"If you are in the metauniverse every day, you will need virtual fashion and digital tools."
Digital fashion, the real "emperor’s new clothes"?
2022-06-02 Source: Volkswagen Daily 12th Edition
□ Our reporter Zhu Zikai
Will you buy a dress that you can’t wear? Not long ago, Xiaohongshu and Xintiandi launched 18 limited-edition virtual fashion new products, covering 9 brands such as ANNAKIKI and CHENPENG. A dazzling array of fashions were made into digital collections, which were sold out in a short time even if they could not be worn in the real world. "You can’t get it, you can only cover the virtual pattern on the buyer through 3D modeling, and make the virtual fashion fit the skin better and produce a photo through computer scanning and capturing actions." A little red book blogger, Miss Chill Zhiqiu, explained the magic of virtual fashion in this way. She confidently predicted that virtual fashion is an irresistible trend in the future. Not only that, people can also buy digital fashion with collectible value and resale. In 2019, digital fashion named "Rainbow" was sold at a high price of $9,500 in new york, USA.
Digital fashion, just the tip of the iceberg, hides a huge digital fashion market behind it. In fact, it’s not just Little Red Books that are aiming at digital fashion. Tik Tok, a subsidiary of Byte, plans to launch a business called "pheagee" to create a brand-new digital fashion community. Tencent upgraded the super QQ show based on QQ show, and cited an application scenario for virtual fashion, which attracted traditional clothing enterprises such as Li Ning to launch joint-name digital clothing. Internet companies compete for layout, and digital fashion has become the next outlet, which is accompanied by the public’s torture of its actual value.
The Research Report on Fashion Industry Consumption in China in 2021-Revival of the National Tide shows that the driving force of fashion industry development is closely related to the four major forces of industry, science and technology, culture and commerce. The impact of scientific and technological innovation on fashion format is particularly prominent. The emergence of digital fashion has directly subverted the expression of fashion industry and people’s consumption patterns.
The direct cause of subversion is the introduction of Metauniverse and NFT, one of which establishes a new space to connect the virtual world with the real world, and the other provides a value realization system, which makes digital fashion products have value-added space and collection value. As we all know, blockchain technology, interactive technology, electronic game technology, artificial intelligence technology, network and computing technology, and Internet of Things technology are the six supporting technologies of the metauniverse. NFT is an important technology to support the meta-cosmic economic system, which generates unique digital vouchers for specific products and realizes real and feasible digital distribution, purchase, collection and use. Therefore, consumers have become an important form of participating in the metauniverse by purchasing NFT.
Sun Ruizhe, president of China National Textile and Apparel Council, believes that "fashion industry, as a highly condensed material creation and cultural power, has strong penetration, extensive radiation and profound appeal." It can be said that there is no sense of contradiction in its combination with the meta-universe. Digitalization makes the forms of fashion more diverse, especially under the influence of the epidemic, which can break the limitations of space, make fashion, culture and technology perfectly fit together, and form an unprecedented consumption experience and extremely impactful visual presentation. From March 24th to March 27th this year, Decentraland held the world’s first Metauniverse Fashion Week, in which dozens of brands such as Selfridges, Jacob&Co, Franck Muller, Garrett Leight, Cavalli and digital fashion companies participated.
In the first Meta-Universe Fashion Week, netizens from all over the world logged on related websites and shuttled through the event with a cartoon image. In the shining fashion week scene, people can not only see the latest works of brand designers and more than 500 fashion models, but also buy virtual and physical clothing of brands. In addition, many brands have opened digital boutiques, including high-end watches and handbags. Users buy these NFT products to show their identity and position in the meta-universe.
Obviously, this trend is spreading and growing in the fashion circle. The reporter found out that China International Fashion Week recently announced that it has joined forces with 14 brands and launched several sets of digital clothes at @NFTCN, with the highest release price of 9890 yuan. Among them, the release price of "361 degrees I am the future of the East" virtual clothing is 361 yuan, and one copy is limited; Shenzhen Fashion Week held in April also introduced the concept of meta-universe for the first time. In the digital modeling venues, digital models walked on the runway in fashion, realizing the effect of "new season ready-to-wear and virtual clothing co-exhibition, real models interacting with virtual idols". This immersive experience of virtual and real transformation is more like a sci-fi adventure for many viewers, which is impressive.
Digital fashion has broken the restriction of physical conditions on fashion, and time, space, materials and cost are no longer the obstacles to the expression of fashion ideas. Free and unconstrained style, free and unrestrained, unprecedented … Here, human imagination can be unlimited. From this perspective, digital fashion is no longer related to the body, but the expression of people’s desires, reflecting people’s psychological characteristics of pursuing personalized consumption. Kira Qiya, a fashion blogger, has worn virtual fashions many times. She believes that the reason why she is keen on them is that "they completely get rid of the influence of gravity and the limitation of fabrics, which opens a new era for fashion design".
Like the "Rainbow" digital fashion mentioned at the beginning of the article, the relevant person analyzed that "Rainbow imitates the laser PVC material, creating a fluttering and anti-aerodynamic effect." Fashion design like this is basically difficult to realize in physical space. Rainbow comes from ——The Fabricant, a company specializing in digital fashion design, which was founded in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They use 3D modeling technology to make clothes, without using related fabrics, so that real models can try them on. "Pure digital visual display creates a unique sense of modeling and brings people’ surprises that real clothes can’t give’." It is this kind of "unlimited" that digital fashion can break the physical boundaries, integrate with different formats, and collide with sparks.
Some fashion brand companies have successfully explored the communication with game companies and technology companies, and took this opportunity to create a unique fashion perspective. Electronic games have become a perfect medium. The video game project "Afterworld：The Age of Tomorrow" launched by Balenciaga, a fashion brand, for the Fall/Winter 2021 fashion show, players wake up from a store, go to a future city street and embark on an interesting and exciting heroic journey. During the whole game, all characters can choose brand series modeling fashion as their own image. Once the game was launched, it triggered a hot discussion in the market, and many players’ test videos were born.
The game focuses on interactivity and immersion, and players participate in it for specific purposes. In the game, players have long had the consumption habit of buying "skin" and the dress requirements of players’ images, which coincides with the consumption concept of digital fashion-from another perspective, digital clothing is more like the "skin" of virtual images in the online world. "If you are in the metauniverse every day, you will need virtual fashion and digital tools." Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has publicly stated. In this field, Balenciaga is not the only explorer. Fashion brands that create fashion shows and launch digital fashion on the game platform emerge one after another. Brand Louis Vuitton created the "Louis The Game" mobile game, and you can get an exclusive customized NFT gold postcard by completing a specific task. Gucci launched the permanent virtual space "Gucci Town" on the online game platform Roblox. As a small game, players can buy virtual Gucci products for their game avatars, and Gucci officially stated that "the virtual clothing in the game uses Roblox’s new’ layered clothing’ technology."
The most fundamental feature of fashion is that it wants to be consistent with popular groups and different from others. This is a mixture of contradictions and a full expression of self-personality. Focusing on fashion consumption, creative industrial clusters formed in the fields of clothing, beauty, lifestyle and so on make the connotation and extension of fashion industry constantly deduced with the times. In the future, fashion seems to have unlimited possibilities.
Digital fashion, after all, is the product of the virtual world. Visible but intangible, virtual fashion has been ridiculed as "the emperor’s new clothes", which can neither be worn nor kept warm. However, with the sharp increase in online consumer demand, the arrival of Generation Z on the mainstream consumer stage, and the increasing number of related application scenarios, digital fashion has increasingly become the real "emperor’s new clothes". According to the 2021 Digital Fashion Report released by Lyst, a British fashion shopping search platform, in cooperation with The Fabricant, a digital fashion company, about 3.5 billion people in the world are digital fashion customers. "Kira Qiya" bought a digital collection "The Skirt of Void", which is limited to three pieces in the world and has a unique serial number. The product comes from the virtual fashion house of China international student designers. "It can be expected that this skirt will have irreplaceable value in the future." She said.
Digital fashion has promoted the fashion industry to exert greater economic and social benefits and is changing the industry system. According to an academic research, it is a new brand promotion method based on digital technology. Technology companies, game companies and digital fashion companies jointly create brand digital products, which become the driver and creative source of technology fashion. By building the consumption chain of digital fashion industry, the marketing mode of fashion industry will change to the advanced form of "community marketing", which can further enhance consumer stickiness and export brand culture and values; Promote the digital transformation of fashion brands and "create a shared private domain between virtual space and physical space". Balenciaga has cooperated with a game platform to design a series of fashionable NFT. Based on these digital collections, Balenciaga’s offline stores have also created a brand-new physical clothing series. Nowadays, it is widely believed in the industry that digital ways are used to drive cross-border win-win fashion brands.
"The virtual world is a space full of imagination, but this does not exclude its commonality with the real world." It is a popular practice for many brands to provide digital products online and launch derivative benefits offline. At the same time, the domestic fashion industry has firmly grasped this development trend, and digital fashion has opened up different dimensions of exploration. QQ Hyun Dance cooperates with Li Ning to launch virtual concept store and virtual fashion. Super QQ Show is poised to lead a new era of online virtual social interaction. Domestic high-end fashion brand Gelisi launched the brand avatar @ ELISA … Compared with the physical industry, digital fashion saves production costs such as materials and transportation, and reduces the waste of resources. Sustainable fashion may be an important proposition in the future.