Just recently, Levi announced that it is going to start making use of AI-generated fashion models in what it is calling an effort to increase “diversity” for all online shoppers for the clothing sold by the denim company.
The company recently shared news of its brand new partnership with Lalaland.ai, a digital fashion studio that specialized in the creation of what it labels artificial intelligence to make realistic models, Explained a report from The Verge.
As the global head of digital and emerging technology strategy at Levi Strauss & Co, Amy Gershkoff Bolles claimed that the models will not be taking the roles away from human models and will instead, “supplement” them in order to spawn a more “personal” online experience for shoppers.
In a confusing announcement, Levi’s announced it made AI models to be more diverse. https://t.co/23udOtKoVA
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) March 27, 2023
“While AI will likely never fully replace human models for us, we are excited for the potential capabilities this may afford us for the consumer experience,” stated Bolles.
The company also explained via a press release that it does not see the AI-spawned clothing models as the “sole solution” to the promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Due to the iconic denim company making use of the AI technology, it could end up being a way for shoppers to have the models be heavily customizable, allowing them to change a number of key features such as ages, body types, skin tones and more for shoppers that wish to see the clothing they want to buy on a body which resembles their own, explained the outlet.
“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,” reported The Cut about the company’s announcement.
Over the past few years, Levi Strauss & Co. has had to issue a large number of layoffs as a way to cut costs and save money in the face of rising costs and inflation, explained the outlet. Back in 2020, 700 total roles were slashed from the company’s roster, which was followed by a layoff of yet another 800 roles last year.
The cuts have let the company save what they report to be close to $100 million per year, expressed a report from New York Magazine.
Backlash has initiated in the wake of the company going public with their intent of AI models, with a number of them claiming all the company needed to do to help with diversity was hire models of different races and body types, AdAge.com noted.
“So instead of increasing diversity by hiring actual Black and Brown models, Levi’s is going to get AI models,” expressed one person. “The conversation around diversity has hit the ‘jumped the shark’ level. Cuz WTF.”
So instead of increasing diversity by hiring actual Black and Brown models, Levi's is going to get AI models. The conversation around diversity has hit the "jumped the shark" level. Cuz WTF. https://t.co/kdZvMzTtOL
— Luvvie (@Luvvie) March 27, 2023
Yet another went on to add, “Another way to phrase this: [LEVIS] is using AI generated people as a way to avoid hiring and paying models who aren’t white.”
— Paul Fischer (@tencents77) March 25, 2023