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HomeTHE HOTTEST TOPICSConcept to closetNew Zealand’s first AI-powered digital models take to the runway with Salasai

New Zealand’s first AI-powered digital models take to the runway with Salasai

New Zealand designer label Salasai is sending New Zealand’s first AI-powered digital human fashion models down the runway as part of its AW2020 release. Unlike other shows at New Zealand Fashion Week this week, Salasai’s show exists only online, and will continuously launch over seven days.

As part of the NZFW schedule, each day at 7.30pm, Salasai and its creative content partners will upload a series of stills from one of the seven unique perspectives on the collection to their platforms. This approach, titled ‘Salasai Seven’, integrates styled photography with AI software.

While the project involves surrendering Salasai’s usual control over the artistic direction of its show, it also allows Salasai to showcase the varied effects that different creatives can have on a single collection.



The digital models have been created by UneeQ. UneeQ creative director Victor Yuen says it’s “thrilled to be demonstrating the power of digital influencers”.

Salasai has a history of successful physical NZFW runway shows. Founder and designer Kirsha Whitcher says it’s about “changing delivery and operating in the digital space that we rely on year round”.

Salasai Seven debuted yesterday, with content shared via Salasai’s Instagram, Facebook and EDM channels. Other collaborators include co-editors of Black Magazine Ethan Butler and Rachael Churchward, Melbourne-based artist Kelly Thompson, influencer Krystal Boyd-Priest, stylist Jana Bartolo and Sauce Online editor Zeenat Wilkinson.

Digital social media influencers have been growing in popularity over the last few years, with notable examples including Lil Miquela and Blawko. Big-name designer Balmain is known for its #BalmainArmy of virtual models, of which Shudu was the first.

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