You may have seen pictures of this dark skin beauty, but you should be surprised to find out that she is not a human, she’s an avatar!
If you follow the Instagram page of the model named Shudu, you may have taken in her beautiful melanin skin and thought that she is the next big thing to walk the runways.
But as Keke Palmer would say “the gag is” Shudu is not a human model, but a 3-D avatar created by a 28-year-old British fashion photographer.
Cameron-James Wilson who has photographed models like Gigi Hadid and Pia Mia created Shudu and a few others is the creator of the model avarat and has changed the way we can look at fashion.
On Instagram, Shudu has more than 120,000 followers, up from 60,000 in March and the number just keeps continuing to grow.
Unlike one of his other creations Lil Miquela who is verified on Instagram with 1.2 million followers, Shudu hasn’t been seen with a variety of clothes for a major digital reason.
“In order for Shudu to wear garments, she needs to be able to put them on, just like you would in the real world,” Wilson says. “You have to digitize the outfits. A program that is very widely used to do that is called Clo. It’s an amazing program that simulates fabric true to life. It fits exactly like it would fit her if she was a real person.”
Being that Shudu is supposed to represent a South African model, Wilson says is a step in the right direction for diversity in Fashion.
“[Shudu] brings to the table a lot of topics and discussions about representation, even if it is of a critical nature,” he says. “I want her to support developing economies and industries and be a vessel for that. With diversity, it’s important to focus not just on what we see, the models, but also top-down diversity, where we focus on bringing diversity to creative directors, to fashion designers, to many different people because that way it will be more everlasting. That’s what I want to see: a big change.”
However, while it may seem like a new wave in fashion, some believe that models like Shudu and Lil Miquela will take over the role of human models. But Wilson says otherwise.
“I don’t think Shudu or other 3-D models take anything away. When you look at a company like Clo, they employ  people and that’s a very small part of the 3-D industry. Eventually, if this catches on, people will be more and more employed. OK, one model might not be employed, but maybe 50 other people are [working] in order to take that kind of space. You have to be very lucky to be a model. You have to be born genetically beautiful in every way and pretty much perfect. What kind of world would be better: one where somebody who works hard, who’s a talented artist can create a model or somebody who’s born lucky?”
Being that the fashion world is indeed changing, as a photographer, Wilson knows that photoshop is loosely being used to make the “perfect” model. So when he received criticism about making a 3-D model, he had a clapback that shut everyone up!
“As soon as you start to retouch a photo, it becomes fantasy, it’s not real,” he says. “We need to get it out of our heads that just because something is labeled as a photo makes it any more real than a digital creation. In some ways, digital creations can be more accurate to real life because you have to put in so much realism.”
Take a look at Shudu below and let us know what you think!