In the age of modernization, fashion and electronics have gone hand in hand. We’ve seen a rise in wearable technology, online commerce, and more. The most recent breakthrough has gained undeniable momentum; digital models are computer generated images that have been marketed with their own personas. These models have taken over Instagram and are now making their way into the fashion world.
Among these digital models, Lil Miquela has become one of the most popular. With 1.4 million followers, she’s debuted her own music and joined the Black Lives Matter, LGBT, and Downtown Women’s Center campaigns. Now, she’s making collaborations with high end fashion brands like Off-White, Alexander Wang, and Prada. She is just one of the many digital models that have become big names in fashion.
The surge of digital models has mixed reactions. Many are fascinated by them; following their social media accounts and keeping up with their story-lines. They have also received praise in some cases because of their diversity and representation. For example, Shudu is said to be the world’s first digital model, created by Cameron-James Wilson, who has stated that his inspiration came from the South African princess, Ndebele. Shudu rose to popularity after being noticed by Fenty and has now been featured in Cosmopolitan and Vogue Australia. Wilson also went on to create The Digitals, a group of digital models of different ethnicities and even species.
On the other hand, people are also concerned about the message that these digital models send. Many believe that the rising popularity will discourage real models from entering the industry. Even today, models see themselves being replaced by or losing opportunities to computers. Others are also concerned that, because these models are so manufactured, they will set unrealistic standards for people. This is already a concern found within the modeling industry but now that these digital models are designed to be, basically, perfect it is even more relevant.
Although their influence and longevity are yet to be determined, digital models have caught the attention of fans, critics, and fashion conglomerates. Whether they will stay in popularity or be brushed aside another new phenomenon we don’t know, but for now these computer-generated models are the latest technological trend to take over the fashion industry.