Denim brand Levi’s will be using AI-generated models to showcase and sell their clothes. In an announcement, the company stated that they will be partnering with AI Amsterdam-based digital model studio Lalaland.ai.
Levi’s has said that the move is in order to boost diversity and sustainability, using “hyper-realistic” models “of every body type, age, size and skin tone.”
“While AI will likely never fully replace human models for us, we are excited for the potential capabilities this may afford us for the consumer experience,” said Dr Amy Gershkoff Bolles, global head of digital and emerging technology strategy at Levi Strauss & Co.
“We see fashion and technology as both an art and a science, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Lalaland.ai, a company with such high-quality technology that can help us continue on our journey for a more diverse and inclusive customer experience,” she continues.
We know our customers want to shop with models who look like them, and we believe our models should reflect our consumers, which is why we’re continuing to diversify our human models in terms of size and body type, age and skin color. This AI technology can potentially assist us by supplementing models and unlocking a future where we can enable customers to see our products on more models that look like themselves
– Levi Strauss and Co
This is an interesting move and not entirely unpredictable, given how quickly image-generating tech has improved. It was always going to be the next development. Given it’s a seductive idea, to let your customers create an avatar that best represents themselves to ‘try on’ an outfit before online shopping.
Sustainability and diversity?
However, it does feel a bit underhand to be passing this off in such an altruistic way. The move ultimately will save the brand a lot of money by not hiring real models, photographers, stylists, and make-up artists. That’s a lot of jobs that just got cut. In order to increase diversity, you’re just not going to use any humans at all? That doesn’t seem like a great way to solve the issue in my opinion.
Not to mention the question of sustainability. When you factor in the computer processing power required versus the cost of a photo shoot, it doesn’t feel very generous or sustainable.
Again you have to question the economics on a global scale of making massive numbers of people redundant. These people still need to live and make an income somehow.
This is only the beginning, at least for commercial photographers. We are all going to have to learn how to exist in this new world of computer-generated imagery.