Digital model Lil Miquela is joining a roster of real-life influencers, such as model Adwoa Aboa and streetwear designer Heron Preston, for UGG’s 40th anniversary campaign.
According to the brand, the computer-generated model, whose full name is Miquela Souza, represents an “entire generation that is revisiting identity, reality and storytelling”. In the ads, she is seen against the same surrealist backdrops that other models in the campaign are photographed in, as if to blend seamlessly among the cast.
Created by Los Angeles-based startup Brud, the avatar straddles the line between digital and offline, and resurfaces the question of what the future of fashion influencers is. Similar to her real-life counterparts, however, Lil Miquela represents more than just a pretty face, as she has used her online platform to advocate for causes such as body positivity, immigration and most notably, the Black Lives Matter movement.
British model Aboa, on the other hand, is also the co-founder of Gurls Talk, an online platform for young women to discuss important issues pertaining to their lives, such as sexuality and self care.
For now, the use of CGI models seems more closely linked to the good publicity it brings rather than pushing a bigger conversation.
Back in 2016, Louis Vuitton was the first to deploy a digital model when “Final Fantasy” character Lightning posed for its S/S 2016 campaign; earlier this year, Prada enlisted Lil Miquela to promote a series of Instagram Stories stickers and GIFs alongside its Fall 2018 collection; and most recently, Balmain replaced its usual cast of supermodels with three virtual influencers.
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