The Real Game-Changers: How Virtual Models Take On Creative Industries


June 10th, 2020

If Shakespeare wrote The Matrix, all the world would be a screen, and all the men and women merely gamers. Most online images now are posted using complex filters. With advances in technology and beauty products, our visions and versions of Self causally blur the line between fantasy and reality. In the quest for the ultimate cool, there is a new group of influencers rocking the fashion industry. “A change-seeking robot”. “The world’s first digital supermodel.” “Digital character, activist, vegan.” These opinionated, style-savvy avatars are curating our newsfeed powered by human likes and shares. Artificial intelligence never looked so beautiful.


Data suggests virtual personas outperform human influencers in most engagement categories across social media. We follow storylines as if in an animated series or a pro wrestling saga. Brands are embracing an opportunity to diversity their portfolio while minimizing risks of controversy. When a fast food corporation (looking at you, KFC) jumps on the bandwagon, the trend must have gone mainstream globally. The battle against bots and fake news is getting a fashionable makeover as we speak.

In the post-coronavirus reality of limited or inaccessible travel, the digital modeling domain is set to expand. In part, it is a practical question of easier logistics and simpler labor agreements. Avatars are “available” 24/7 worldwide. Pressed for creativity and efficiency in a time of pandemic, the fashion world is shifting gears online. Recent fashion weeks in Shanghai, Moscow and Helsinki have experimented with providing an all-digital experience for their audiences and buyers which resulted in record viewership and strong sales. Cameron-James Wilson, the mastermind behind CGI-superstars Shudu and Koffi, has launched the digital-only talent agency. The avatars are here to stay. There is also the power of expressing new ideas in novel ways. Move over, wizards and superheroes! The next fashion generation is speaking itself into existence virtually. 

Here are 12 most digital influencers to follow from around the world:


Ruby (Germany)

German girls have two academic role models. Angela Merkel studied quantum chemistry. Ruby excels at economics. She is known both for her quirky outfits and her real online tutoring. It is not surprising since “Smart Style” has been the ethos of Mercedes Benz global fashion platform, too.