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As more and more people in the Metaverse create their digital versions, it is not yet known whether these reimagined worlds will create a more diverse and inclusive fashion industry.
There are many things that are at stake. Traditional influencers use a lot of power. According to a survey by audience research firm Nielsen, 92% of customers say they trust influencers more than advertising or traditional celebrity endorsements. The same is true of how influencers affect body image. Just by looking at social media stars like Kim Kardashian, the new desired “slim fat” body she advertises influences her followers, More complaints In their bodies when they compare themselves to social media stars.
However, because the fashion and beauty industry relies on exercise therapy, diet, Photoshop, and Facetune, if a lot of work is done behind the scenes to create an “Instagrammable” look, what’s the reality and what’s so. It may seem difficult to identify if it is not. But what if those influential people weren’t real at all?
Cameron James Wilson, a fashion photographer formerly known for perfect retouching, is well aware that what users see on Instagram may not reflect reality.According to influencer trackers, there are already over 150 virtual influencers in the world. Virtual humanHowever, James-Wilson’s mission was to create a virtual model that reflected the entity.
James-Wilson, the founder of digital influencer agency The Diigitals, is responsible for creating virtual models such as the black model Shudu Gram and the plus-size virtual model Brenne. Shudu is one of the most famous virtual influencers with 228,000 Instagram followers and Korea’s first virtual influencers Lil Miquela (3 million Instagram followers) and Rozy Oh (126,000 Instagram followers). is.
These models were created by a 3D art process that took into account the characteristics of women, but like Barbie 30 years ago, their dimensions were initially unusual. “We have actually made some very big changes to Sudu and her body proportions over the past few years so that she does not set a negative example or reinforce the ideal of negative beauty. Shudu’s measurements are actually out of the fashion and catwalk dimensional standards, “said James-Wilson. Shudu struts model fashionable clothing and are featured in fashion campaigns. But one of James Wilson’s biggest challenges in creating her wasn’t convincing the public about her relevance as a model. It was her skin color. Computers and graphics are usually programmed with the capabilities of white men in mind, and Shudu’s dark skin can be difficult to showcase in 3D imaging software or AR programs.
With a mission of inclusiveness, Diigitals has partnered with the Down Syndrome Institute (DSI) to create the first virtual model of Down Syndrome called Cami. Ellie Goldstein, who became the face of the Gucci Beauty Campaign in 2020, was one of the first models of Down Syndrome and launched a major beauty campaign. The industry is gradually adding visibility to people with disabilities, and adaptive fashion is the target of luxury brands. James-Wilson and his agency will be responsible for the images obtained by combining the faces of 30 real women with Down Syndrome for a realistic representation.
James-Wilson likes to keep Shudu away from the realm of activists, but Cami plays a big role as a leading activist on the DSI. Since she is connected to the DSI, the links look more natural compared to Shudu, which aims to be a virtual influencer without an agenda. Cami is still a typical virtual influencer, brand partnership, fashion and make-up lover, but her presence brings visibility to the group and helps educate followers on social media topics. must. “People aren’t all activists. When creating a character, you need to be rounded and have your own likes and dislikes. This should be taken into account when building virtual personas. It has to be, “said James-Wilson.
Leanne Elliott Young, co-founder of the Institute of Digital Fashion, a group focused on bringing diversity and inclusion to the Metaverse, has been in the industry for over 15 years and has seen how slowly the industry is adapting to new initiatives. I did. She hopes that by focusing on the Metaverse and Technology Space, progress will be faster, especially when it comes to diverse and comprehensive avatar representation.
She believes that the presence of virtual influencers is essential to the airtight environment of fashion, as it can harmonize the fashion past and build a new fashion future with inclusiveness and fairer expression in mind. .. “We want to shift characterization to expression, and we believe that IRL x URLs need to work together, rather than deny the vital importance of physical space. The Metaverse could eventually set new standards of expression, self-expression, and inclusiveness, allowing virtual influencers to ultimately take the stage as a role model, “she said. rice field.
Some of the most important decisions in creating avatars and virtual influencers are from the studio. Dimension, a London-based volume and 3D capture studio that has worked with fashion brands such as Balenciaga, knows that this also applies to diversity and inclusiveness. “Virtual influencers provide a great opportunity for fashion brands to increase their inclusiveness within the industry by providing creative agencies to minority groups when creating virtual representations. Virtual influencers offer a variety of groups. Increasingly, it helps to promote inclusiveness and celebrate diversity, which allows fashion brands to connect with a larger audience, expand their reach and represent new stories of people of all disciplines. We will be able to develop the world, “said co-CEO Simon Windsor.
Virtual planes attract not only expression but also opportunities for reinvention — virtual influencers don’t have to be human, like Galaxia. “What’s really exciting about this space is that virtual influencers can better express their diverse values and identities and believe in anything, any reality or concept,” Windsor said.