Levi’s is partnering with an AI firm on computer-generated vogue fashions to “complement human fashions.” The corporate frames the transfer as a part of a “digital transformation journey” of variety, fairness, inclusion and sustainability. Though that sounds noble on the floor, Levi’s is basically hiring a robotic to generate the look of variety whereas ridding itself of the burden of paying human beings who characterize the qualities it needs to be related to its model.
Levi Strauss is partnering with Amsterdam-based digital mannequin studio Lalaland.ai for the initiative. Based in 2019, the corporate’s mission is “to see extra illustration within the vogue trade” and “create an inclusive, sustainable, and numerous design chain.” It goals to let clients see what varied vogue objects would appear to be on an individual who seems to be like them through “hyper-realistic” fashions “of each physique sort, age, dimension and pores and skin tone.”
Levi’s announcement echoes that branding, saying the partnership is about “growing the quantity and variety of our fashions for our merchandise in a sustainable approach.” The corporate continues, “We see vogue and know-how as each an artwork and a science, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Lalaland.ai, an organization with such high-quality know-how that may assist us proceed on our journey for a extra numerous and inclusive buyer expertise.”
Levi’s claims, “AI will doubtless by no means absolutely substitute human fashions for us” (be aware the qualifying “doubtless”). However I can’t assist however see this as step one in a dystopian sluggish stroll towards automating the trade. As AI-generated “pictures,” artwork and writing develop ever extra convincing, we might be naive to take companies at face worth after they insist strikes like this are about PR-friendly ideas like celebrating variety and searching for the atmosphere. On the very least, it’s awfully handy that these high-minded motives additionally allow them to mass-produce one thing that beforehand required hiring folks.
Levi Strauss reportedly started a 12-to-19-month technique of slicing round 800 jobs — nearly 20 % of its company workforce — final yr. It was a part of a restructuring plan to avoid wasting about $75 million to $100 million yearly.