Would you pay $9,500 for a virtual garment you can’t wear in real life? The world’s first piece of digital couture was sold for that exact amount! If this is the first time you’re hearing about digital fashion, it definitely won’t be the last. Given the rise of the Metaverse and more people adopting virtual reality, digital fashion designers and virtual clothing are seriously shaking up the future of the industry. If you’re new to the Metaverse, don’t worry, we’ve got you! Brush up here on some of the commonly used terminologies.
What is digital fashion?
Digital fashion is 3D-designed, virtual clothing made with both humans and our digital avatars in mind. Instead of using physical fabric and textiles, digital clothes are designed on 3D computer software to be worn by your online avatars or edited onto your body using augmented reality. Virtual fashion is emerging as the most practical way to ethically and sustainably create clothing samples before producing final products. Brands all over the world starting to adopt this method to reduce textile waste, including locally in Singapore.
Avatars and online users aside, brands can consider switching to computerised fashion design over the traditional pen on paper method to create not only accurate digital samples that shorten production timelines, but also reduce wastage and help with sustainable fashion production.
Why buy digital fashion?
- Apart from gaming and dressing virtual avatars, digital fashion is a practical option for you to showcase your style online. Using augmented reality and artificial intelligence, you can fit and wear the piece on your body. You might have used digital wardrobe apps before to plan your #OOTD, it’s time to take it one step further.
- Digital-only garments can also assure a perfect fit for all body types. Designers can alter the digital outfits to suit different body shapes—who doesn’t love finding their size available for all designs?
- Virtual garments give you freedom to wear fur and leather without guilt. Want your dress to change colour when you twirl or light up in flames when you walk? There are no limitations when it comes to digital fashion; the world is your oyster!
Digital fashion technology can help make brands more sustainable
- You skip the sampling part of the garment making process entirely, thus considerably reducing fabric and paper wastage. Designs are then directly draped onto the avatar digitally, on specialised 3D fashion softwares, to see how it falls and flows, before sending it out to produce the final pieces.
- Brands can understand customers better, respond to market trends and tailor their products to suit their needs.
- Common 3D fashion programs like Blender, Browzwear VStitcher and CLO3D are easily accessible to designers across the world. From fabrics that cannot be sourced physically to structurally impossible silhouettes, all you need is a computer at home to create designs that know no bounds.
Upcoming digital fashion brands you should know about
Singapore-based digital clothing brand Republiqe is a notable name in the world of virtual fashion. Led by founder James Gaubert, their aim is to find a creative and sustainable alternative to a physical wardrobe. They’re a fully digital fashion brand that offers a range of ridiculously luxurious and eclectic pieces. They code digital fashion collections and auction off NFT garments.
To purchase a design, all you need to do is submit pictures of yourself on the Republiqe website and select your favourite virtual garment. After checking out, their team will get to work fitting the clothes onto the best suited image. You are then sent a completed image, which is bound to gain you a lot of likes on social media! Wearing the trendiest luxe pieces in the online fashion world while doing no harm to the environment, sounds like a win-win.
Always digital, never physical — true to The Fabricant’s motto, the digital fashion house operates at the intersection of fashion and technology to fabricate digital couture and fashion experiences. Apart from the occasional sale and auctions, The Fabricant supplies its outfits in free-file-drops for customers to use on 3D applications like CLO3D and Marvelous Designer.
Their recent campaign, a collaboration with WOW (World of Women), is an effort to make Web3.0 more diverse and fashionable. You can shop from a unique collection of NFTs created by women and also co-create with them! The platform also now carries a variety of items like intricate digital headpieces and celebrity collaborations. Heard of Seismic before? This digital couture piece was designed exclusively by the Fabricant team for Vogue Singapore.
Innovation, sustainability and immersive design are the keywords behind the evolution of Auroboros as a luxury fashion house in the metaverse. The founder duo — Paula Sello and Alissa — were the first to showcase a digital ready-to-wear collection at a major fashion week in London. They create physical couture that references the natural world while existing only digitally. The brand’s 14-piece Biomimicry Collection, showing at LFW, is sold on their website, on fashion game Drest and on DressX marketplace for £100-450. When someone makes a purchase, they send in a photo and Auroboros digitally tailors the item to their body shape and size.
A multi-brand digital fashion startup, DRESSX offers digital-only collections made by brands and 3D designers from around the globe. They also offer ‘influencer marketing campaign’ packages for brands, to promote giving their influencers digital clothes, rather than physical clothes. You can wear purchased NFTs to serve digital looks applied in Augmented Reality and make videos, take pictures. Their mobile app makes it easy to share these across socials. Talk about content creation made easy and sustainable!
Revolutionising the contemporary fashion realm with computer technology, XR Couture gives you the chance to shop from a pool of multidisciplinary designer collections which align with your sustainability values. The brand carries surrealistic collections of digital dresses, footwear, and accessories to shop from. You can wear these pieces in a digital space, Metaverse, games, in AR/VR and more.
For the perfect digital fashion image, follow a photo and fitting guide to upload a high-quality picture on which the digital outfits would be worn.
An integrative project set in the Metaverse, MasionDAO focuses on digital fashion streetwear and art. Their VR wardrobe allows you to scan yourself and download an avatar to dress it in the latest trends of digital fashion from the digital and physical world, which you can then export to use in other social and game spaces. By becoming an owner of an Artland, a member of MaisonDAO, you can host your own art exhibitions, music events and fashions shows in the metaverse. This helps communities share art spaces with each other and collaborate.
An avid storyteller, Ananya is passionate about the future of ethical and accessible virtual fashion. You can find her having a ball of a time experimenting with natural dyes and digital prints!