Fashion Goes Digital – The AI Influencer3rd October, 2019 by Emily Sandiford
If 2018 was the year of the AI influencer, then 2019 has been the year this concept was embraced and diversified by fashion-forward brands. AI influencers – hyperreal digital characters created to drive brand engagement – have begun to emerge across Instagram and embed themselves into its culture. But far from becoming an existential threat to human influencers, this digital development could offer exciting new opportunities for brands to showcase their commitment to sustainability.
The ‘birth’ of 3D influencers like Lil’ Miquela, a digital avatar created by robotics company Brud, have added a new dimension to fashion marketing. This avatar, with her burgeoning follower count, airbrushed skin and perfectly trimmed fringe, already boasts an impressive portfolio of work. Lil’ Miquela’s Instagram grid features a wealth of collaborations with esteemed brands such as Gucci, where her pixelated clothing is rendered from real pieces.
This step from tactile to digital clothing has been embraced by online retailer YOOX, through its virtual styling feature that allows users to dress an avatar with the store’s products. The virtual mannequin, Daisy, comes with customisable skin tones, meaning consumers can create their own likeness and ‘try on’ virtual clothing to find their best fit.
The potential of virtual influencers to lessen the need for wasteful product hauls, shipping out physical samples or even consumer product returns, cuts fashion’s carbon footprint and engages audiences through emerging technologies.
In an age where sustainability is taking its rightful place amongst corporate concerns, the fashion world can put its best foot forward by embracing fresh approaches to influencer marketing (and to sustainability goals).