Our world and especially its modern integral component the Internet never stop to surprise me. While swimming through the sea of different web-pages and doing online shopping at the same time (multitasking says hi) I practically stumbled upon a weird but also intriguing part of the digital world, which made me\ close my shopping pages (sorry, Asos, I’ll come back later! Or was it Ali?). It was the site selling digital clothing. Have you even heard about it?
The idea of virtual fashion doesn’t seem odd anymore after the first wave of COVID-19. All major fashion houses could no longer organize their classic catwalks and shows, so they replaced them with online ones or started making short videos with their newest collections. Though even this cringy content is still pretty chill in comparison with the new born cyber-fashion. The main concept behind digital clothing is that exists only in the Internet world and will never have a physical appearance in the tangible reality, to which all of us are used to. You can see it but will never be able to touch it. At first I thought it is some kind of a Pandora box, but it turns out there are designers of digital clothing everywhere and even in remote and smallish cities like Ufa in Russia (good luck finding it on the map).
One of the biggest and most famous brands in cyber fashion is The Fabricant which is surprisingly (or not?) an Amsterdam-based digital fashion house. The company’s website shows collections which are in stock right now (like with the real clothes where if the piece is sold it is sold and won’t be offered again). There are even free clothes downloads, which you can customize yourself, but then it will also take more time and understanding of 3D models if you would like to add it to your photo or avatar.
The process of using this type of clothing is not that complicated: you buy a piece of clothing at the designer’s website, send in your photo in tight-fitting clothes and in a day or two the company will send you your photo back with you in your new clothes and voilà! You can use it how you want. Mostly people use such beautified photos on social media, for example, their Instagram pics. Isn’t it a brilliant idea? You don’t need to go anywhere and try something on because digital pieces will fit great anyway and you will be the most fashionable personae imaginable.
Clients who use such services also say that it is simply a great way to instantly feel fabulous and look beautiful. In passing it also boosts self-confidence (of those who are still insecure because they have been busy choosing fake clothes instead of taking online seminars on how to build self-esteem).
Though digital fashion definitely has a real benefit, it is its effect on ecology. Designers use no fabric, furniture, etc. Having only virtual items saves a lot of resources be it water or electricity and helps our planet stay alive longer! So I may have to reconsider my skeptical attitude.
Now the whole thing doesn’t sound too creepy anymore, right? The only question here is if society is already ready for this type of service and how it will really fit if you can only wear it in your gadgets?
When I started reading this blog I felt a bit sceptical about this idea of virtual clothes. Why not rather buy an actual coat or dress? However, like you said, within the current situation (where people are mostly at home and no one is actually able to see what you are wearing), a virtual piece of clothing might be very useful. There you are, sitting at home in your sweatpants, posting an Instagram photo of yourself in the cutest dress, without having to actually wear it. Within the fashion industry especially, I think this idea is very useful; you can try out different designs easily without having to physically make them, which can reduce a lot of waste. Even though I am definitely going to check out how exactly these virtual clothing items work, I think for now I will still prefer purchasing physical items 🙂
I think your blogpost might just inspire me for my’ future digital prediction’ presentation.
But what I wanted to share is another way of clothing digitalization. Smart clothing, just like smartwatches, but not that clever. The market for smart clothes is actually quite significant. There are electronic blankets that warm you up (I might or might not have just purchased one). But cream de la cream of smart wear is a joint project of Levi’s and Google. They created a denim jacket with electronics placed under the fabric. The coat can be wirelessly connected to a smartphone, therefore being touch-controlled. By patting and stroking the sleeve, you can change the volume of music, remove notifications, use quick answers to calls and messages, and manage your Navigator. So far, the set of functions is not that grand as smartwatches, but the field of possibilities is endless.
Thank you for introducing me to this new kind of fashion consumption! I have never heard of it before and I find it is quite an interesting phenomenon. Especially in these times in which influencers rule the social media platforms in the most fashionable outfits that are often worn only once, I think it would be a good opportunity to introduce them to brands as The Fabricant as well. As you already mentioned, this concept of cyber-fashion can be one of the (minor) solutions to our global warming issue. I am wondering whether it will actually become normal to buy cyber-fashion and use it on your social media platforms, but maybe in four years or so, we will see it on a regular basis.
This is so cool 🙂 What I love about these designs is that they’re very innovative – I’m not sure if it’s even possible to replicate these garments in real life. I think that would be the most interesting part of these digital garments, offer something that cannot be real. It can push boundaries that would otherwise be limited by physics. However, I do wonder to what extent this will curb the desire for “real” clothes, to what extent this fulfils the “fantasy” that some people get from putting on clothes. I believe fashion can have a transformative effect on how people feel – not just in the moment of the picture, but throughout the day. Obviously, it is nice to see a picture of yourself where you’re wearing cool clothes – but I feel like there would be a lack of authenticity, similar to using filters to make your skin look better. And just as people are still trying to improve their skin in order to match these filters, to look the way they think they are supposed to look, people will still continue to buy physical clothes for the same reason.