Digital Clothing does not make of textile or anything tangible. The outfits are made from pixels rather than materials, using computer technologies and 3D software. You’ll never wear an element of digital clothing in real life.
Instead, you can look at an online selection of digital clothes and order something you like. Depending on the retailer, you can either send a picture of yourself to a team of 3D designers who will digitally fit the item of clothing on your photo, or you can download and manipulate the files yourself using 3D software.
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Why is Digital Clothing Booming Now?
Here are Five Reasons Why Digital Clothing is Booming:
1. Digital Clothing is Eco-Friendly unlike the Traditional Fashion Industry
Waste is an ongoing issue in the fashion industry. It contributes more to climate change than the combined annual air and sea travel emissions. If trends endure, it could account for a sector of the world’s carbon budget by 2050.
Even if you recycle plastic bottles or produce organic cotton, there’s a lot more water used, and it’s still more wasteful than digital.
The carbon footprint of producing a digital costume is 95% lower than traditional physical clothing.
2. Digital Clothing is in Line with Current Usage of People Who need an “Outfit of the Day.”
A quick search of the popular Instagram hashtag #ootd reveals more than 350 million posts. Many designer outfits cost thousands of dollars and will only damage once, to get that whole social media post before their company into the back of the wardrobe.
3. Digital Clothing is Relevant in Times of Pandemic When People Don’t Go Out as much and Instead Show Off on Social Media
It has seen accelerated growth through the pandemic. Brands have switched to virtual showrooms and online events to show their latest fashion designs.
It makes sense. If people are trapped indoors, there’s no need to buy real-life clothes to show off on social media. It’s more cost-effective to buy an exclusive, limited-edition virtual fashion item to model to fans and followers.
4. New Tech Making it Easier to Create Digital Clothing
Advances in technology, especially 3D software, is making it easier to create digital garments. What currently takes 3-5 hours could eventually become instant.
Initially, designers were digitizing their existing textile designs. But with the latest software, they can create digital clothes from the start. They can even add imaginative items and materials that would be impossible in real-life and add AR effects and filters.
5. Digital Clothing has a Similarity with Video Games Avatars
The inspiration for the digital clothing brand Tribute was Grand Theft Auto, The Sims, and other video games.
Similarly, Carlings’ first digital-only collection, “Neo-Ex”, was inspired by video games such as Tekken. It featured a bright yellow crocodile skin coat, blue latex chaps covered in computer code print, and a black visor emblazoned with the slogan: “Eat The Glitch’”
Examples of Pioneering Brands in Digital Clothing
Let’s look at three pioneering brands leading the fashion industry towards digital clothing.
Tribute is a Croatian-based company that makes “contactless cyber fashion.” It found by creative director Gala Marija Vrbanic and head of digital fashion, Filip Vajda.
Vrbanic and Vajda digitized their traditional real-life clothing patterns using 3D software. Nowadays, they are a 100% digital brand.
Their digital clothes make from materials that people could never wear in the real world due to the laws of physics.
Customers purchase garments from their website and supply a photo. Then the Tribute designers blend the digital garment onto the image seamlessly and add shadowing and other lifelike elements.
The Fabricant is an Amsterdam-based digital fashion house “leading the fashion industry towards a new sector of digital clothing.” The brand creates hyper-real virtual clothing for fashion brands and retailers, such as Puma and I.T Hong Kong. Their founder, Kerry Murphy, reckons it won’t be long until a luxury brand releases a completely digital collection.
The Fabricant also designed the world’s first “digital couture” piece sold at a charity auction for $9,500 on the Ethereum blockchain. The iridescent, translucent one-piece design by Amber Jae Slooten, creative director at The Fabricant, fit a photo of the owner.
It was modelled by Johanna Jaskowska
Happy99 has a different digital-clothing strategy. Founders Nathalie Nguyen and Dominic Lopez are not interested in editing Instagram photos for customers.
They see wearable AI as a tool to help build brand identity and ultimately open up a dialogue about what to consume. They’re famous for merging their digital shoes with physical outfits to create a stronger connection with fans and customers.
How your Fashion Brand can Ride into the Future with Digital Clothing
Here are four ways your fashion brand can harness the power of digital clothing.
- 1: Limited editions
- 2: Social tokens
- 3: Esports fashion
- 4: Offer digital fitting solutions
Digital Clothing in a Nutshell
Boosted by broader supply (more brands joining the movement) and demand (more people staying home while hanging on social media), 2021 could be the year digital clothing blooms into a new fashion avenue.
At the same time, digital fashion is more accessible and can rest easy knowing it hasn’t left an enormous, negative carbon footprint like the traditional fashion industry.
To summarize, It is eco-friendly, is getting easier to create, fits in with the trendy OOTD, allows people to show off on social media, and closely align with the thriving esports market.