The fashion industry has been strongly conditioned by today’s technological and digital advances. Beyond the pioneering companies that have already embraced virtual fashion, a growing number of traditional powerhouses are leveraging digital technologies to redefine and amplify their business models. This is the case of luxury brands such as Gucci, Hilfiger, Balmain or Dolce & Gabbana as well as fast fashion brands such as Zara. TAcross the textile sector, a surge of companies is making strategic investments in the metaverse and digital garments, even launching exclusively digital collections, taking advantage of the enormous potential of blockchain and Web3 technology.
As previously discussed in our coverage of virtual fashion, it is crucial to delve into not only the digital fashion projects of these brands but also the most relevant platforms within this digital scenario.
One such standout is The Fabricant, a digital and decentralised fashion brand created in 2016 by Kerry Murphy and Amber Jae Slooten in Amsterdam. It started out designing 3D digital apparel for clients like Adidas, before embarking on an immersive journey into the metaverse. The company has also worked designing NFT for large apparel companies such as Diesel.
Today, the platform allows users to participate in different virtual fashion experiences. It also has its own studio for co-creating garments for the metaverse, The Fabricant Studio, allowing users to step into the shoes of digital fashion designers.
Anticipating a future where physical attire assumes a streamlined and utilitarian aesthetic, The Fabricant envisions the heart and soul of fashion and its boundless creativity flourishing within the digital world. In the words of Michaela Larosse, head of content and strategy for BadHombre Magazine, The Fabricant believes that virtual fashion will not only shape but redefine the future of industry.
Ultimately, it aspires to drive a more participatory and egalitarian fashion industry.
DressX is a platform for virtual fashion and other items in NFT format launched in 2020 by Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova in Ukraine. It was conceived as a nexus for creators and artists to unleash their talent, but also as a sustainable fashion haven for consumers aware of the need to make fashion a more responsible industry.
Within the metacloset of DressX, users seamlessly upload their photos upon purchasing virtual garments. Designers can then adjust the virtual garment to the buyer’s unique physique. Once the virtual fitting is complete, images are forwarded and the person can share them on their social networks. It has an augmented reality application that allows users to try on different garments as wearables and connect their virtual wallets to make the experience of accessing clothing NFTs more intuitive.
Some of the brands associated with DressX are Bershka and Adidas.
Meanwhile, Replicant Fashion, also launched in 2020, echoes DressX’s ethos of democratising access to designer attire in digital format. Like its counterpart, Replicant Fashion offers a platform where users can upload photos for a personalised fitting of their chosen garments.
Replicant Fashion’s primary goal is twofold: to furnish an open avenue to designer clothing and accessories for all, while providing a dynamic stage for fashion designers to showcase their creations in an innovative digital space
Tribute Brand, also launched in 2020, is a brand specialising in Contactless Cyber Fashion; that is, contactless fashion design. The company promotes virtual fashion as a budding industry that brings new opportunities for content and fashion creators, but also for the environment. Through Ethereum’s blockchain technology and NFTs, Tribute Brand allows its users to access looks that they can “stick” on themselves. Owners of these NFT garments can keep, transfer or exchange them through marketplaces such as Opensea. Payments for these virtual creations can be made through cryptocurrencies or conventional credit cards.
Esteemed fashion houses such as Carolina Herrera and Jean Paul Gaultier have aligned their vision with Tribute Band. The company’s projects include 3D digital characters and Augmented Reality among other functionalities.
California-based Digitalax, introduced in 2020, is a virtual garment marketplace, poised as an open source non-fungible fashion token platform. Its purpose is to create a Web3 fashion operating system to seamlessly integrate fashion wearables into different platforms and decentralised ecosystems, from video games to metaverses and other digital environments.
Swoosh is a digital wearables marketplace created by Nike in 2022. It is a virtual store that allows users to purchase virtual clothing and accessories for their avatars. Nike’s purpose is to create a virtual space where to engage consumers of the brand, players, creators and artists on the Web3. Here, professional gamers and athletes can set up their own virtual stores, while users and consumers engage in co-creation endeavours with Nike, as witnessed with the collaborative design of the latest Air Force sneaker model, whose design users were able to get involved via Instagram and Swoosh.
Finally, in 2022, Meta launched a virtual fashion store for its avatars where it showcased garments from designers such as Prada, Gucci or Balenciaga. This luxury virtual fashion store, called Meta Avatars Store, allows its users to customise their avatars with designer garments at affordable prices, so they can express their style in the digital world without limitations. Undoubtedly, it is an innovative initiative to bring luxury to the Metaverse and reach more consumers.
In a future post we will also look at the most influential virtual fashion apps… So stay tuned!