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Is Digital Model the future for Fashion Industry? #DigitalModel #Shudu

April 26, 2019

Last week we posted a stunning picture of the world’s digital supermodel–Shudu. Following this, we would like to discuss if digital modelling would be the future for the fashion industry and also, if this beautifully designed digital black model Shudu really arouses some racist issues.

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Glamorous pictures of this model Shudu wearing designer brands have caught massive attention on internet and social media. However, Shudu is NOT human, but a project from photographer Cameron James-Wilson. “Shudu is a digital supermodel, a very glamorous and amazing woman. But she’s 3-D,” says Cameron-James Wilson, a 28-year-old British fashion photographer who has shot the likes of Gigi Hadid and Pia Mia and is making a name for himself as Shudu’s creator.

Wilson made Shudu in the beginning of 2017 using a program called Daz 3-D. The model was just one of many creations he made — “aliens, planets, everything” — and in April of that year he shared her first Instagram post. Shudu now has more than 170,000 followers, up from 60,000 in March; Wilson himself has more than 16,000.

As a 3-D model, Shudu further blurs the line between digital and reality. She can’t talk, nor is she artificially intelligent. But with Wilson’s help, she has a message to share. Through modeling both established designers and up-and-coming ones — graphic T-shirt brand Soulsky, for example — Shudu, Wilson hopes, will bring empowerment and diversity to the fashion industry, where both of these are so often called into question.

According to the creator Cameron, it takes really intense work to make one single image of Shudu wearing beautiful clothing with a movement. He’s not making any money from this either. For those brand who would like to collaborate with Shudu, only if these brand visions are coherent with what he forsees Shudu would go and represent, otherwise it’s always a no go. He explained that he is doing this simply because of his own hobby and passion for digital photography and creation. He created Shudu to show his inspiration, of course, with an intention to spread the message of empowerment and inclusivity.

However, when it comes to black/coloured models in fashion, there is always a huge blacklash. People from the web accused of Cameron being racist.

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There are also some others standing behind the photographer and his art:

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What do you think about Shudu? Do you think this has to be associated with the topic of ‘racism’? Certainly we think it’s not. Black models and other coloured models/actresses are so common in fashion industry. It just represents a different beauty and shows inclusivity. Colonial past is something that is meant to stay in the past forever. Unless it’s a very obvious humiliation or attack from someone, there is no need to buzz around this topic. It’s just fashion, beauty, women, culture and history. Shudu is very beautiful. All of her images have been created wearing stunning dresses and walking in a powerful and confident way.This actually stands for women’s empowerment and diversity in fashion.

Apart from the topic of racism, Shudu and other digital models for example Noonoouri, Lil Miquela and Lightning, have brought up the controversial topic of whether or not digital modelling could replace the real people modelling. Noonoouri once took over Dior’s Instagram account. Japanese virtual model Lightning was once used in a Louise Vuitton campaign for Spring/Summer 2016.

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Many people have pointed out that in the future perhaps models just send their images to agencies or fashion designers then digital specialists behind them would work on it. Actually, it takes no less effort in digital modelling than the real-life modelling. As shown in the video, in order to make sure the digital model Shudu is wearing the right garment to fit herself in the most accurate way, a specific 3D programme needs to be utilised, they need to measure the pattern and recreate the pattern digitally to get the exact look on Shudu. They also have to test the fabric and the stretching of the fabric, and transferred all the relevant numbers onto the computer system. In total, getting Shudu dressed for one fashion shoot could take over a month!

Although many people are keen on digital modelling, along with the fantasy it brings to the largest extent, we think that the creation of Shudu and other digital models should be appreciated as the beautiful piece of digital artwork that it is, but certainly not a sign of where the fashion industry is headed. We are living in a world filled with human communications that are important in our daily life. We’re making such strides in the fashion industry in the way of diversity and inclusion, and there are so many amazing real models to work with — ones who cannot be replaced by a digital version. Digital models like her will probably remain as art pieces, albeit with a huge social following. 

What do you think?

 

Courtesy of ‘The Designer’

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