Friday, October 8, 2021

Clothes That Don’t Even Exist

The online metaverse is already here and like it or not, we're certainly going to continue spending more time in virtual worlds. But one question pops up: What are you going to wear? 

For most people, the idea of buying clothes that don’t exist is a conceptual leap too far. 

Introducing digital clothing, the latest fashion trend.

Digital clothing isn’t made of fabric or anything tangible. The garments are made from pixels rather than textiles, using computer technologies and 3D software. It means you’ll never wear an item of digital clothing in real life. 

Instead, you can browse an online selection of digital clothes and order something you like. Depending on the retailer, you can either send a picture of yourself to a team of 3D designers who will digitally fit the item of clothing on your photo, or you can download and manipulate the files yourself using 3D software, so it’s ready to post on Instagram and elsewhere. 

Soon it’ll likely become a way to dress your avatar when interacting in online games and meeting places, all potentially while reclining in sweat pants in your own home.

British influencer 27-year-old Daniella Loftus (right) sees so much promise that last month she gave up her job with a fashion consultancy to devote herself full-time to her website, This Outfit Does Not Exist.

Her Instagram shows the potential of virtual clothing that doesn’t need to obey the laws of physics – from a shimmering silver liquid pant suit with tentacles, to a wobbling pink creation with lasers firing out of her bustier. 

“Within the digital world, we can go completely crazy. We can wear a dress made of water or have lights everywhere and change your textile according to your mood”, says Amber Slooten, the co-founder of The Fabricant, which sold the first ever digital-only dress in May 2019 for $9,500!

Outfits on digital fashion store DressX range from $25 (RM104) hats to strange jellyfish-like dresses for hundreds of dollars. 

“Every brand in the future will be on board with digital fashion”, said DressX co-founder Daria Shapovalova. Their own research says 15 percent of customers are doing so for Instagram posts, and almost a quarter found it satisfied their need for a new item of clothing. 

“You don’t necessarily need physicality to experience the thrill of wearing an extraordinary garment”, said The Fabricant's Michaela Larosse. 

“We will all have a digital self, we’ll have an avatar and you’ll be able to communicate something about yourself, who you are, what you’re interested in, through the iteration of your avatar”. 

Loftus is clear that digital fashion is not yet for everyone – and may never be. 

“I don’t know if a lot of the people who do this stuff online actually want to meet people in person. I think that a lot of their needs and desires can be satisfied online”, she said. 

It may also prove a great leveller – a way for anti-social people to (almost literally) shed their skin and adopt another. 

Gala Marija Vrbanic, creative director at digital fashion brand Tribute, says: “We truly believe this is something that is going to shape the future of fashion”. 

Hey, life is short – so, why not dress up? Fashion in real life or virtually, is a method of self-expression, after all. You don't have to settle for average.

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