Whether you’ve started exploring NFT or haven’t even taken the time to create a TikTok account, one cannot deny that the internet is continually evolving, whether you keep up with it. Some of the top developments we’ve seen in recent times are the use of NFTs and the metaverse to change the concept of fashion. But unfortunately, many people find the new digital fashion trends confusing and do not know how they work.
Their curiosity about digital fashion was only piqued by many people when they saw how it affects the real world beyond digital avatars. In this article, we’ve explored the definition of digital fashion and the top trends you should note.
On that note, let’s begin.
What is Digital Fashion?
The fashion industry has been disrupted many times through its value chain. Additionally, technological advancements affect the fashion industry and have become an integral part of fashion. We can see 3D prototyping, QR code prints, and even visual fitting rooms. A new trend that has continually gained popularity is the growth of digital fashion. You have to wonder if digital fashion has been around for many years or is simply a new concept. To answer this question, one has to look at the gaming industry.
Digital clothes play a significant role in the experience of a game. Top games like Fortnite make money when they offer skins to players. These players usually pay from $5 upward to purchase these unique skins. Note that this purchase doesn’t open up new levels for the players or increase the number of lives they possess. Instead, the new skin makes them stand out and is a great way to bond with competitors and friends.
Digital fashion involves the digitalization of every aspect of fashion. This includes the designing and manufacturing process. Many brands, including luxury brands, are jumping on the virtual train. An example is Moschino; this luxury brand collaborated with the Sims to create an in-game launch. Although this was in 2019, a more recent example of luxury brands and their dive into digital fashion is Louis Vuitton and its collaboration with the League of Legends. One of the brands that have increased the demand for digital fashion is the Fabricant. This brand’s slogan is ‘we waste nothing but data and exploit nothing but imaginations.’ This brand focuses on virtual-only fashion you can only use in virtual realities.
Why is Digital Fashion So Popular?
The founder of Dapper Labs once shared that what digital fashion was offering was quite similar to the face filters provided on Instagram and Snapchat. It is simply a new way for people to express themselves. High-tech fashion isn’t only available in Sci-Fis today and is now a part of our everyday lives. Tech-savvy millennials are blurring the lines between the fashion industry and technology today. It has gone beyond 3D printing and digital marketing. Instead, everyone can now create or personalize their own online identity with digital fashion. Most Gen Zs view it as an effective way to engage with fashion brands.
Can Digital Fashion Replace Traditional Fashion?
Most people prefer digital fashion because it offers an eco-friendly solution to the conventional method of producing clothes. Now, clothes can exist without a need for a single waste. Digital fashion doesn’t affect manufacturing and leads to the filling of landfills. One of the leading reasons digital fashion is so appealing is that designer clothes that usually cost thousands of dollars can only be worn once because designers can now create their designs much less in the virtual world. Now people can live out their desire without wasting valuable resources and textiles.
After the pandemic, there was an apparent necessity for a digital-only technology. One of such was the first digital-only fashion week. This technology allowed people to participate in the fashion show but in a safer way. Research by Ordre showed that fashion designers and buyers attending Fashion weeks in Paris, New York, London, and many more contributed 241,000 tones of CO2 emissions yearly. These numbers do not account for the models and press at the shows.
Like digital marketing, watching shows and videos online requires tools like massive servers and a PC. It is the same for the technologies needed to adjust the outfits to fit one’s photo. Nevertheless, we cannot deny the benefits of this choice. Therefore, there might be a shift in the way we consume fashion.
Benefits of Digital Fashion
Digital fashion uses technology to create non-physical but hyper-realistic apparel. This is ideal for the new trend of discarding clothes after wearing them. Now you don’t have to worry about the effects of your fast fashion habit on the environment. Additionally, digital fashion targets millennials and Gen Z customers who are constantly on their devices and spending most of their time in the virtual world. This generation of consumers are not only fashion-conscious but prefer to own a limited number of available items.
In the case of digital fashion, one-off outfits only exist on the internet. This makes the clothing lifecycle non-existent and therefore null and void. Rather than purchase outfits from fast fashion brands, you can create a unique outfit to show off on Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Digital fashion provides the fashion industry with the best solution to its carbon footprint issues.
There are many more benefits enjoyed by brands and consumers regarding fast fashion. However, its potential to replace fast fashion remains the most important among them. This is because it minimizes the tonnes of wastage created during the production of traditional clothes. By minimizing textile wastage, digital fashion successfully reduces the industry’s impact on the environment by 95%.
Fashion Brands that Seized the Digital Fashion Moment
The media’s opinion about digital fashion is still developing; it is a relatively new concept, and there’s not a lot of content on the topic yet. However, several brands are already jumping on the bandwagon and exploring the world of digital fashion. This section will explore the top luxury brands that seized the moment.
Gucci is one of the most influential brands in the digital fashion world. The brand doesn’t just create physical fashion items. Still, it has also started creating digital ones like clothes, accessories, shoes, and many more items that are only available in the digital world. This is because Gucci believes that for luxury fashion to thrive in the next decade, there’s a need for it to integrate with the virtual world where most customers now spend their time.
Gucci has created virtual versions of its clothing collection for fashion-themed video games for the past few years. The company also designed athletic wear for a famous tennis game and many virtual looks for online avatars. In addition, Gucci launched a platform where its users could design virtual sneakers and wear them in augmented reality. If you also have a virtual alter ego on Roblox, you could purchase Gucci handbags, hats, or sunglasses to stand out in the virtual world. Gucci created these digital items as part of a limited Gucci collection for Roblox. These moves by the luxury fashion house Gucci were in a bid to enter the growing fashion house where most of its young consumers were spending their time.
Most metaverse players share that this collaboration with Roblox marked a new era of virtual-real world interplay. This was a space where smart products could meet the desire of consumers looking to express their personality in the digital world. Users of Roblox could explore the Gucci Garden and spend from $1 to $9 on different collectible and limited-edition accessories. A bag from this collection made the headlines when a player resold it for $4,100.
Beyond Gucci, other luxury brands are also exploring the digital fashion space. One of them is Louis Vuitton. This brand made an entry into the virtual space by collaborating with League of Legends. The brand created skins for this metaverse game where players could collect NFTs. Additionally, Louis Vuitton also made headlines for designing outfits for some characters in the Final Fantasy XIII game. However, the brand collaborated with Prada for this project.
On the other hand, Burberry seems determined to lead the way regarding digital ownership. This British fashion label started out experimenting with its games. Next, it took its immersion into digital fashion a step further by creating NFT vinyl toys and virtual clothing for an open-world multiplayer game called Blanko’s Block Party. In this game, players could purchase and sell digital toys; they also had the option of upgrading when necessary.
Dolce and Gabbana
This brand also dived into the digital fashion world by announcing that it had sold a nine-piece collection of virtual NFTs and some real couture for 1,885.719 Ether. The equivalent of this cryptocurrency was $5.7 million. This announcement marked the end of the virtual world’s cancellation of the fashion brand after it made some offensive statements against size, race, and sexuality.
This brand also made it into the media when it pitched sundresses and popped collars for a new generation of avatars. At this same time, Ralph Lauren started selling digital apparel in the metaverse. This fashion brand designed a virtual clothing line inside Zepeto, a South Korean social network. The network had over 200 million users who continually interacted in a virtual world.
Beyond luxury fashion houses, some sportswear brands like Adidas and Nike are now influential in the digital fashion debate. Adidas collaborated with Karlie Kloss, a supermodel, to create a digital version of the Wind.RDY Parka jacket Adidas collaborated with Fabricant to achieve this fashionable creation. On the other hand, Nike is set to create virtual trainers and clothes.
Digital fashion isn’t a new concept. However, it only began to gain popularity in recent times. Many fashion brands, especially luxury houses, recognize the importance of digital fashion and how it is the future of fashion. Many fashion brands have already created virtual apparel as an alternative to fast fashion and for consumers spending time on the internet. This sector is continually evolving and might become the future of fashion.