After the pandemic, the fashion industry is slowly transforming from analog to digital. To continue to serve the digital requirements of the consumers, fashion brands are also adopting digital methods of prototyping, hence reducing waste and lead times, and streamlining physical production. Digital Fashion is one such solution that will help fashion brands as well as consumers to cope up with changing world. Let’s explore more about what it is, its benefits, challenges, and much more. 

Digital Fashion 

Digital Clothing or Digital Fashion is the production of clothes using pixels rather than textiles or fabrics. With the advent of social media, we see that millennials won’t wear outfits that were seen online. But with digital clothing, it is possible to minimize your wardrobe and present your digital self on social media with hundreds of new clothing items.  

The gaming industry is the one that has implemented digital fashion. In gaming, digital clothing is in the form of “skins”: outfits and weapons that decorate the in-game avatars. 

History of Digital Fashion 

A Scandinavian retailer, Carlings, introduced the world’s first digital-only clothing collection in 2018. They introduced a total of 19 pieces and sold each one of them at £9. Consumers provided a photo to Carlings and the 3D designers at the store edited the digital clothing onto the customer. It was a great success for Carlings. Later in 2019, the retailer introduced the first augmented reality graphic tee dubbed the “Last Statement T-Shirt.” 

This T-shirt uses Spark AR technology and a smartphone that can change the shirt’s graphic design. If you pair this shirt with custom filters of Instagram and Facebook, the shirt’s design will change. As per their website, you can display dozens of messages or designs without the need to buy another t-shirt.  

Source: Carlings 

Use Cases of Digital Fashion 

  • Gaming Industry – Digital Fashion is used in the gaming industry to purchase ‘skins’ for video games such as Fortnite. People will also have the opportunity to buy virtual SKUs for online gaming circles. 
  • Social Media – Digital Fashion enables people to acquire branded apparel for use on social media platforms like Snapchat. Social media freaks can choose personalized emoji service, Bitmoji with the use of Digital clothing. 

Benefits of Digital Fashion 

  • Digital Fashion is more sustainable 

All of us are aware that the Fashion Industry is the second-largest polluter in the world. The majority of the clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within less time of manufacturing. Digital clothing will help consumers experience their fast fashion desires without causing any harm to the environment. With digital clothing, you can reduce the waste generated during the design and sampling process. 

Large retailers like PUMA have partnered with The Fabricant to create a capsule collection ‘Day Zero’. TO run this campaign, PUMA created a digital proof of concept that eliminated the need for sampling, handling, traveling, and other logistics. After creating a perfect proof of concept, they produced and sold the physical product. 

  • Reduce production cost and time to market 

By adopting digital fashion manufacturers can reduce the cost of materials used in producing a physical product. For example, when PUMA implemented this process, their water usage was reduced by 17.4%. When all of the production processes are automated, it is obvious that the time to market the garment will reduce and the efficiency will increase.  

  • Anyone can wear Digital Clothing 

Digital fashion is for everyone irrespective of their body type, size, or gender. It completely follows the one size fits all approach. Digital clothing is universal.  

  • It opens the door for creative self-expression 

Digital designers need not face any barriers like gravity or physics as they are free to play around with materials and textures. Hence, they can be more creative in self-expression.  

Challenges of Digital Fashion 

  • Technology is yet to be completely advanced 

Digital fashion firms depend on their employees to fit a garment on the client’s photo and this process is not instantaneous. It takes hours to customize the digital clothing on the client’s photo. A more automated approach is required to implement the digital dressing process.  

  • It is expensive 

We, humans, undervalue digital garments and spend more on physical garments. As per a study, we want to pay $1 for a digital photo and pay $3 for a physical image. Another study depicts that we are willing to pay more for a physical copy of a book and lesser for the digital version of the same. Yes, it is a fact that digital clothing will not have that much impact on us as the physical garment. But digital garments are more sustainable and we have to start accepting this fact.  

Final Word 

Digital Fashion may sound like a bizarre idea for you now. But, think of the future when everything becomes digital. A few days earlier when we introduced the concept of calling our friends through our wristwatches, our parents felt it was a bizarre idea. Today, the truth is that we all are connected through smart watches across the globe. Although the world will not immediately accept digital clothing anytime sooner, we can create awareness among people. Hence, make the concept of digital clothing a realistic one.