Levi Strauss & Co., the iconic denim brand, has recently announced its partnership with Amsterdam-based digital model studio, Lalaland.ai, to supplement human models with AI-generated alternatives. The company asserts that this move is part of its “digital transformation journey” centered around diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability.
Lalaland.ai, founded in 2019, is on a mission to revolutionize the fashion industry by creating an inclusive, sustainable, and diverse design chain. The company develops “hyper-realistic” digital models that represent every body type, age, size, and skin tone. This allows customers to see how various fashion items would appear on a person who resembles them.
In its announcement, Levi’s emphasized that the partnership aims to increase the number and diversity of models for their products in a sustainable way. The company stated, “We see fashion and technology as both an art and a science, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Lalaland.ai, a company with such high-quality technology that can help us continue on our journey for a more diverse and inclusive customer experience.”
Although Levi’s maintains that AI will “likely never fully replace human models,” some observers see this development as the first step towards the dystopian automation of the industry. As AI-generated photography, art, and writing become increasingly convincing, skepticism arises about the true intentions behind corporations’ claims of upholding diversity and environmental values. Critics argue that it is rather convenient that these principles align with mass-producing content that previously required hiring human resources.
This development comes after Levi Strauss reportedly initiated a 12-to-19-month process of cutting around 800 jobs, nearly 20% of its corporate workforce, last year. This restructuring plan was aimed at saving approximately $75 million to $100 million annually.
While Levi’s emphasizes the benefits of AI-generated models in terms of diversity and sustainability, critics remain concerned about the potential loss of jobs in the modeling and fashion industry. As AI technology advances, the future of human models and other creative professions could be called into question.
Despite these concerns, proponents of AI-driven models argue that such technology can be a powerful tool for promoting inclusivity and sustainability in the fashion industry. By generating diverse and realistic representations of various body types, ages, sizes, and skin tones, AI models can potentially make fashion more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.