CGI Influencers- New Era
The fashion industry is a place where you can be as creative as you can, being unique and true to yourself is the way to do it, but what happens when even that is not enough anymore?
For the past two years, I have seen the growth of artificial influencers on social media and what started as a fun inspirational way of showcasing art became a multinational business for many.
CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery and Lil Mequelaa is the most well-known influencer in this field. She is a Brazilian-American influencer and a music artist from California with around 2.5 m followers on Instagram and was created by a Los Angeles company backed by Silicon Valey money. She has come to fame by modelling for top brands such as Prada, Chanel, Diesel and Moncler, as well as releasing tracks on Spotify that are trading and having her own clothing brand.
One would ask themselves, how come an artificial person receives this type of job opportunities as they in fact do not exist? It is quite simple actually, brands desire and aspires to be different than their competitors because of that coming up with campaigns that are eye-catching and even maybe controversial helps them in receiving exposure. Take for example Calvin Klein campaign in 2019, starring Bella Hadid and Lil Mequelaa. It received a lot of complaints as the ad future a kiss between those two that seemed unrealistic and supposedly shamed lesbians. The brand, in the end, apologised for their offensiveness but what it is done it is done and Miquela received a lot of exposure in the end.
Another brand that decided to differentiate itself from others was Balmain. The brand decided to have a complete ad with digital supermodels, and the star of that campaign was Shudu. Shudu received so much popularity as at the beginning people were confused if she was a real human or not. The supermodel was created by the British photographer Cameron- James Wilson who created her as a means of portraying art and 'celebration of beautiful dark-skinned women’.
Besides these two, there are still many CGI influencers that are growing daily on the platform such as Bermuda, Blawko, Lil Wavi, Noonoouri and so many more.
Instagram is the biggest platform at the moment were influencers showcase their daily life and collaborations. But why do we follow them? We follow them because they portray a life that maybe we desire, because of their true review of items or maybe even because we feel a deep connection with them, but as digital influencer how can one connect as their whole existence is counterfeit.
It is understandable when it comes to why brands desire to incorporate them into their business. They are easier to collaborate as they do not need to shoot and use a lot of clothes that may or may not be used in the end for the final cut, a whole portion of the supply chain now can be used by a computer. Covid-19 enabled us to see that maybe for the fashion industry we need this type of digital interference, as contact with others is limited at the moment. Hanifa presented her ready to wear line on Instagram using 3D models on the catwalk.
For influencers, their audience desire to see the emotion and their true opinion when it comes to certain things. Something that is hard to achieve and comes with great fear of dystopia for CGI ' data-humans'. Even with this aspect said, influencers haven't been always true to themselves and their audiences, representing a fake idealisation of their lifestyle.
So do I need to ask, it is such a big difference between a digital influencer and an actually one?
Thank you for reading this far!
See you next week!
WIRED (2020) LIL MIQUELA Accessed at https://www.wired.com/story/lil-miquela-digital-humans/
Insider (2020) Some of Cameron-James Wilson's digital models Accessed at https://www.insider.com/cgi-models-look-real-what-that-means-fashion-industry-2019-9
Vimeo (2020) CALVIN KLEIN – BELLA HADID & LIL MIQUELA Accessed at https://vimeo.com/363176441
Instagram (2019) Bella Hadid Accessed at https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxhuk7NJENM/?igshid=c5gzd6cjimg8
Instagram (2018) Shudu.Gram Accessed at https://www.instagram.com/p/BnO2AAkFB5e/?utm_source=ig_embed
L'Officiel (2020) #FURLADANCE: Noonoouri is the New Furla Icon Accessed at: https://www.lofficielusa.com/fashion/furla-noonoouri-the-new-metropolis
I-D (2018) meet lil wavi, the fuccboi answer to lil miquela Accessed at https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/wjkqnn/meet-lil-wavi-the-fuccboi-answer-to-lil-miquela
Instagram (2018) BERMUDAISBAE Accessed at https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/bermuda-instagram-cgi-influencer
Highxtar (2019) ABSOLUT PRESENTS THE PROTAGONISTS OF THE NEW WORLD Accessed at https://highxtar.com/absolut-presents-the-protagonists-of-the-new-world/?lang=en
CNN (2020) Fashion designer showcases the future of the runway with 3D models Accessed at https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/25/africa/3d-model-congo-fashion/index.html
Elle (2020) Hanifa's 3D Fashion Show Sets The Pace For The Future Of The Runway Accessed at https://www.elle.com/fashion/shopping/a32668939/hanifa-3d-pink-label-congo-fashion-show/