Use AI-Generated Fashion Models Correctly to Boost Your Store’s Look

The ongoing boom in online fashion sales has given small apparel retailers an opportunity to shine, find their niche, gain a reputation online, and carve out a successful business.

However, there are challenges that smaller retailers must overcome to become a success. This includes marketing their items in a professional, diverse way without breaking the bank.

Large brands can afford photoshoots with high-end photographers, multiple paid models, and professional hair and makeup artists. In contrast, smaller online retailers are often left with the generic photos provided by brands/suppliers or making do with modeling clothes in-house. This limits the ways in which they can showcase their merchandise and compete with the bigger players.

Thankfully, technology now offers a solution to this problem, providing a low-cost way of advertising clothing via generative AI, in particular AI-generated fashion models.

What are generative AI and AI-generated fashion models?

Generative AI is all over the news thanks to the release of large language models such as ChatGPT and text-to-image models such as Dall-E and Midjourney. Simply put, generative AI is a category of AI algorithms that can create NEW content—texts, visuals, audio, and more.

The fashion industry is no exception, and one of the first use cases to draw significant attention is AI-generated fashion models. The best computer-generated images achieve staggering levels of photorealism, making it almost impossible to determine real-life images from digital creations. This means it is now possible to produce an infinite number of AI-generated fashion models and advertise clothing at a fraction of the cost required for professional photoshoots.

So, what do fashion retailers need to successfully advertise their products online?

The importance of high-quality images and a diverse range of models

With so much competition in the fashion e-commerce space, consumers have more choices than ever before. Therefore, online brands must spend considerable time and effort designing websites to optimize their conversion rates.
Data from September 2022 found the average conversion rate for fashion e-commerce sites to be 1.53%. Only 3 in 200 people who visit an online fashion brand actually go through with a purchase.

With such a low conversion rate, even a slight increase can dramatically affect a company’s bottom line. There are a range of ideas and methods for maximizing PDP (Product Detail Page) conversion rates, including:

  • Writing compelling and enticing product descriptions
  • Improving consumer confidence with reviews and social proof
  • Simplifying pages, removing clutter, and getting visitors to focus on one outcome (making a purchase)

 

However, when it comes to fashion, much of it comes down to visuals and showing customers what the clothing looks like on a person. This requires high-quality images with a diverse range of models.

Models are the focal point of fashion advertising, bringing apparel to life and providing consumers with aspirational images of what they could look like in a new piece of clothing. This drives purchasing intent and forms a connection with the customer, one that is made stronger when the model better reflects them.
This is why utilizing multiple models covering the broad range of consumers visiting a site is critical. For a long time, advertising has focused on just a fraction of the population, and only recently has it started to highlight a wider variety of body types and races. Research shows it has a good reason to, with 52% of consumers stating they “trust a brand more if their ads reflect my culture.”

Since models are critical to the success of a site, any models are better than none. Oftentimes, smaller retailers are priced out of holding photoshoots; instead, they are stuck with a generic package of headless images or stock 2D photos of the clothing on their own. This prevents the consumer from imagining what the item would look like on themselves and lessens their motivation to buy.
As we mentioned before, the solution is AI-generated models and relying on technology to generate high-quality photorealistic images of a number of models wearing a brand’s products. But can generative AI be used by just anyone to achieve this?

The challenges of using AI-generated fashion models with real clothes

There are several challenges associated with modeling real clothes on AI-generated models. These include:

Accurately representing the garment

Generative-AI image generators are great at outputting photorealistic images from scratch. But online fashion sites need to be able to produce photorealistic images of models that reflect a real-life piece of clothing. AI can quickly get lost in specific details, having so-called “hallucinations,” returning inaccurate or unexpected results that no longer accurately represent the garment for sale. This could be anything from changing the fabric pattern or stitching to adding elements such as buttons.
Misrepresenting an item of clothing will quickly lead to dissatisfied customers, returned items, and a reduced return on investment.

Altering the model and setting the pose

The advantage of utilizing AI-generated fashion models is that sites can provide customers with diverse images showcasing their clothing on different models. Therefore, an AI image generator needs to understand what the garment would look like on different body types, or even fill in areas that were previously hidden
It can be easy to cherry-pick the best image for a given input, but to be valuable to an online fashion brand it needs to be able to alter the model and pose while remaining photorealistic and accurate to the item of clothing. This includes many important details, such as lighting, draping, and fabric texture.

Different approaches to AI-generated images for fashion

Different AI tools are taking different approaches to solving the problems of real-life garments on AI-generated fashion models. There are two main options for inputting clothing into an AI image generator:

  1. 3D representations of the garment using an expensive full 3D map that the model can play with
  2. A 2D representation offers less information and a greater likelihood of the inaccuracies discussed above

These two options offer a trade-off for fashion retailers between accuracy and cost—creating 3D garment mapping requires dedicated photography equipment and extensive shooting to capture all the information needed.
With all the Midjourney images floating around (did you see the one with
The Pope in a Balenciaga-inspired puffer coat
?), retailers might think it is possible to get results using free general-purpose tools. But these models aren’t explicitly trained to generate AI fashion models. They use a diffusive approach to imagine a new image based on text prompts.

AI-Generated image: The Pope in a puffer coat
Pope Francis in white puffer coat. Created by Pablo Xavier using Midjourney.

When applied to creating a specific fashion model wearing a specific garment, they run into problems with accuracy and consistency. Common issues occur with fine details, such as hair or filling in spaces realistically.

Social media post on product pages

Even if given a photo starting point, model consistency would be an issue since the AI would reimagine the model every time, changing some small details. When trying to create a consistent look for your site, that is a problem. 

Users would require expertly written, highly detailed prompts and much trial and error to generate usable pictures.

Instead, fashion retailers need a different type of technology, one capable of performing an in-depth analysis of a garment to project what it would accurately look like on an infinite number of possible AI fashion models. 

Botika: Generative AI made specifically for fashion retailers

With expertise in computer vision, AI, and media, Botika has developed a generative AI solution for fashion retailers wanting professional photoshoot quality images without the price of professional photoshoots.

All retailers need is photos of people wearing their clothing, and Botika can take care of the rest, generating high-quality, highly accurate images of the same piece of clothing on an infinite number of AI-generated models in different settings. 

With Botika, e-commerce sites can diversify, scale, and localize their product photos to optimize:

  • Time-to-market
  • Conversion rates
  • Average order value

Botika’s technology turns existing photos into studio-grade shots featuring AI-generated fashion models so that retailers can pick the perfect images for their brand. See Botika in action today and learn how to boost your store’s look without breaking your marketing budget.

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