Source- Instagram (lil miquela )
Buckle Up! The industry is about to hit with the biggest wave of supermodels. The technology nowadays is so improved that we are now making our own virtual models based on how we perceive models should be i.e. slender figure, perfectly plumped lips, sculpted jaw line and cheek bones and legs for days. Virtual models are basically digitally made human form. The best thing about them is that you can mold their looks or aesthetics based on your needs. Sustainable apparel brand LOTA created a first virtual influencer named Rajiv in India. LOTA co-founder Adhiraj also a digital designer is the creator of first CGI model in India. He was featured in LOTA Land campaign along with other CGI characters. In fact Adhiraj also partnered with Jewelry brand to create their own virtual models to showcase their collection at Helsinki Fashion Week 2020. In 2020 India got another virtual model named Nila. Represent by talent agency Inega. According to them-“She more of Birkenstocks kinda girl”. She has been creating lot of buzz since her launch, getting offers from numerous brands; her talent is yet to be shown.
Earlier no one even thought of such possibility but here we are seeing them dominating your Instagram feed with their success. Following are the top virtual models giving Kendall Jenner run for her money.
Shudu Gram caused a stir in modeling industry when she was featured in Fenty campaign wearing brands plush matte lipstick. Instantly the internet went wild for her. Who is she? Where is comes from? What is her ethnicity? She is considered to be the first digital supermodel. It turned out to be a work of London based Photographer and Digital Creator Cameron -James Wilson. His inspiration behind was South-African Barbie Doll, because according to him there is lack of diversity among fashion models. Shudu represents every black model around the world. Since then she has done campaigns for Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana. Recently she was the face of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip “Shudu X Samsung”. Wait there is more, featured on the covers of Vogue Arabia and British GQ too. Due to pandemic, she has been in lot of demand. She modeled for Laviebyck for their first digital fashion show in Paraiso Miami Beach Festival.
Next in the line is Lil Miquela who begun in April 2016.Just like Shudu, she too created a lot of mystery around her origin. Her posts on Instagram, her cute face with freckles and two buns on both sides of her head was so polished and real that it was hard to believe it was CGI character. Thanks to Trevor McFedries and Sara DeCou the mastermind behind such effects. She is not just a model but also a successful singer, vocalist, and social media influencer. Her resume includes her Calvin Klein campaign along with Bella Hadid, Prada, interviewing celebrities like J Balvin at Coachella. As of September 2020, her Instagram has almost 2.5 million followers.
Thanks to pandemic, it has boosted the demand of virtual models in almost every fashion show and campaigns. Brands know including CGI models will be beneficial to create a buzz in the market. It will make people curious thus bringing more traffic on their official social media page.
Brands like Balmain are one step ahead from their competitor. They are bringing their own custom virtual models. Oliver Rousteing approached Shudu creators to make one of kind Balmain very own virtual models. He made two models Zhi- a Chinese girl with David Bowie features with Margot- a typical French woman through Oliver’s childhood fantasy. Both of them along with Shudu were featured in a Balmain’s virtual army 2018 campaign.
These virtual models aren’t new either. Japanese virtual pop star Hatsune Miku has been in this business as far back as 10 years. American fashioner Marc Jacobs dressed her in 2013.
For me Noonoouri is the real OG’S of virtual model. These cute chubby cheeks with small lips and big eyes can make you fall in love instantly. She is from Germany. Her creator is Joerg Zuber, a graphic designer from Munich. She started in 2017 unlike other virtual model that started around 2018. Her resume includes long list of brands like Marc Jacobs, Versace, Valentino, and KKW Beauty even taking control on Dior official Instagram account during Cruise collection. She is not just a model but also an active raising awareness on social issues like sustainable, vegan lifestyle. She will never wear fur or clothes that harm the environment.
Of course using CGI characters save lot of money in makeup, styling or license contract. But using so much virtual identity so long time can also affect the beauty standards thus promoting fake, unrealistic features. Well, a time is the only factor that will bring answer to this. For the time being just have to sit, lean back and enjoy what virtual models bring on the table.