Taiwanese model Shereen Wu previously worked as a brand model for designer Michael Costello, offering her services without compensation in exchange for exposure opportunities. However, after the work concluded, Shereen discovered that the designer had replaced her photos from the show with those of an entirely different Caucasian woman without any prior notice. This made her feel completely disrespected, but Costello insisted that AI face swapping is a future trend and saw no issue with it.
Shereen decided to publicly address the incident on her social media platforms and confronted the designer directly. However, Costello attempted to shift the blame onto the event photographer. These actions raised public concerns about potential racial discrimination by the designer.
Shereen also revealed that she was initially chosen by Costello because he liked her, but the truth was that the original model for the show had backed out at the last minute. Among the replacement options, Shereen was the only one who could fit into the outfit, leading to her selection. Shereen expressed, “I hope people can understand how heartbreaking it is to have your work stolen. It’s inhumane. Our purpose as humans is to create beautiful things, and distorting that beauty into something ugly is a terrifying concept.”
With the rise of AI technology, the fashion industry has begun introducing AI models, indicating a potential future where real-life models may be replaced. However, forcibly swapping faces with AI technology without notification is an outrageous and disrespectful act, with not even a simple apology offered afterwards.
Publicly calling out designer Costello may potentially result in Shereen facing backlash and being blacklisted by brands. Nevertheless, she remains brave and steadfast in defending her rights. Reflecting on this year’s Me Too movement, whether it’s workplace bullying or sexual harassment, we need to speak up for our own experiences.
Photo source: Instagram @shereenwu