From the looks of her Instagram feed, Lil Miqeula seems like a typical twenty-one-year-old. She likes fast food, hanging out with her friends, and posting pictures of her outfits. But there’s one thing you should know: Lil Miquela isn’t real at all. She’s a computer-generated image, or CGI. Although she’s a fictional character, Lil Miqeula boasts more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Her popularity has led to real-world partnerships with fashion brands including Prada, Diesel, and Moncler.
On this week’s episode of the Electric Runway Podcast, Fashion Futurist Amanda Cosco explores the concept of virtual influencers and avatars, and what our obsession with them says about us. First, we hear from Ramona Pringle, a technology journalist and expert on avatars. Ramona has spent most of her professional career studying the relationship between humans and their technology. Ramona says digital influencers aren’t new but stem from a long history of fabricated personas and teen idols.
Next, we hear from Aurora Felice, a 3D fashion designer who brings collections and campaigns to life online. Aurora’s enthusiastic about the possibilities 3D modeling presents, and believes it’s a great way to test concepts before bringing them to life IRL. She walks us through the logistics of creating a “virtually vogue” photoshoot, and why this approach can save fashion brands time and money.
Finally, we hear from Wil McReynolds, the CEO and Founder of KP9 Interactive. He shares how his company is working to make avatars more realistic and fully shoppable. With developments in web-based AR and AR-kit, he says augmented reality will become the new standard for buying online.