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Digital Fashion: Is screenwear the new streetwear?

"When producing a digital item of clothing, the carbon footprint is 95% lower than that of a tangible piece." Amber Blake takes a closer look at NFTs.

The future of fashion is changing. We are rapidly heading into a world where we're buying and selling digital commodities, just like we've been doing physically for millennia. The digital age has already propelled itself to become the most dominated market in history. We are seeing the de-materialisation of the fashion business for the very first time, and it's happening at an exponential rate. The fashion business is a $2.5 trillion industry, with $100 billion of that per year currently being spent on virtual goods.

Over recent years, the fashion industry and many others have made incredible steps to digitally transform themselves. Big fashion houses such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton have added NFTs to their product portfolios to attract and connect with consumers worldwide. With the fast-paced growth of social media, more and more of us are spending our time in the "Metaverse".

So, what are NFTs? Non-fungible means that something is unique. A non-fungible token is made up of individual units that are not interchangeable. These digital assets are traded on Blockchain, which allows the interchanging of ownerships, similar to purchasing shares on the stock market. The difference is that each NFT is unique, similar to high-value collectables such as art; there is only one of its kind as opposed to owning one share in a public company. If you buy or create an NFT, it cannot be replicated; therefore, you are the sole owner of the asset until you decide to sell it to another person. For example, you may have purchased a limited edition handbag from a high-end brand such as Chanel as an investment to sell on at a later date when its value has increased. You can now do this in the form of buying an NFT fashion item where you can still purchase a unique, high value, luxury item without the need for it to be physically produced and, in some cases, worth much, much more. NFTs allow artists, musicians, photographers and designers to monetise their creations by selling them directly to their fans - it can be anything digital, including text, art, videos and music.

"Digital clothing and fashion NFTs will change the future of fashion and support the vision of protecting our planet."

With almost 50% of all Instagram posts being fashion-related, NFTs could be the solution to the fast-fashion issue. The crisis is more problematic now that brands can reach their customers directly via social media platforms and advertise affordable, quick and relevant fashion, which is generally worn once to create content and is discarded ready for the next item on-trend.

Using the latest technologies in 3D software, companies such as DressX, The Fabricant and Tribute are creating digital clothing, i.e., clothing made of pixels. Some amazing options are available, from your basic logo print tee to a futuristic space-bound type outfit; you really can find anything your heart desires. Each retailer has a different concept for purchasing these digital wonders. For example, DressX's procedure is that you would send a photo of yourself (ensuring your image has your desired pose and backdrop for that like-worthy grid post), select the digital garment and send it on to their team of talented 3D digital designers, who will seamlessly fit the item of clothing to you on your photo. Once done, you can download it and post it straight to the gram.

Digital clothing and fashion NFTs will change the future of fashion and support the vision of protecting our planet. When producing a digital item of clothing, the carbon footprint is 95% lower than that of a tangible piece. However, there is quite a substantial amount of energy required to Mint and Mine NFTs, which is something industry experts are tirelessly working towards reducing as much as possible.

These digital garments are not just for photos on your social media accounts. Many use them to personalise their Avatars in online games, such as Roblox, Fortnight, Grand Theft Auto and The Sims. The gaming industry is one of the tech world's market giants, with an average of 3 billion people gaming every day. 46% of those gamers are women, so it's no surprise the leaders in the fashion market are tapping into this world. Some brands are now offering a digital item along with your physical purchase, allowing you and your ava-tar to both wear the latest Nike Jordan's, for example, thus enhancing your own unique digital identity that mirrors your real-world self.

During the pandemic, sales in digital fashion hit unprecedented highs. Brands have had to re-work their old business model and change it up at an accelerated rate to fit into the digital world in the absence of the physical one we all have known. Nike has created their own bespoke digital world called Nike Land with showrooms, pop-up shops and online events to showcase their latest products. Content creators have been able to produce new and exciting content for their followers without leaving the house or even getting out of their pyjamas.

Digital fashion is still very new to the masses. It will take time before it becomes mainstream. Still, with more brands joining the digital movement and increasing demand as people spend time locked into the Metaverse, I think we will be seeing a lot more of digital fashion moving forward.


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