Last fall, when Mark Zuckerberg introduced us to Meta as the next step in social experience, many people initially refused to understand this world. However, this new universe, which challenges understanding and perception with concepts such as blockchain, NFTs, metaverse, and virtual or augmented reality, has somehow become a part of every conversation. Believing in the potential of people, especially younger generations, to spend more time and money, i.e. cryptocurrency, in this world of augmented reality and dreams, the fashion industry has changed course towards these developments. And here we are, fast introduced to the concept of digital fashion where the Web 3.0 technology meets fashion. Virtual fashion shows, collections promoted with avatar models, “phygital” fashion weeks, and Louis Vuitton’s metaverse ambassador as recently announced by LVMH —what these have in common is that they exist in the digital realm. This is the most crucial thing about digital fashion, as implied by its name. That it’s digital. Similar to NFTs in many aspects, digital fashion has many areas of use on various platforms. Buyers of digital fashion products can use them on their photographs or avatars within the metaverse.
WHY DIGITAL FASHION?
Radical changes have been long overdue in the fashion industry which creates 20% of global waste, sending nearly 40 billion tons waste to be eliminated at landfills, and causes more emissions than the annual total of sea and air travels. Despite the use of recycled or organic materials, physical fashion consumes a serious amount of water without offering a long-term solution for sustainability. Digital clothing, on the other hand, is completely eco-friendly and can be enjoyed without causing pollution. For instance, an average of 3,300 litres of water are saved per piece for the production of a digital fabric. This is equivalent to an individual drinking two litres of water for 3.5 years. Opening the doors to a limitless world in terms of creativity in addition to sustainability, digital fashion provides visibility for couture and statement pieces you dare not wear in daily life, without putting a strain on your budget.
Upon their research, Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova realised that 9% of their customers in developed countries purchase new clothing only to share them on social media and founded their digital fashion platform DressX in 2020. The Los Angeles-based start-up may share our passion and admiration for fashion yet it also believes that production and consumption in fashion needs reduction, even a fundamental transformation. Born of this idea, DressX is the world’s first multi-brand fashion platform. Offering an experience similar to online shopping in many aspects, DressX differs from them with its checkout process. After selecting products, instead of shipping you the product, the platform asks you to send the photograph in which you wish to be seen wearing it. All you need to do is to select a photograph and complete payment; within a few days, you receive an email with the picture. The DressX platform, which has recently gained popularity, also includes striking pieces from the brand Sudi Etuz in Turkey.
Marjorie Hernandez and Karinna Nobbs are the co-founders of The Dematerialised which brings together the Web 3.0 technology with the digital fashion ecosystem. Although it’s still in beta phase, the platform has future potential and is supported by Lukso blockchain. Here, similar to DressX, customers can examine the products and fabrics in a three-dimensional virtual space and try them on their photographs through extensions. However, The Dematerialised carries it one step further and defines purchased products to the customer's wallet as an NFT. Thus, customers can dress their avatar with this product in the metaverse and display or sell it on other digital platforms. Thus, the product may not be physically worn but gains different areas of use in the virtual world. Here’s how co-founder Karinna Nobbs explains it: “There’s a lot to be done in the industry because it’s still very new. However, digital fashion and NFTs have such a huge potential that conventional fashion will have to move towards the new trend and to improve, which will be better for everyone.”