Did Pope Francis recently become a fashion icon, sporting trendy sunglasses and puffer coats?!
Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Pope Francis Is Now A Fashion Icon!
People are sharing photos of Pope Francis sporting trendy sunglasses and puffer coats, suggesting that he has now eschewed his simple clothes for the latest fashion!
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Truth : Fashion Photos Of Pope Francis Were AI-Generated!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created on TikTok, and shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : The Photo Was Generated Using Midjourney
The first photo of Pope Francis sporting a fashionable white puffer coat appeared to have been created by trippy_art_special using Midjourney – a text-to-image generator powered by artificial intelligence.
Tripy_art_special posted four Pope Francis fashion photos in the Midjourney Reddit on Friday, 24 March 2023, with the title “The Pope Drip“, but only the first one went viral and was reposted in Twitter, where many people believed it was real, with some calling him “The Dope Pope“.
It then became an inspiration for other people to create their version of Pope Francis looking “dope”, creating the perception that Pope Francis ditched his simple clothes for the latest fashion.
It is unknown if the other photos were also created using Midjourney, or other AI image generators like DALL-E or Stable Diffusion.
Fact #2 : The Photos Have Anomalies
The viral photos of Pope Francis looking fashionable are amazingly realistic, but Midjourney and other text-to-image generators still have trouble with hands and fingers.
If you look at the first viral photo above, you can see that his right hand appears to have most of its fingers cut off, and yet, is implausibly holding onto some kind of object.
The right hand appears normal at first glance, but if you look closely, you will see something odd. Just under the sleeve, the thumb and three fingers are visible, with rings on the middle and ring (fourth) fingers. Yet, those two fingers mysteriously merge and become a single finger a short distance below the rings!
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Fact #3 : Pope Francis Is Famous For Dressing Plain
Unlike many of his predecessors, Pope Francis is notable for dressing plain and simple, dispensing with excess adornment.
Instead of silk, Pope Francis opts for simpler and cheaper material like wool. He also wears a simple white cassock, and simple black leather shoes made by a friend, Carlos Samaria in Buenos Aires.
He sports a basic black watch with a white dial, reportedly a Swatch that only costs about $56, and simple glasses. Even the cross he wears is the same iron cross he wore since his anointment as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992.
Pope Francis also chose to “reuse” a modest papal ring in gold-plated silver that was made decades ago, instead of a new papal ring made in gold specifically for him.
Hence, it is rather peculiar why so many people actually believe that Pope Francis is now a fashion icon with expensive taste!
Pope Francis’s penchant for simple, practical clothes has been coined as the “papal athleisure” style, which has been adopted by the cardinals and many Catholics. In a way, Pope Francis is a fashion influencer, even if he never meant to be one!
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Fact #4 : This Is Just Another Example Of AI-Generated Imagery
These fashion photos of Pope Francis are funny, but they are really just another example of AI-generated imagery that are becoming extremely common. Take a look at fake news based on AI-generated photos or videos:
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With AI image generators like Midjourney, DALL-E and Stable Diffusion making it easy for people to create photorealistic images out of literally nothing, we can expect many more examples coming up.
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