A group of digital models dressed in sportswear paraded down the catwalk during an online virtual fashion show during China Fashion Week in September. Led by Xijiajia, the virtual spokesperson for tech company Baidu Inc, they showcased the latest apparel from local sportswear maker Anta Sports in different virtual scenarios – stadiums, snowfields, the Gobi Desert and even outer space. atmospheric.
Virtual humans and fashion shows, without limits of time and space like a physical event would, offer a myriad of benefits to the fashion industry, bringing audiences a new, immersive and interactive experience.
Thanks to advances in AI, digital avatars closely resembling real humans in appearance and behavior have been put to use not only in fashion and live streaming, but also in a wide range of other activities. , said industry experts.
Li Shiyan, head of Baidu’s digital human and robotics section, said that by taking advantage of real-time animation rendering and computation technologies offered by Xiling – the company’s digital avatar platform – the cost of producing virtual clothes has been significantly reduced and the production periods shortened. from more than a month to just one week.
Li noted that a growing number of brands are looking to use virtual beings in live streaming and other marketing campaigns, which is expected to help companies reduce operating costs by at least 50% by reducing expenses related to live streaming sites, equipment and hiring. true human anchors.
“The virtual human industry is still in its infancy, and there are challenges to overcome, such as how to produce digital assets and digital content at low cost, and how to make humans digital media interact more naturally with real people,” Li said.
Solving these problems relies on iterating on technologies such as natural language processing and computer vision, Li said, adding that the company will continue to inject capital and manpower into digital human industry.
The size of the virtual human market in China is expected to reach 270 billion yuan ($37.9 billion) by 2030, according to an industry report released by Qbit-AI, an AI-focused industrial services platform. and other advanced technologies.
According to experts, the fashion landscape is rapidly expanding its virtual horizon to prepare for a future populated by digital avatars, and the most accessible way for fashion brands to engage with virtual replicas is to dress them in their latest collections.
“The application of virtual humans in fashion has distinctive advantages. Running virtual fashion shows does not just mean moving real-world shows online; more importantly, we can use the digital space to expanding our interpretation of fashion and imagination for what is possible.” said Chen Duan, director of the Innovation Development Center in Digital Economy Integration at Central University of Finance and economy.
Chen said, for example, that people can use textures that don’t exist in the physical world, and that digital humans are able to go beyond the physiological limits of real humans and introduce new ways of new fashion styles.
Digital humans are increasingly being used in brand promotion, advertising, live streaming, games and entertainment, said Zhu Xiaowen, an analyst at Lead-Leo Research Institute. However, she added that a new set of issues have also emerged, such as privacy and data security. Experts said the unregulated use of digital humans could pave the way for fraud, given that digital humans can be difficult to distinguish from real people.
China’s first virtual influencer Ayayi, who debuted on social media platform Xiaohongshu in May 2021 and garnered over 20,000 followers overnight, caught the attention of renowned fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and Guerlain.
Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at the International Business School of Zhejiang University, said he was optimistic about the business prospects of virtual humans in fashion and online broadcasting. direct, and called for more efforts to improve 3D modeling, rendering and motion capture technologies to support the development of the country’s digital human sector.