Don’t laugh, “Reality QQ Show” is the wearable fashion of tomorrow

At London Fashion Week in February, there was a scene that made ordinary people feel absurd, but the crypto elite was calm:

At the show, a live model walked in in a colorful geometric-print dress with a pouf that looked silky and elegantly tailored.

But this is a dress that is not going to be put into production. You can only open the official website of the fashion brand Roksanda and buy its NFT for anywhere from 25 to 5,000 pounds to collect or wear in the metaverse.

▲ Figure from Roksanda

A few days later in Milan Fashion Week, Chinese designer brand Annakiki released the autumn and winter series "Post-Human Coding" , and launched 5 NFT virtual clothes online simultaneously.

These cyberpunk futuristic virtual dresses were quickly "worn" on stars and fashion bloggers such as Jike Junyi, Meng Jia, and Wanida through social networks. Unknown fans asked in the comment area: Is this a real dress?

▲ Picture from Weibo @Annakiki

As gamers get used to spending a fortune on new skins, more and more fashionistas (and even their dogs) are "wearing" real skins that they can't see or touch.

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You're too embarrassed to call yourself a fashionista without wearing virtual clothing.

Back in 2018, Norwegian clothing retailer Carlings released its first digital fashion collection, Neo-EX, priced between $10 and $30, which sold out quickly after launch.

▲ Picture from Carlings

In 2019, Dutch digital fashion company The Fabricant launched Iridescence, the world’s first blockchain clothing .

It has a realistic texture and iridescent sheen, and it can even be animated in the wind. The virtual dress was eventually auctioned for a whopping $9,500, causing a global media uproar.

▲ Picture from The Fabricant

Seemingly pioneering and avant-garde, their "wearing" method is very similar to today's daily life of a retoucher with a naive blue hippocampus – upload your photo, and the creative team will perform 3D rendering within a few days to help you tailor the clothes. P Well, after the film is delivered, it can be sent to social networks.

Buying a piece of virtual clothing with real money, but it can only be worn in the circle of friends in the form of PS. Is it fashionable people who are stupid and have a lot of money and are willing to be cut into leeks?

▲ Picture from DRESSX

In fact, apparel production is one of the most polluting industries in the world. From the perspective of digital fashion supporters, "real skin" can reduce waste and achieve environmental protection and carbon reduction. It is especially suitable for the younger generation who "clothes life ends in taking pictures". Send lots of samples.

The "Digital Fashion Sustainability 2021 Report" released by DRESSX shows that the production of 1 piece of digital clothing can reduce carbon emissions by 97% compared with the production of physical clothing, and can save 3,300 liters of water (almost the amount of water a person drinks in 3.5 years).

In addition to environmental protection, virtual clothing is also entrusted with a beautiful vision of no gender, no size, and unlimited imagination.

Men can also wear flattering long skirts if you like. No matter how tall, short, fat or thin, the 3D rendered virtual clothing can perfectly fit your body.

There is no realistic limit here either. Designers can go even further and use materials that do not exist in the world to design shocking textures and colors, and even make Newton and Einstein jaw-dropping designs.

DRESSX can be regarded as the most "civilian" digital fashion retailer.

The platform has gathered more than 100 designers, and the clothing includes various categories such as coats, skirts, accessories, etc., and the price of a single piece ranges from 30 US dollars to 1,000 US dollars.

In order to facilitate the purchase, DRESSX even launched an app of the same name. You can see the rough fitting effect through the AR filter, and then place an order to let the designer make a refined P picture. If you don’t mind wearing a model just for fun, you can take photos and videos directly and send them to social platforms just like playing Douyin every day.

▲ Picture from Safiya Nygaard

YouTube blogger Safiya Nygaard did an experiment.

She has been wearing virtual clothes for a week on social networks, from gothic robes, coats with extra-long sleeves, flashy boots to strange vests with purple balloons floating around… Most fans can't see it as a P picture, even if Can tell the difference and still leave "cool" positive comments.

▲ Picture from Safiya Nygaard

According to Nygaard's personal experience, the P-picture level of this virtual fashion is still unstable, sometimes leaving obvious rough marks. The most embarrassing part of the whole is that you have to imagine in advance what the "real skin" will look like on your body, pose in a suitable pose to shoot, and then upload and submit.

▲ Picture from Safiya Nygaard

While there is a sustainable and inclusive narrative, and virtual clothing has been dubbed “Anyone’s Haute Couture” by some brands , P-picture tops and AR filter try-ons still provide limited social value.

Today, with the dynamism of the Metaverse, many digital fashion brands have begun to actively enter the NFT field, hoping to increase the collection value of virtual clothing.

They even plan to communicate with more platforms in the future, so that a "real skin" can be worn by you, worn by your avatar, and even spread forever like a family heirloom.

▲ Picture from The Dematerialised

According to The Fabricant, the digital space is a more imaginative and creative place, “It’s not just about trying on 3D clothes, it’s a world where you can try new ideas, new cultures, new bodies, new perspectives and new lives. "

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After talking for so long, who is buying "real skin"?

According to digital fashion retailers DRESSX and Tribute Brand, the current purchasers of virtual clothing are mainly Gen Z and millennials (15 to 35 years old). They are willing to try new things and express themselves through fashion, and some consumers even overlap with the gamer portraits of Roblox and Fortnite.

▲ Tribute Brand

In the context of the decline in physical clothing sales caused by the epidemic, virtual clothing looks like a new and attractive little fat.

RTFTK, which brought sneaker culture into the NFT field and was acquired by Nike not long ago, has a record of selling $3 million "fake shoes" in 7 minutes. DRESSX is doubling its sales every month and has completed two rounds of $5 million in one year. The digital fashion brand Replicant has only been established for half a year and has delivered 1,000+ orders, of which the sales of NFTs alone reached $5.75 million .

The cooperation of luxury brands with games and social platforms has always been more active, especially after the winds of the Metaverse. However, in the field of "real skin", the actions of traditional fashion brands are rare, and more of them are marketing, hoping to communicate with young consumers.

▲ PUMA x The Fabricant

In March last year, Gucci launched virtual sneakers for only 78 yuan , known as "the first pair of Gucci for young people".

After buying it, you can wear it to take photos or record videos and share them on social networks, not only in the Gucci app, but also in the social platform VR Chat and the gaming platform Roblox.

▲ Gucci virtual sneakers

In October last year, Dolce & Gabbana launched 9 NFTs, and the final auction price reached $6 million . Among them, 5 pieces of NFT have corresponding physical haute couture clothing, and the other 4 pieces only have digital versions, which can provide digital wear and some offline VIP experiences.

▲ Picture from D&G

In January this year, H&M cooperated with DRESSX to launch a fashion competition on the official website, and the prizes were 3 virtual clothing NFTs. When the winners get NFTs, they can submit photos to receive exquisite P-pictures, even with animation effects.

▲ HM virtual clothing NFT

According to Daria Shapovalova, co-founder of DRESSX, digital fashion will become the entry point for people to understand and buy luxury goods like today's lipstick and perfume.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley believe that by 2030, the sales market for luxury goods in virtual spaces could exceed $50 billion.

But for the exploration of metaverse, NFT and virtual fashion, the two luxury groups have completely different attitudes.

Kering's Gucci, Balenciaga, and D&G have all made more aggressive attempts, while LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is more cautious.

Although Arnault agrees that the virtual world may bring new possibilities for the future development of the brand, and also sees the profit of NFT, he still said that "At this stage, we are not interested in selling virtual sneakers for 10 euros."

In fact, whether digital fashion is truly environmentally friendly, this issue is often questioned – especially when it is linked to NFT, the underlying blockchain technology is obviously a beast of energy consumption.

▲ Behind the new technology is a bunch of servers with fans spinning

Apart from other things, the design method of virtual clothing has reference significance for the current traditional fashion clothing.

Take Hugo Boss as an example. At present, more than 50% of the series of this brand are designed in the form of 3D digital.

If you can use 3D technology to complete the modification of clothing proofing, reduce the prototype of a piece of clothing from 4 or 5 to 1 or 2, and even display it in a virtual form before it is put into production, and then produce it on demand, which will greatly reduce the number of prototypes. The number of unsalable garments.

Kerry Murphy, founder of The Fabricant, believes that the wave of digital transformation is sweeping the world, and 3D and digital fashion will become the industry standard in the future.

This is easy to predict when looking at other design industries that have gone through digital transformation. From a process point of view, the construction and automotive industries are good examples. From a business model perspective, the music industry is a good example.

Early "wearable fashion"

Out of curiosity, @lahongsang, the UP master of station B, once made a virtual clothing try-on video . Several sets of avant-garde clothes were described in the comment area as "IQ tax", "plastic bag", "1000+ bought 5 P pictures, I don't miss Li".

And fashion blogger @thisoutfitdoesnotexist, who has been wearing virtual clothes for a year , basically every time he releases a new look, he has to answer the questions of passers-by in the comment area: This is not real, this is called digital fashion!

▲ A group photo of the blogger with the dog. A pink tube top dress on a dog, from the virtual clothing pet line Pepa Paris, $499

Although it is sought after by fashionistas, for most people, virtual clothing is still a new thing that looks a bit handsome but whoever buys it is stupid.

When talking about the future of virtual clothing, Murphy once said that when virtual clothes can be mass-produced, there will be no need for so many manufactured clothes in the future. In addition to social media, the way we interact in the virtual world will become more and more like the real world in the future.

In the future, we can download various elements to clothes, and everyone will find that our dress is different when we wear AR glasses.

The future of digital fashion should be universal. Real people can be put on in the form of AR, game characters and avatars can be imported and worn through 3D files, and it also has the clear ownership, tradability and scarcity of NFTs. This kind of imagination is enough to meet the various usage scenarios of the metaverse combining virtual and real.

For now, however, digital fashion is like arriving at an imaginative party ahead of schedule, only to find that the party scene is still being arranged.

When RTFKT began to let people try on virtual sneakers and virtual jackets in the form of AR filters, some people said that he seemed to see the future of wearable NFTs. But so far, there is still a lot of room for improvement in both the development of AR hardware and the AR technology itself.

In an interview with Vogue Business, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said that while shoes, watches and sunglasses are currently tried on enough to be realistic enough to be a hit on Snapchat, clothing is still something the company is grappling with.

Try on a t-shirt and make sure the fabric looks very realistic and is draped over your shoulders the right way – it's a lot more complicated from a technical point of view. We've made good progress on this, but it's not perfect. A full outfit may take longer.

▲ RTFKT jacket AR effect

Visible and intangible virtual clothing can never replace the touch and warmth of real clothing. But if the infrastructure is in place, it has the potential to be the same as a game skin, allowing you to spend a lot of money chasing new models.

*The title picture of this article comes from Weibo @Annakiki

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