Digital Fashion, a great mix of innovation and creativity
Have you ever heard of digital fashion? Virtual clothes are catching on and as bizarre as that may be, this is a great opportunity for fashion brands. Let's find out more!
What is digital fashion?
Digital fashion is, quite simply, clothes that only exist in the digital world. You will never wear them in real life since they are digital creations that you apply to your photos.
If you are on Instagram you will surely have seen influencers and models wearing amazing garments, with almost unreal graphics and shapes. Well, they were probably digital fashion.
An example of digital fashion is the 2019 partnership between The Fabricant and blockchain gaming company Dapper Labs. The resulting virtual dress was auctioned at the Ethereal Summit in New York and sold for the then equivalent of $ 9,500 in Ethereum.
Yes, the clothes may be virtual, but people pay for them with real money.
How does digital fashion work?
Brands are using different technologies to create digital garments such as 3D modelling software, video game engines, and AI. However, the creation requires the garments to be mostly designed manually and then transformed into digital products.
Customers can browse an online catalogue of digital clothes and buy the one they prefer. Depending on the retailer, they can submit a photo of themselves and the 3D designers will adapt the digital garment to their bodies. Or, they can download and edit it with 3D software.
Once ready, customers can share the photo with their social networks.
Social networks, virtual reality, and the Metaverse
CGI clothing and similar are not exclusive to social networks, but are designed also for virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Metaverse.
The former are already part of our lives. On the contrary, virtual reality and Metaverse are still in their infancy, but we know that they will play an important role in the future. In particular, for fashion. In fact, last spring 2022 the first Metaverse Fashion Week event was held, and included virtual fashion shows and NFT sales by fashion brands. Additionally, players of games like Roblox and Fortnite need accessories and clothing for their avatars, and fashion designers are responding to their needs. Business of Apps estimates that Fortnite generated €5.8B in revenue during 2021, mainly through the sale of digital clothing that players use to personalise their in-game characters.
The opportunities behind digital couture
There are several reasons behind the success (present and future) of digital couture.
Digital fashion is eco-friendly
The textile and fashion industries have a heavy impact on the environment. They require large amounts of water, resources, energy, and polluting chemicals. Furthermore, overproduction in the fashion industry results in large quantities of waste ending up in landfills. The same goes for the overconsumption of clothes by consumers.
On the contrary, the creation of digital clothing does not need raw materials and does not produce unsold items. Even consumers, once tired of the garment, do not produce any waste.
Furthermore, digital fashion designers can replicate the textures of materials of animal origin (leather, fur, etc.) without harming living creatures.
In short, digital fashion is great for sustainable fashion brands.
One of the most popular hashtags on Instagram is #ootd, outfit of the day. Instagram users are always looking to post photographs of sophisticated looks, but many of them cannot afford physical designer clothes, especially for just one shot.
Digital fashion helps companies' influencer marketing. In fact, influencers monetize their photos, and image quality is paramount to them. It does not change whether the dress they wear really exists or not. What matters is the photo itself. And digital garments can be manipulated to perfectly fit their bodies.
Better customer experience
One of the most interesting applications of digital fashion concerns e-commerce.
Thanks to augmented reality, companies can offer users virtual fitting and virtual dressing rooms. In other words, users can take a selfie, upload it to the site, choose a dress from an e-commerce site and the website can show the user exactly how they would look in that product. These virtual outfits facilitate the purchase and make the customer experience more interesting and satisfying. They may also help reduce the amount of unwanted returns that are sent back because the consumer was not convinced once they tried on the product.
More freedom for designers
The digital world does not follow the normal laws of physics. Virtual clothes can have shapes, textures, chromatic effects, and movements that physical clothes cannot have. This means that fashion designers can give free rein to their creativity. They can fulfill the most incredible wishes. Moreover, working with virtual clothes allows them to learn new things about making physical ones.
Endless production and exclusivity
Unlike physical clothes, a virtual dress can be sold to a potentially infinite number of customers. This allows for a huge increase in ROI. Naturally, companies may decide to produce a limited number of virtual clothes to maintain an idea of exclusivity.
As our life takes on an increasingly virtual dimension, people will become more interested in buying "limited" virtual outfits, and eventually part of digital fashion will become as exclusive as the real thing.
In conclusion, digital fashion represents the connection between virtual reality and tailoring.
Those in this article are just some of the developments we can predict. In fact, as technological innovation advances, digital fashion will find spaces and variations that we cannot yet imagine.