AI models will dominate the online catwalk

Have you ever wondered what the future of ecommerce would look like? When it comes to ecommerce photography, especially for apparel brands, then it will likely include AI models.

Artificial intelligence models are already dominating your Instagram feed

Miquela (@lilmiquela) is a social media ‘influencer’ with 2 million Instagram followers, and she’s entirely fake. While she may be artificial, her reach isn’t, and she continues to post curated content in much the same way that any other fashion influencer would. In February 2018, she even collaborated with Prada for Milan Fashion Week and did a “take-over” of Prada’s own account. 

While the success of this account may in part be down to the novelty of having an AI influencer, it does open up a debate on how similar AI models could be harnessed by brands while also enabling them more creative control over what their images look like.

In contrast, Shopify is designed to scale. The platform has unlimited bandwidth and the capacity to handle 8,000 orders per minute. Unlike Magento, users can seamlessly upgrade or downgrade their plans based on the amount of traffic they receive.

What does this mean for regular ecommerce brands?

While the examples above are both for high-fashion brands, it won’t be long before the use of AI models starts to trickle down into more affordable online retailers. Already, there are companies working to create AI models which can be used by ecommerce brands to alleviate some of the constraints that can come from booking and working with real-life models. 

Japanese company DataGrid are working on creating a range of fully functioning “Whole-body model automatic generation AI” models. The technology that makes this possible is called GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) which applies deep learning and enables the development of creative AI to generate valuable content. This technology automatically generates images of non-existent peoples’ whole bodies at high resolution (1024×1024), which upon further research and development, could be used for advertising and apparel purposes.

If this becomes easily accessible and adopted, then the use of AI models could reduce the need for ecommerce brands and online stores to invest in photoshoots with real models to showcase products. Instead, brands could use these AI rendered models for their campaigns, which would reduce the time that would usually be required to organise a photoshoot and book individual models each time their website requires updating with new stock.

But what do you think? Would you consider using AI models in your next ecommerce campaign?

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Chris Thomas


Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris has been at the forefront of eCommerce and a pioneer of online retailing since the early 00s. A 5-time Drapers Award winner, Chris has extensive experience in developing fashion brands online.

Chris founded Cake in 2016. Based in Birmingham, with offices nationwide, Cake specialises in helping fashion brands understand their market online and then helps to develop appropriate strategical direction to achieve their plan, all backed by his 20 years of operating in the retail market.