new playground and continue to explore its many features. This is evidenced by the second Metaverse Fashion Week, held at the end of March, which, although it has not yet found its audience, keeps on innovating and improving to become a (virtual) reality in the fashion world.
When not exploring these parallel worlds, the fashion industry seems to be taking an interest in artificial intelligence. The ChatGPT conversational AI is as innovative as it is futuristic, and it seems poised to change our daily realities—as well as those of many industries. In fashion, it could become a go-to for generating social media content, product descriptions, or even become a virtual personal shopper, but that's not all. More broadly, artificial intelligence, in various forms, could soon overshadow human models with a new generation of generated images that look like something straight from the future.
Also read: Virtual fashion is booming, but how's it doing on creativity and inclusivity?
Vogue Singapore magazine is pioneering this concept by featuring no less than three fully AI-created models in its March issue—Aadhya, Melur and Faye. All were generated in collaboration with the Mumbai-based artist and creative director Varun Gupta. If AI-generated pictures seem to have been multiplying lately on social networks—with some people now questioning the origin of each picture published—this is the first cover of a women's magazine to be made in this way. The American magazine Cosmopolitan proposed a similar cover in June 2022, but featuring an astronaut rather than a model. And while it may be the first, it certainly won't be the last one.
AI to increase inclusivity?
A few days later, Levi's announced a partnership with the digital fashion studio Lalaland.ia, with the aim of creating custom models generated by AI. While the goal is obviously not to replace human models, the ready-to-wear brand initially announced that this wold be a means to increase "the number and diversity" of Levi's models "in a sustainable way." An idea that did not go unnoticed, and which even raised eyebrows, with some social media users reproaching the brand for using the argument of inclusivity to use AI models when the same thing could just as well be achieved with human models.
Levi's soon responded to the criticism: "Our recent announcement of a partnership with Lalaland.ai did not properly represent certain aspects of the program. For that, we take responsibility. We do not see this pilot as a means to advance diversity or as a substitute for the real action that must be taken to deliver on our diversity, equity and inclusion goals and it should not have been portrayed as such. At Levi Strauss & Co., we’re committed to creating a workplace, a business and a marketplace where people from all backgrounds feel confident that they will be seen, their voices will be heard and their contributions welcomed," the brand said in a statement.Also read: Metaverse, Connected Stores, Traceability: The Tech Integral To Fashion's Transformation
This pilot project, which should see the light of day later this year, will see the American brand present its products sold online on futuristic models generated entirely by AI. A real revolution which, although Levi's doesn't state it overtly, would (also) allow the brand to save on the cost of using real models and photo shoots, not to mention the time and effort that organizing real-world shoots requires throughout the year. If the exploration of artificial intelligence is still in its early days, there's no doubt that the fashion industry will soon seize on this new technological playground, which promises both creative and lucrative possibilities.