digital fashion company

A woman standing in a green meadow. She is wearing an iridescent fabric dress that appears to be blown by the wind. The iridescent surface of the dress gives the impression that it is made of a soap bubble. You won’t find anything like it in any retail store in the world. And certainly not in the cupboard. What sets apart the so-called “Iridescence” dress that Richard Ma gave his wife Mary Raine is not only its shape, but also the fact that Mary Raine never wore it on her skin. The dress, which cost 8,000 euros and was designed by digital fashion company The Manufacturer, only exists in the digital world. To slide, it took a photo montage. It went viral in 2019. Ma, managing director of a California security firm, believes the investment has been particularly sustainable and, according to BBC News, is confident that “in ten years everyone will be wearing digital fashion.” .

In fact, digital fashion is no longer a luxury experience. Virtual props are at least a part of many people’s daily lives – just think of hats, crowns or glasses that you can filter on your Instagram or Snapchat photo. So-called “skins”, virtual clothing that you wear on your character, are popular in the gaming industry. They do not bring additional benefit to the game in question. However, they are coveted enough to be a business model: Louis Vuitton, for example, designed the skins for “League of Legends” in 2019 and “Final Fantasy” in 2021, and Burberry and Balenciaga followed suit.

Digital looks should inspire followers

The idea has great potential for the future – this is also the opinion of Judith Brakem and Lukas Stupbe from the University of Hamburg. In their research project “Virtual Accessories”, the art history students tackle all aspects of intangible clothing. Already today it is possible to send a photo or video of yourself to the company in question, which uses a graphics program to mount a garment on it. One of those companies is DressX, where you can get earrings or hats starting at $ 1. More complex parts cost more. The main areas of the app are social media, in order to impress subscribers with a new look.

In addition, the wardrobe in which we can evolve in digital spaces is already being studied. Their carriers are avatars, as they were primarily used in the past in computer generated movies and video games. The fashion world is already sending such creatures to the bottom of the catwalks. Perhaps the most famous example is Miquela Souza, also known as Lil Miquela on Instagram. The issue was created in 2016 by the American startup Brud. Sousa was fitted as a model by luxury brands like Prada or Moncler. On Instagram, the fictional character provides around three million people with a regular glimpse into his “life.” Intermediary agencies like Mutantboard or The Digital are virtual models, some posters use dolls like these to present their collections in videos, like Marc Cain at the beginning of the year.

Advantages and disadvantages of intangible clothing

What appears to be an unnecessary gimmick has some advantages, first of all: durability. Because a garment that does not need to be sewn, dyed or posted is not harmful to the environment. Signs of wear such as holes, cracks or stains are a thing of the past. In addition, the dressing room does not need to be functional, for example, you do not need to take into account comfort and weather resistance. “Digital fashion is something that’s happening a lot right now, which describes or influences moods and serves as an expression of personality,” says Judith Brakem. “And it works more powerfully in virtual space.” One of the reasons for this is that the laws of materialism do not apply: “For example, I can walk in the clouds,” says Judith Brachim, “or wear something that changes color. Stübbe adds: “The possibilities of accentuating one’s personality with clothes are actually limited by the wearer. »With intangible clothing, you can experience your identity more precisely and without limits.

Brachem and Stübbe also see a danger in this: after all, there is a danger of getting lost in unreal worlds, especially if a specially created avatar is dressed. “It also becomes important when you start to compare the virtual world to the real world,” says Stübbe. Because compared to computer-generated perfection and the diversity of imaginary possibilities, reality rarely stands a chance.

It doesn’t exist – at least not in the real world: Rtfkt brand sneakers are single-use digital shoes that cannot be copied or traded. © Quelle: Fewo World

Expensive sneakers as unique digital items

In addition to the visible reasons, the value of the complex also plays a major role in some rooms. For example, the Rtfkt brand sold over 600 pairs of virtual sneakers for a total of $ 3.1 million in March 2021. Each pair was created as a non-fungible token, or NFT for short. NFTs are protected objects that cannot be copied or traded – once digital.

“Especially with Gen Z and Gen X, life online is increasing. In addition, for example, virtual reality glasses are becoming more and more accessible to everyone, ”explains Brashim. Immerse yourself in unreal worlds becomes more realistic. Brachem and his research partner Stübbe currently see the virtual experience as the first big step in this direction, where a garment is tried on online and then ordered in a real version, as has already been possible with some eyewear manufacturers. “But we can very well imagine that life will move more to virtual space in the future,” says Stübbe. Meeting friends, taking classes – all of these might soon be enough to wear pixel-appropriate clothing.

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