April 4, 2023
At a Glance
- Levi’s partners with Lalaland.ai to create AI models to showcase products.
- Human models will still be used but customers can select avatars based on their personal attributes.
- Some critics have called the initiative "artificial diversity."
Levi’s is testing AI fashion models with different skin colors, ages and body types. The denim clothing company, headquartered in San Francisco, California, is partnering with a Dutch digital fashion firm, Lalaland.ai, to present hyper-realistic models.
Currently, Levi’s advertises each clothing item with one human model. In the future, the company plans to showcase products using 'body-inclusive avatars,' with customers able to pick an avatar that represents their physique, expressions and individual poses.
“AI will likely never fully replace human models for the company but offering a range of digital models will create a more personal and inclusive shopping experience,” Levi’s said in a statement.
Some have criticized the initiative as a type of 'digital blackface' or 'artificial diversity.' However, the fashion brand argues that the program is not a substitute for taking real action to increase diversity and inclusion.
“We realize there is understandable sensitivity around AI-related technologies, and we want to clarify that this pilot is something we are on track to experiment with later this year in the hopes of strengthening the consumer experience,” Levi’s said in a statement.
Lalaland.ai states their AI-enabled models are “inspired by real people generated with AI.”
The full extent of their partnership has not been publicized. However, the startup already works with other fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. Typically, Lalaland.ai charges monthly subscriptions ranging from its free model to $387 per month. There is also a plan offering custom versions for an undisclosed cost.
“We know our customers want to shop with models who look like them, and we believe our models should reflect our consumers, which is why we're continuing to diversify our human models in terms of size and body type, age and skin color,” said Levi’s in a statement.
“This AI technology can potentially assist us by supplementing models and unlocking a future where we can enable customers to see our products on more models that look like themselves, creating a more personal and inclusive shopping experience.”
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