Many women have probably had at least one girlfriend who would buy a dress and hide the tag so that she could wear it one night and then return it the next day. And many people like to keep up with the latest fashion trends.
Imagine for a moment that you could be photographed wearing the latest fashion brands and hottest trends. Well, with the rise of digital fashion, that is now a reality. What’s more, the latest trends in digital clothing and fashion design can help to significantly reduce the fashion industry’s huge carbon footprint. But what do we mean by digital fashion, and how does it work?
The Rise of Digital Fashion
It’s no secret that the fashion industry is a critical driver of the global economy. Still, it can be a tricky industry where one’s failure to get on board with the latest trends can mean the downfall of a fashion brand.
As a major contributor to the carbon emissions fueling global climate change, the fashion industry has also been under considerable pressure to embrace sustainability to help reduce its carbon footprint. However, with the growing popularity of fast fashion, where major fashion brands often release more than one collection each week, sustainability seemed like an unreachable goal.
While the fashion industry had been working on sustainability solutions in recent years, the onset of the global pandemic forced the issue of moving to digital fashion platforms. Toward that end, companies like DIGITALAX have produced digital design laboratories and streamlined hybrid digital fashion supply chains using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain. They are also onboarding major brands into digital fashion, which allows them to recognize and tackle the newest fashion trends.
Fashion shows are getting in on the action too. In October of 2020, the Lakmé Fashion Week went to a digital format for the first-ever virtual fashion show. They utilized a digital platform that was specially designed for this event.
These examples illustrate how the fashion industry is embracing digital fashion and how that can offer solutions well into the future, but what exactly do these technologies do?
Digital Clothing Design Solutions
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fashion industry faced unprecedented challenges that halted entire supply chains and posed a real threat to the survival of many major brands. In response to the crisis, many fashion brands initiated several improvements to help speed up the time it takes to get their garments to market and implement more sustainable innovations in core product design, manufacturing, and supply chains.
The resulting digital trends that they used created a major transformation in the fashion industry. It’s now called ‘fash tech,’ and it’s the intersection of fashion with digital technology.
One of the major digital trends today is digital clothing. Digital design laboratories allow for the purely digital creation of designs, reducing the negative impact on the environment by some 95 percent for each garment that fashion companies would have physically created. These can be used in the physical garment industry to create digital prototypes to reduce the negative environmental impact of creating physical ones.
Additionally, digital designs can also be the end product, as seen with DIGITALAX. What DIGITALAX has done is allow for collaboration between artists/designers, suppliers, and customers. The designer creates individual digital textures and patterns. These designs are then issued NFTs, which are unique identifiers that are virtually hack-proof.
The digital design’s NFT is linked to a parent garment NFT that allows multiple designers to utilize the same parent garment for different texture and pattern creations. Customers can then purchase those garments with individualized designs using their own unique NFTs.
Purely digital clothing does not result in a physical product. It is growing in popularity because it enables consumers to be seen in an image wearing the latest trends from the major fashion brands, and of course, it allows virtual reality gamers to buy skins for their avatars, all of which happens without the purchase of an actual physical garment.
Online influencers and other consumers simply purchase the design they want and upload an image of themselves which is then fitted with the digital garment, or in the case of gamers, their avatar is fitted with the skin. Once that is accomplished, they’re ready to post it on their social media platforms or use it in their online gaming experience.
Additionally, designers can use clothing design software to allow consumers to design their own apparel. By using 3D fashion design software, customers can create their trends, enhancing their consumer experience.
Online Influencers and Fashion Trends
Another change that has happened recently in the fashion industry is the development of digital marketplaces specializing in lifestyle traffic. Previously — and still on many platforms — you would browse your favorite influencer, be that a blogger or a fashion magazine, and then you would have to search for the best price and buy the garments separately, one item at a time.
With the rise of digital marketplaces specializing in lifestyle traffic, major fashion brands pay to link consumers to their products directly from the influencer’s platform. That saves them time and makes their purchases more efficient. It also helps boost the traffic for the influencers, given the ease of the consumer experience.
Digital Fashion and Social Media
Another area where digital transformation has changed the way the fashion industry does business is that of social media. Many major fashion brands have recognized the importance of digital platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Facebook for their bottom line.
Social media platforms like Facebook now allow major fashion brands to directly communicate with their potential customers via apps that facilitate their connection. Consumers can buy items directly on the social media platform or download another app that will allow them to explore the full collection.
These e-commerce changes have significantly impacted independent fashion brands that can more readily reach their audience and grow their consumer base. Moreover, the social media platforms will make recommendations based on user activity. Thus, once they show an interest in a particular brand, they receive information on other items or similar fashion brands.
When you think about sustainability, e-commerce represents another way that the fashion industry is reducing its carbon footprint. Many major fashion brands are closing brick-and-mortar stores in favor of purely digital platforms for selling their fashion lines. That means less electricity is used to keep a store open and another reduction in carbon emissions results given that the consumer doesn’t have to drive to the store.
These changes are a big step in the right direction, but will the digital revolution in the fashion industry last, or will it simply go away once life returns to normal in a post-pandemic world?
The Future of Digital Fashion
There is no doubt that the fashion industry is experiencing a major digital transformation, and those fashion brands that fail to embrace these changes are likely to fade away and fail eventually. While there will always be a market for physical garments, the use of hybrid digital design laboratories for prototypes, NFTs and blockchain technology to safely revolutionize the e-commerce marketplace and the production of purely digital fashion is helping to reduce the fashion industry’s carbon footprint.
With the emergence of the metaverse that will result in a more seamless union of the physical and virtual realities, digital clothing and digital fashion design trends is the wave of the future. To survive, fashion brands will have to incorporate digital trends to make the customer’s e-commerce experience much more convenient.
To Sum It All Up
While in an ideal world, the fashion industry (and others) would do what’s suitable for the environment and their workers, the reality is that consumers will ultimately decide the fate of the newest trends. Given the emphasis on sustainability in our modern world combined with an enhanced consumer experience in the digital marketplace, the digital transformation in the fashion industry will become the most common way for consumers to experience the latest fashion trends.
There will always be a need to produce physical garments and consumers who prefer a physical purchasing experience. Still, with digital fashion design platforms like DIGITALAX and the advent of digital marketplaces specializing in lifestyle traffic, those who prefer the online marketplace and digital clothing will have better experiences available to them.
The two fashion production methods are not mutually exclusive; they can coexist and work together to produce the optimal experience for the consumer and a reduction in the negative environmental impacts of the fashion industry. This new digital ecosystem is not something to be feared; instead, it is something to be leveraged.