Virtual fashion and cyber closets may sound far out but the reality is that our futuristic fashion days are on our doorstep. Zanele Kumalo chats about clothing that lives exclusively in digital form, or at least at first.
We’re headed close to two years of living in the ether, having put our best Zooms forward and become experts at swapping window shopping for onscreen shopping.
Luxury has naturally responded by also turning cyber. First, Gucci let fashion lovers around the world try on special designs and collections using augmented reality. All you needed to do was download the app and use their Try-On feature, where you could shop eyewear, hats and sneakers (some of which may not even have hit your favourite store yet), and snap yourself in your favourite look to share on social media.
Tommy Hilfiger featured a digital showroom to sell clothes before they were even made in real life and have been working on substituting models with avatars. According to Vogue Business, Chief Executive of Tommy Hilfiger Daniel Grieder says that the next revolution will be training AI models to behave like existing top models, which they can send out to other companies and dress in digital clothes.
As a nod to Instagram culture and the rise in popularity of online gaming and e-sports, Louis Vuitton dressed Qiyana, “a star of the multiplayer online battle-arena game League of Legends” as Vogue describes her, in a limited-edition virtual outfit called a skin. Louis Vuitton went on to release a complementary collection in real life.
But could pixels really replace textiles? It certainly sounds more sustainable at first consideration.
Forbes reports that The Fabricant has already sold the world’s first digital only blockchain couture for almost R150 000 making it both clothing and (crypto) currency. Dubbed a “unique garment”, the digital fashion house describes it as a “traceable, tradeable and collectible piece of digital art”. Other brands are also offering contactless garments that you can post yourself in on your social media accounts, helping to shrink landfills.
Soon, we should also be able to create our own avatars much like we have memojis, not to represent our emotions or to help us try before we buy, but to help build cyber closets that are less cluttered than our physical ones.
Words: Zanele Kumalo