People buy digital clothes because that’s a thing now

NFTs style sustainability for the virtual worlds of digital fashion

Digital fashion has become very real. Photo collage: VICE / Photos: Courtesy of Stevie Fong

The latest fashion is made not of threads and textiles, but of pixels and programs.

Digital fashion makes everything traditional fashion does — shirts, dresses, pants, hats, shoes, and accessories — but none of it is tangible. Instead, customers “wear” digital clothing through augmented reality and digitally altered images.

People have been putting digital accessories through social media filters for years, and Game Skins Market – where gamers love It is an electronic game Buying custom clothes, or “skins” for their avatars – worth billions of dollars. Then there’s Facebook’s recent announcement about its plans for a metaverse line. Although this sounds strange and futuristic, the merging of what is digital and physical is happening right now.

Now, designers are creating more skewed digital fashion pieces for people to wear as ways to express themselves and push the boundaries of creativity. One might say that digital fashion is becoming more and more realistic.

Buying digital fashion was weird at first, but it was easier, cheaper, and felt more ethical than buying real new clothes, said Dhanush Shetty, a 22-year-old product manager based in San Francisco.

“Usually, when you buy clothes, you have to think about the fit, how it will look in the photos, and sometimes, how ethical the purchase is. You don’t have to worry about being ‘too big’ for digital fashion or whether [it] Shetty told VICE.

Shetty said he bought his first few digital fashion pieces from DressX, a company that launched in August 2020 and now sells its own designs as well as collaborates with several digital designers.

DressX customers can experience digital clothing through augmented reality. If they decide to buy, they upload a photo of themselves to the website or app and then, within 1-2 days, receive the photo with their digital fashion piece professionally edited onto their body, ready to post on social media.

“Our goal is to give everyone their own digital locker,” said Natalia Modinova, co-founder of DressX.

She and co-founder Daria Shapovalova live in Los Angeles and previously worked in the fashion industry, where they saw a number of problems they wanted to solve.

The fashion industry is in an environmental and social emergency, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The commission estimates that 20 percent of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry, which also emits 10 percent of global carbon emissions. The textile industry has been identified as a major contributor to plastic waste in the oceans, and fast fashion is notorious for its hazardous working conditions.

Only digital fashion houses have yet to account for other energy-intensive processes in the digital world, such as creating NFTs, but Modenova and Shapovalova said they have found solutions to many of the industry’s problems in digital fashion, allowing people to “get dressed”. “New and exciting clothes as much as they want, without having to physically produce the clothes.

Shapovalova predicts that in the future, everyone will have digital clothing “that you can wear on social media, on still photos, video calls, online conferences, and soon, in games and other multiverses.”

Another advantage of digital fashion, Shapovalova said, is that it allows more designers to start their careers without the high costs of physical production — which is exactly what happened to 3D artist Stevie Fong.

London-based Fung has been tasked with creating 3D environments — things like composition, camera animation, and lighting — for a digital fashion campaign.

“At the time, I didn’t know how to create digital fashion, [but] I was fascinated and excited to watch digital fashion designers create clothes from nothing. Only then did I realize that my 3D skills are complementary to digital fashion,” Fong said.

Today, Fong wears her own digital fashion designs.

“I wear it digitally because I want to demonstrate what is possible with digital fashion and also because digital clothing makes me look cooler than I do in real life,” she said.

The best part about digital fashion, she added, is that people can wear clothes with features that can’t be found in the real world.

“You can have clothes that float and have no gravity. You can have clothes that glow in different colors. You can have costumes that are animated with different words or patterns – the possibilities are endless and fun.”

Roy Derhy, founder of digital fashion house Placebo, whose designs have also been featured on DressX, believes that digital fashion transports people to different worlds.

“I think the best part about digital fashion is having an escape effect in it. Digital fashion is bigger than reality and makes people not just wear clothes, but fantasies.”

He believes that digital fashion is also a more sustainable way to create content for social media, which drives a lot of fashion purchases today.

According to a study by UK-based online banking company Barclaycard, nearly one in 10 Britons revealed that they bought clothes online only to wear them once, with the aim of posting a photo on social media, then returning the purchases later.

“if [the clothes are] They will only be used as part of your digital presence, so why not use digital clothing? ‘ asked the augmented reality creator from Manchester, UK, who goes by the name Doddz.

Doddz, who discovered digital fashion while researching ways fashion brands could use augmented reality, believes it’s only a matter of time before those interested in fashion embrace digital fashion in the real world. He noted how people are already wearing virtual sunglasses and hats through Instagram filters, and how brands like Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga have entered the gaming skins industry.

“We are all moving towards working and living in different worlds, or digital worlds, so that people are more interested in their online presence, digital fashion will become popular,” Doddz said.

“Why wouldn’t anyone interested in fashion care about wearing the most beautiful clothes that are physically impossible to make, with things floating around you?”

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