Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic with the advent of programs like ChatGPT and Midjourney, and brands are getting into it (unfortunately). This week, the iconic denim company Levi’s announces partnership with AI(Opens in a new tab) studio Lalaland.ai(Opens in a new tab), which creates AI-generated fashion models. Levi’s plans to test the use of these models to “complement human models, increasing the number and diversity of our models for our products in a sustainable way,” it said in a press release.
Lalaland.ai apparently generates “hyper-realistic” models of different body types, ages, and skin tones. According to its website, companies Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger have also worked with the studio.
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“While AI will likely never fully replace human models for us, we are excited about the potential capabilities this can give us for customer experience,” said Dr. Amy Gershkoff Bolles, Emerging Technology Executive at Levi Strauss, in the presser .
This time last year, Levi Strauss laid off 700 employees, or 15% of its workforce, as part of a corporate restructuring. According USA today(Opens in a new tab)the cuts saved the company $100 million a year.
Levi’s also claimed in the announcement that its diversity efforts will go beyond the use of AI models, noting that it is focused on working with content creators in front of and behind the camera who “reflect ( their) large consumer base”. It is unclear, however, how this initiative merges with the use of fake models instead of paying real models, makeup artists, and photography staff.
The company’s desire to move towards AI-generated models is emblematic of other industry attempts to replace real people with AI. In August of last year, Capitol Records signed, then fired, rapper AI FN Meka. The virtual rapper was fired amid calls that the character promoted “crass stereotypes” of black culture.