The fashion industry joins the wave of virtual reality, with the aim of saving costs, improving the online shopping process and speaking the technological language of the generation Z and Alpha.
They have faces, bodies, and even names, the garments always fit perfectly and never get tired. Virtual models begin to enter the fashion business as a cheaper, faster and more flexible alternative than real one, although the biggest challenge continues to be customer acceptance.
Fashion is one of the industries that invests the most in advertising and marketing. From large campaigns to collection presentations, the sector allocates millions each year to strengthen its brand in different types of media.
The emergence of ecommerce has multiplied the costs: two shootings a year are no longer enough because the websites are updated much more frequently and in multiple countries of the world at the same time. The budget is multiplied, in addition, because the fee of the models varies according to the number of media and countries in which their image will be shown, which with ecommerce is much greater.
“Fashion is usually a pioneer entering new paths,” said Marta Marín, director of the Master’s Degree in Fashion Communication at Ramón Llul University.
The fashion sector already has its leaders. Shudu Gram with 145,000 followers on Instagram and Inma Gram with 168,000 followers, to name a few. They have been the pioneers along the way, with campaigns for Dior or Prada, with which the consumer is starting to accept avatars in brand communication.
Veepee, the former Vente-Privée, was a pioneer in using avatars as models and presenting its clothes on virtual models. In this manner, the company only had to pay the technology provider for the creation of that avatar and save the traditional production costs. “We opted for virtual models because it allows us more flexibility and adapts perfectly to our business model that involves many shootings,” the company tells MDS.
The cost of image rights of the models is one of the most expensive in the industry. The final investment will depend on the model cache, the platforms on which it will appear and the countries in which it will communicate. In addition, it is necessary to add the time of exploitation of the image, which the longer it extends over time, also increases the price.
With virtual models, companies can use the image as many times as they need and on the support they want, without paying more than their own creation. Companies like Holo offer me a subscription of six thousand euros a month to be able to use all their services, from the creation of the model to the implementation of new techniques.
Companies like Holo offer me a subscription of six thousand euros a month to be able to use all their services
On the other hand, companies have the expense of graphic material for the web. That entails day work sessions, model fees, commuting, photographers, stylists, makeup artists and even renting a studio if you don’t have it inside the headquarters. This expense can be around 35,000 euros (38,150 dollars) per month, in the case of a midline of an international company.
With the growing volume of garments, no longer by season, but by week, ecommerce needs faster and more flexible solutions that improve processes. The virtual model would work like a blank sheet. The merchandising department can photograph the garments separately and include them in the model virtually, all thanks to software, explains Jonosch Amstutz, CEO of Holo Me, to MDS.
Companies equally have the challenge of introducing the new technological language demanded by users, especially by the generation Z and alpha. In their new consumption habits, digital native content allows them to connect much earlier with the product, as Marín has told us.
In addition, with this new technology, companies can be more efficient in the customer’s online customer journey. “With digital models, companies can get a safer online purchase that will reduce returns,” says Amstutz.
With this new technology, companies can be more efficient in the customer’s online customer journey
Who is behind it?
Cameron-James Wilson, visual artist, created The Diigitals agency after giving life to Shudu, the first supermodel, in 2018. However, 99% of these technological solutions are very expensive and do not respond to business problems. Therefore, companies such as Looklet or Holo have translated this technology into a business advantage.
Looklet offers companies a smart technology service with which they photograph the garment on a mannequin, upload it to their software and open the possibility of combining or including the garment as many times as they want in any avatar created.
Holo Provides companies with 3D human holograms with a scalable model. The company proposes a solution based on the digitalization of real models. “Many virtual models are not successful because of the mechanism of acceptance, that is, the human being is not represented and does not accept the experience.” Therefore, from this company they capture a real model and apply their technology through software that creates the virtual experience.
The advantage of this subscription-based model is that with just one session you can get as many versions as you want. Brands such as Asos or Stuart Weitzman are already testing these virtual gateways, in which thanks to the augmented reality the brand includes the possibility of visualizing these virtual models within the purchase process.