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A Lightricks Blog by Team Facetune

Digital Fashion: Everything You Need to Know for 2022

by Facetune Team / November 19, 2021

You’re a little bored. Scrolling TikTok and Instagram looking for something — anything — to do. You check to see if your friends have posted new Snapchat stories, and pause to admire how cute your Bitmoji is.

You decide to change her outfit because it’s getting cold out and she’s still in summer gear. Should you go sporty or stylish? Nike has some cute options, but you finally decide on a nautical Ralph Lauren pantsuit. It’s something you’d never buy IRL, and if you did, it would get worn maybe once.

Welcome to digital fashion. While Bitmoji style has a cartoonish feel, in the world of digital fashion for humans, the outfits you purchase aren’t real but will definitely look like they are.

How Does Digital Fashion Work?

The process is pretty simple. Basically, you purchase a digital garment from a retailer and upload a picture of yourself in which you’d like to be “wearing” your garment. A team of artists and technical designers then work to “fit” the clothing to your image. Once that’s done, they send it back for you to post wherever, and you rack up the likes.

The fitting part is still a bit of a work in progress. While digital fashion is a sustainable way to do fast fashion, it isn’t an immediate process yet. It can take 3-5 hours to create a garment, followed by the task of fitting the piece so it drapes just right and doesn’t look like, well, a Snapchat filter. 

In other words, depending on how popular this trend becomes, you could be looking at a wait time to get those photos back, sis. The end goal is automation, making it more scalable for businesses, but the technology simply isn’t there yet. With advancements in AI and 3D augmented realities, you can be sure this process will get more and more streamlined as the trend catches on.

 

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A post shared by The Fabricant (@the_fab_ric_ant)

Gamers Lewk

This idea of digital fashion isn’t entirely new. For years, gamers have been building their avatars, including curating their outfits and accessories. Your BF is probably buying “skins” on Fortnight as we speak, with huge brands like Nike and Gucci taking their cut. The Sims recently partnered with ASOS, and many other games are following suit.

But in the world of legit fashion, digitizing is still a newish idea. One of the first-ever digital fashion houses, The Fabricant, releases a monthly outfit that is free to download, but not so easy to apply. This, too, is about to change with more accessible e-commerce platforms getting in on the idea.

Dress-X, a startup founded by Daria Shopovalova and Natalia Modenova, is one such example and the first of its kind. The startup houses various brands that are more affordable for regular people and uses a team to fit the garment to your photo. It’s a blend of techies and artists that will have you looking like a snack on your Insta feed. To get a realistic “fit,” owners prioritize hiring those with garment-cutting and clothing construction backgrounds, in addition to technical skills.

Why Digital Fashion?

With Gen Z spending a huge amount of time in online communities, we’ve created more than one digital persona on social media and gaming platforms. Taken to the next level, we’ve got Instagram celeb Lil Miquela, a 19-year-old robot, who exists only within the digital realm.

 

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A post shared by Miquela (@lilmiquela)

It’s an idea that can blow a Boomer’s mind, and it’s increasing the demand for fashion used solely for digital content creation. Actually owning or handling a physical garment is unneeded, and excessive. Periodt.

With marketers thirsty to use influencer status for their brands, a lot of clothes go to waste. It is not an accident that digital couture is becoming big. Insta celebs are often given outfits for free, and after they are photographed wearing them once, they’re never worn again. For a while, those unworn garments will sit patiently in the dark recesses of a closet, but eventually, they end up in a landfill somewhere. Big yikes.

It’s not just celebrities, either. Shoppers spend billions on holiday clothes each year, and millions of those garments get thrown away. By 2050, waste from the clothing industry could account for a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions. This is more than air and sea travel combined, and younger generations are taking a more proactive stance.

In 2019, environmental activists disrupted the status quo of London fashion week, demanding the event be canceled. It wasn’t, of course, but some top designers have since pulled out of London and Paris due to the serious lack of change. 

Gradually, the fashion industry is beginning to evolve and adapt. An up-and-comer in the Fashion Week world, Copenhagen, has paved the way for environmentally-friendly fashion before it was even en vogue. In 2020, they gave designers a three-year window to clean up their acts. If the designers don’t meet sustainability requirements within those three years, they won’t be able to take part in the industry event. Harsh, but needed.

With increasing pressure from the public and industry insiders, digital fashion promises to be an impactful solution. From the creation standpoint, digital clothing allows for a reduction in resource and textile waste. From a consumption stance, the impact is virtually zero (pun intended). That’s a total W.

 

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A post shared by TRIBUTE BRAND (@tribute_brand)

Pandemic Problems

With an uncertain future where potential lockdowns loom and people are opting to stay in anyhow, what’s the point of real clothing? Even if the die-hard shopaholics are still buying everything, there’s been a shift toward high-quality, lifetime garments, rather than cheap, throwaway pieces. 

Obviously, real clothes aren’t going to disappear forever — at least not until we upload our souls into Elon Musk’s simulation — but the fashion biz will need to get inventive in times of uncertainty. If and when things return to normal, the digital market will merely provide designers and brands an extra source of revenue. It seems fitting that fashion, which has always embodied innovation and popular interests, will merge with digital trends. 

The Tea on Accessibility

While there will always be levels of exclusivity in any buyer’s market, digital modes have made the fashion world slightly more accessible to the average gal. Don’t expect to sit front row next to Anna Wintour at Fashion Week, but you and your besties can now throw streaming parties for live runway events that were once hyper-exclusive.

As digital clothes evolve, it could be an opportunity for wannabes to present high-style pics, without ever owning or actually wearing a couture piece — which could come at a discount.

Or not. The Fabricant of Amsterdam recently sold the first-ever piece of digital couture at a charity auction for $9,500 dollars on the Ethereum blockchain. Shut. The front. Door. If the whole crypto thing has got you confused, well, this isn’t that kind of article, but just know that digital threads have the potential to double as fashion and cryptocurrency.

Style Trends

Advances in technology are making it possible for the weird, wild, and creative to happen. Things we never even dared to dream are just a click or swipe away and this includes design creation. Fashion designers can now make outfits that defy the laws of physics. Look hot in a lava dress without even singeing your split ends. Get draped in ice chunks or large shards of metal — no need to worry about how you’re going to sit down.

 

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A post shared by DRESSX (@dressx)

Reminiscent of video games, much of the first-line digital collections have a futuristic, fantastical feel. Think: apocalypse-ravaged worlds, advanced civilizations, fairy lands, and old kingdoms.

Here’s some of what you can expect:

Iridescence

Digital designers love them some iridescence.

Imagine this: Planet Earth has been destroyed and your people have sought refuge on a cold planet just outside our solar system. Natives to this place are adorned in materials that defy logic, and look snatched! Everything is iridescent, with luminous colors that change and shape-shift. You could get used to this.

 

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A post shared by DRESSX (@dressx)

Sci-Fi/Romantic

Reflecting 2021 trends of mix-and-match, style-building is all about combining unlike elements. Unique combinations of cut, fabric, time period, and print can be seen all over runways. In digital land, this is no different. You’ll see sharp, edgy cuts for sci-fi-inspired pieces coupled with soft, romantic fabrics that have a cottagecore appeal. 

Login: It’s the year 2220, and you roam a post-apocalyptic Earth with your family, looking for resources and other people who wish to rebuild. You have to use what you can find for clothing, but somehow you manage to look sexy and feminine. There are times you have to fight neighboring overlords who are here for shady and unknown reasons. They always look polished, and untouchable. On this day, you stumble upon an old box of clothing in an abandoned warehouse. You pull out beautiful fabrics that remind you of tales the elders tell about earth peoples from long ago.

 

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A post shared by DRESSX (@dressx)

Accessorize Vibes

Shoes and accessories are a great way to dabble in digital with some designers like Happy99 merging digital assets with real-life outfits. Like garments, many of the accessory pieces tend to have a futuristic look.

Year 2060: You’ve been chosen as one of the first to colonize Mars. With swift environmental efforts, Earth has been saved and is thriving. With ever-advancing technology, Earth’s reach is expanding into the cosmos and you’ve won a prized ticket to begin a new life on the red planet.

Step one: Get new shoes. Gravity is not as strong on Mars, so you’ll need big, heavy ones.

 

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A post shared by DRESSX (@dressx)

Normie Looks

In a world where we are bound by certain laws, many of the looks are playful and whimsical. For now, trends are amplified on the digital platform, but there are still some very normallooking outfits to be found.

 

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A post shared by DRESSX (@dressx)

As digital fashion becomes more commonplace, so will the trends.

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