As 2023 commences, fashion brands and consumers alike are shifting their focus to the next generation of digital integration in the industry. Here, we take a look at what’s in store for digital fashion’s ongoing growth.
What is Digital Fashion?
Digital fashion can be defined as assets that are designed, purchased, and experienced in a digital space through a screen or augmented reality. These assets can be recreations of existing goods or entirely original offerings.
Burberry Digital Clothing Collection in video game Minecraft
In 2020 and 2021, digital fashion was viewed as a fad. Since 2022, however, digital fashion has continued to pick up traction in the industry by brands such as Burberry, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Prada, and others.
The emergence of digital fashion added to the creative economy, removing the middleman between creator and network. This shift created a sense of community involvement within the creative industries. Additionally, digital fashion made its way into brand operations and activations as a result of the acceleration of technology post-pandemic. One example of this is fashion houses opting for digital showcasing of new collections, resulting in increased reach, lower environmental impact, and decreased production costs.
Prada Digital Fashion Show – The Show That Never Happened
Sustainability: Supply Chain Transparency & Circular Futures
As the second-biggest polluting industry in the world, fashion can make great strides to reduce its footprint by utilising the unique offerings of Web 3 and digital fashion.
One exciting example of this is the introduction of Digital IDs, or product passports, to luxury goods. Traditionally, a brand dismisses the product once it is purchased by the consumer. By embedding Digital IDs into products via a QR code, microchip, RFID (radio frequency identification), or NFC (near-field communication), brands will be held accountable for discarded products, and consumers will be able to prolong the lifespan of that single garment. Increased lifespan results from accurate product care and contribution to a circular economy through resale or up-cycling.
The features of a Digital ID include environmental impact reporting, product details, care instructions, and other facts. Most importantly, Digital IDs will flow seamlessly into the circular economy of fashion, allowing brands to track the post-life cycle of their products. Several companies have already integrated this technology into their products, including Chloé, LVMH, Levi Strauss & Co, Prada, and Hugo Boss..
Brand and Consumer Adaptations
A renaissance of digital fashion is on the rise. The future generation of fashion designers and creatives are largely reliant on technology and will likely start their careers in a digital space. As a result, brands and consumers must adapt to the evolving nature of technology in daily routines.
“Brands should be thinking about how to create digital, 3D renders of designs as soon as possible and thinking about how the brand’s ethos can be translated into the digital realm, including augmented reality, because metaverse strategies only make sense when they are both representative of the brand and speak to the specific audience in each metaverse space or platform.” – The Vogue Business Index
The concept of non-physical garments in a digital sphere may confuse or scare stakeholders. However, fear is often a result of the unknown. As the year progresses, digital fashion will prove itself to be more than hype. Rather, it is a new pillar in the industry that fosters unlimited access to creativity and self-expression.
By Chloé Janssen – MA Luxury Brand Strategy & Business