The Gucci stretch headband…rose-tinted sunglasses…a penchant for streetwear. So far Lil Wavi is just your average Insta-boy with a slavish obsession with logos and wanting to make it big on the ‘gram. Right? Except he is 100% not real. Like Lil Miquela, the avatar influencer who took over Prada’s show last season, the 20-year-old CGI model is part of a new guard of social media stars blurring the lines between reality and the digital world. We caught up with his creator, London-based Emily Groom, to find out more.
Hi Emily! Talk me through your career journey so far? At what point did you become interested in exploring the virtual world in relation to art and fashion?
Since January 2017 I have been focusing my energy towards my clothing brand Waviboy, as I explore the brand through a digital generation; from the design process to creative direction, I attempt to visualise a digital concept, linking fashion and technology.
The drive towards setting up my own clothing brand came as a result of an unhealthy period in my life – I needed a BIG lifestyle change – I needed to focus my intense energy on a fresh purpose. I used my negative situation as a platform into this positive one and I’m thankful everyday for that choice I once made as I am so fulfilled with the journey I lead now. Recently releasing season five [TURBULENCE] has been mad and its been my craziest season yet – I’ve really felt my growth this season!
Up until June 2017 I was also attending art school so this one was a manic year – juggling between both my studies and clothing brand had a challenging yet healthy impact upon my journey as a creative. However, I am currently on a year out which has shown a clearly refined benefit on Waviboy. I have had time to focus solely on my vision and brand concepts, pushing myself closer to where I want to be.
Who or what is your greatest source of inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration would be freedom. For someone to be their authentic self, regardless of the environment they are in or the people they are surrounded by. For someone to be completely in touch with their mind – taking control of its journey and choices – to the extent at which one is able to mould their own mindset in reaching their ultimate visions. In terms of visual inspiration, I am in love with Baz Luhrman’s work – especially in The Get Down – incredible! I have also always digged the work of Dom Sebastian due to the extremely futuristic vibe it carries with it.
Why did you create Lil Wavi?
Because its time to push fashion forward. I knew there was something missing – there was a gap. The concept of the future is closer than we think it is. My vision was to create a digital brand for a digital era and Lil Wavi is another expression of that idea.
Who is Lil Wavi? How old is he?
He’s a digital model who lives inside the computer. I created him late march which makes him about three months old. However, to us – in human years – he behaves and appears around 20.
How would you describe his personal style?
To me, his style is very wild. He has told me in the past that he enjoys being free with his styling, cutting any limits to self expression. In effect, he is inventing his own futuristic wave through his fashion – this is his tool. In terms of his designer inspiration, I know he loves M1992, Palm Angels, Prada and Misbhv.
Is the avatar influencer the future in fashion?
Yes of course. I have seen a few faces already on the same wave as Lil Wavi and I am beginning to recognise others catching onto this vision. We are soon going to be amongst some crazy technology and real life robots which were only ever imagined through Hollywood movies! There are so many big opportunities where technology and fashion could collide; we are going to see a massive evolution within the fashion industry with ideas similar to Lil wavi. Fashion shows are already taking a turn with the performance and experience proving more prominent – overtime we’ll see shows stepping into the future and with the advancements of such technology maybe Lil Wavi will one day be able to walk in fashion week!
He has already garnered a 4k Instagram following in a few months – what do you think has made it successful?
Lil Wavi is an interesting guy. He is also really loveable! Foremost, people dig his crazy style yet are also somewhat intrigued by his virtual existence. High fashion streetwear is huge at the moment but equally are the ‘influencers’ who sport it. However, the medium in which Lil Wavi is living and breathing breaks through the wave of streetwear into the art scene too. This has sparked a fresh curiosity and interest throughout a broader audience as Lil Wavi does not simply serve one purpose; Lil Wavi is style inspiration as well as a whole new concept.
What’s up next for him?
Lil Wavi has been working alongside Waviboy since birth and has really grasped the creative vision more than anything which is sick. I am looking to collaborate with Lil wavi on an upcoming high fashion collection which is going to be really fun to produce as it’s an area I am yet to venture into with Waviboy. Despite working non stop with photographers and artists, I know he has also been working hard on his upcoming YouTube channel (keep an eye out for this) but hasn’t let too much on just yet so it’ll be interesting to see him express himself on a more personal level over in the screen with YouTube, once he drops his first vid!
The future of Waviboy and the journey it will take me on is an exciting thought! I look forward to watching Lil Wavi’s career progress as he continues to develop an understanding of himself and of the world he has been born into. On a wider spectrum, I look forward to the evolution of the fashion industry – to what extent will technology contribute to this new era and how far will we see the push?
22 June 2018