Robot Models?

In organizing my blog idea notes, I came across an old article from 2009: Robot Model Walks in Japan. The article dramatically speculates:

“The very livelihood of living, breathing models may be threatened. For in Japan this week a five foot two robot model named Miim walked in Yumi Katsura’s show. Modeling a wedding dress, Miim even took “realistic sidelong glances” at the front row. (If we may, that’s not very realistic, since models don’t look to the side when they walk down a runway, generally, but we’ll excuse Miim only because she’s a robot.) Miim’s developer hopes she will continue working in fashion and entertainment. “

In the three years since Miim’s debut, am I the only one who hasn’t heard of any developments in artificial robot models? Does anyone think this is still the wave of the future? What would have to happen for mechanical robots to be preferable to humans?

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  • Christina May 08, 2012 08.40 pm

    I think the prospect of live models is one of the last remaining elements that gets everyone out of the house for fashion week. Robots don’t make sense for online retail (since you might as well use a mannequin), but this post did remind me of the most recent Photoshop scandal at H&M. They received a lot flack recently for pasting models’ heads onto completely CG images of bodies with clothes “drawn” onto them.

    We’ve been making models into robots for some time now, in print and online; I could see why an actual robot wouldn’t turn too many heads. At lets be honest. Miim is way too short for runway work.

  • Tove Hermanson May 09, 2012 08.29 pm

    Interesting perspective, Christina. While I agree with much of what you voiced (not least of which is Miim’s height!), having just come from the Gaultier exhibit currently touring at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, I wonder if technology isn’t sometimes the thing that draws crowds. I know that long before I saw it, I read all about the Gaultier exhibit and nary a one article failed to mention the eerily life-like moving, blinking, and speaking faces projected onto otherwise ordinary stationary mannequins. Technology seems so often to be a draw in-and-of itself, I wonder if a future (perhaps taller?) version of Miim will bring her own crowds to runways.


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