SINGAPORE – We are used to influencers promoting what they are using to fans or brands collaborating with actors and singers to create a fashion line. 2020 has seen a crop of virtual influencers, which are computer-generated “people” who have realistic features and human-like personalities, making their collaborations with various labels, from fashion to food.
Not bound by geographical limitations and possible human errors, virtual influencers are slowly but surely, replacing the stereotypical influencers and are possibly the future of marketing. Yahoo Lifestyle SEA understands more about the concept of virtual personality with virtual influencer Rae and SBTG founder Mark Ong and their sell-out SBTGxRae capsule collection and other plans that are in the pipeline.
“I’m more than just a pretty picture. As a virtual being, I’m created digitally by CGI technology and powered by AI. This has played a big part in defining how I shape my reality. If I want, almost everything I imagine can become a reality.”
The sky is truly the limit for virtual personalities, giving the creator the power to choose even the smallest details such as the thickness of the influencer’s lips and the way their freckles look. Creators can shape their personalities according to what is in trend at the moment, targeting specific audience and brands.
A hyper-realistic personality, Rae identifies herself as a Gen-Z digital artist and street culture enthusiast. “I find streetwear and street culture incredibly expressive. It’s not just what you wear, but how you wear it,” she let on.
Nailing her first modelling stint as the face of Monsoon Patrol’s 2020 collection, Rae’s partnership with highly sought-after label SBTG is a huge milestone for virtual influencers. The SBTGxRae collection is Asia’s first product collaboration between a label and virtual personality, and the entire collection was sold out within three days of its launch on 5 December.
“Being virtual, I’m also not bound by physical or geographical constraints. Want me to appear in Shanghai? I’m there. Who needs a passport (or vaccine)?” Rae shared. What makes her unique is the ability to be anywhere, allowing Rae and her collaborators to experiment and innovate; breaking traditional boundaries of product and marketing collaborations.
The influencer market is a billion-dollar industry globally. With the emphasis placed on artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years, it is no wonder that virtual influencers will continue to evolve and become the new trend in marketing.
The endless possibilities in what she can achieve are the best things about being a virtual influencer for Rae. “When you can make your imaginations come true, you are empowered and infinite,” she said. The 25-year-old let on that her journey has just started, and there are still a lot for her to learn and grow.
The SBTGxRae collection, a four-piece capsule collection consisting of a Champion Tee, an Aloha shirt, a pair of socks and a skateboard, was sold out within three days. SBTG founder Mark Ong, a Singaporean pioneer in the sneaker design community, shared a love of skateboarding with Rae, which had catalysed into this successful collaboration.
When asked about his experience working with a virtual influencer, Mark shared he felt that having a physical collection would bring virtual closer to reality. “I’ve always loved first-time experiences. Working with a virtual being is quite a refreshing and inspiring experience. Virtual could become a reality through our collaboration, and this purpose excites me!”
For Rae, having her first collection sold out in just three days is “just mind-blowing!” The virtual personality revealed that it is fulfilling to work on what she is passionate about. She is grateful that Mark could translate the duo’s ideas into tangible products and designs.
Having attained such a great achievement despite just starting in the scene, we are curious what else Rae would want to achieve.
“It’d be a dream to work with fashion brands such as Comme Des Garcon, Off-White, Balenciaga etc. I want to break down conventional norms with more brands and partners. It’d be cool if I could also land my first cover on a magazine.”
Observing that people are curious about virtual influencers, Rae noted that there are plenty of opportunities waiting to be uncovered in the new future.
“Change is the only constant. Who knows what’s next? There is much to discover, and each day is a chance to build new relationships, new experiences. Our imagination only limits us, right? Join me on my journey!” she shared.
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