The metaverse is coming online, and if we’re going to spend more time in virtual worlds, there’s one important question: What are you going to wear?
“When I first started talking about this, my friends were like, ‘What are you talking about?'” said 27-year-old Daniela Loftus. “
“But my 14-year-old cousins understood it right away.”
For many, the idea of buying clothes that don’t exist is a conceptual leap too far.
But emerging digital fashion stores are benefiting from a growing market – not actual clothes but digitally generated clothes that simply store a customer’s photos or videos to be posted on Instagram and elsewhere.
Soon they will likely become a way to wear your avatar when interacting in online games and meeting places, all likely while lounging in sweatpants in your house.
British influencer Loftus sees so much potential that last month she gave up her job with a fashion consulting firm to devote herself full time to her website, This Outfit Does Not Exist.
Her Instagram shows off the potential for virtual clothing that doesn’t need to comply with the laws of physics – from a shimmering silver trouser suit with claws, to a wobbly pink creation with lasers shooting from her bust.
“Digital technology trumps physical,” Loftus said. “Kids ask each other, ‘What was your skin in this game yesterday?'” “
– Stupendous –
Brazilian model and influencer, Isabel Buimiki, is already an avid buyer of digital fashion.
Online, it is known as Isodope and combines haute couture with a serious commitment to clean energy and environmental activism.
Her mundane style fits neatly with her message.
“I wanted to do something eye-catching and daring. If my videos depicted me in a T-shirt and jeans, they wouldn’t have the same appeal,” Bhumiki told AFP.
“Models nowadays are free to share more about their personal lives and personalities. I’m a huge geek and love to express myself in different ways through fashion or makeup.”
This is demand, so supply is coming fast.
Clothing at digital fashion store DressX range from $25 to hats to exotic jellyfish-like dresses for hundreds of dollars.
“Every brand of the future will be digitally compatible,” said Daria Shapovalova, co-founder of DressX.
Her own research indicates that 15 percent of customers do this for Instagram posts, and nearly a quarter have found it fulfills their need for a new item of clothing.
“You don’t necessarily need fitness to experience the thrill of wearing extraordinary clothes,” said Michaela LaRose, of The Fabricant, which sold the first digital-only dress in May 2019 for $9,500.
“We will all have a digital avatar, we will have an avatar and you will be able to communicate something about yourself, who you are, and what you care about, by iterating your avatar.”
– Reduce waste –
Environmental concerns are also key to its appeal.
The traditional fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and generators of waste on the planet – a point made by the anti-Extinction Rebellion protesters who stormed the Louis Vuitton catwalk in Paris on Tuesday.
“I know many women who buy an outfit, wear it once for a photo shoot and not again,” Boemeke said.
“They can reduce consumption and waste by using the digital fashion of a few of these publications.”
The pandemic was an obvious accelerator for these companies.
“People were stuck at home with nothing to do,” Loftus said. “They had nowhere to wear those beautiful clothes.”
It’s clear that digital fashion isn’t for everyone yet – and it may never be.
“I don’t know if a lot of people who do these things online actually want to meet people in person,” Loftus said. “I think a lot of their needs and wants can be fulfilled online.”
It might also prove to be a great equalizing factor – a way for antisocial people (literally) to get off their skin and adopt another.
“You may be an accountant with a wife and kids, and you’re happy to be so ordinary in real life, but the way you want to express yourself in these virtual worlds is completely different,” she said.
© 2021 AFP