Is Digital Fashion Sustainability’s New Best Friend?

The world has lately observed a shift in consumer behavior towards changes in aesthetics or freshening up wardrobes in the digital world. Whilst the newness in this shift exists due to its constant nature, the premise of digital fashion is not new in its entirety. The top questions are: What is driving the sustainability of digital fashion, and how is it developing in line with the ecological needs of the modern world? 

From game skins and avatars to entire outfits designed with Augmented Reality (AR), digital fashion is fun, exciting and now carries increased variety in designs on different platforms. 

With more creativity, the possibilities for digital fashion are endless. The designs even go as far as defying the laws of physics with bubbles, metals, air and multiple other such forms. Consumers not only love this but also enjoy creating more Instagrammable moments on social media due to the sheer possibilities of creating designs that go beyond their imagination. 

Other factors that drive its sustainability include its ability to replace fast fashion. According to Megan Doyle, if one discarded piece of clothing is replaced with digital fashion, around 3,300 gallons of water can be saved along with a reduction in our carbon footprint. Similarly, according to Yanie Durocher, it also eliminates physical manufacture, material preparation, packing and logistics, resulting in 96% less carbon dioxide emissions, in comparison to the production of physical clothing. 

Beyond the world of fast fashion, a noticeable adoption of digital fashion is also seen in the realms of luxury. Maison Margiela, the Parisian fashion house, for example, is building a Metaverse footprint with the launch of its MetaTABI digital collectibles’ collection in partnership with The Fabricant, which will blend the digital and physical worlds. Stefano Rosso, Chairman of Maison Margiela and CEO of BVX emphasized the importance of embracing digital innovation in the luxury sector. “In a time where we are seeing technology being integrated more and more with the physical world, it is fundamental for the luxury industry to experiment and explore these digital realms,” he said.

Another profound example is that of SYKY, a community-driven platform that connects passionate individuals across the worlds of fashion and technology. The launch of their latest digital collectibles were drawn from various runway collections. The experimental, genre-less pieces are designed by artist Kay Kwok and were selected during important moments of pop culture history.

According to SYKY’s website, the 3D printed collection is  rare and provides an exclusive opportunity to collect a moment of musical and fashion history, and to commemorate the ascension of digital-physical fashion into the mainstream.

With evidence for the change in semantics of fashion and a rise in consumer interest towards digital style, it can be concluded that technological restructuring of how fashion reaches a consumer from the start of its creation is happening. Whilst the probability of its positive impact on ecological sustainability is arguably high, only the situational changes in consumer behavior can determine its true extent. 

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