Struggling to afford designer clothes? Never fear, the future of fashion is digital

But it’s not just fashionistas who can benefit from digital fashion. An unexpected cohort that is already leading the way in this sector is that of gamers. “In fortnite, you have your base or default skin with which you enter the game, so your first virtual outfit. We have seen a phenomenon that when someone does not wear an advanced skin, which they buy with real money, they are actively reprimanded by the community, even if it has no impact on game performance. says Loftus. “I found it so interesting because the players aren’t into traditional fashion – they’re probably sitting in their bedroom with a baggy t-shirt on! But there’s been a transition where they’re behaving like they’re “fashion” people and basically nagging each other for not wearing the right thing. For me, that was the biggest indication that digital fashion was going to engage a whole new audience.

Loftus also thinks this will really snowball when it comes to the direct-to-avatar economy. This is, of course, something that gets a lot of airplay thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration that the metaverse is the future of the internet, as well as the growing prevalence of NFTs. “There’s going to be a really interesting psyche shift in the average person that we’re going to see in the next two years,” Loftus says. “We have 3.24 billion gamers and 4.5 billion social media users [worldwide], and when Facebook says they’re now working towards a metaverse, we’re going to stop sticking with static, curated images of people. If you walk around as an avatar on a social network, it will lead to widespread adoption almost instantly, because you need clothes and self-expression.

So it’s no surprise that digital fashion is now being taken up by art and design schools like the University of the Arts London. And I agree with Loftus, it’s exciting – but can it be truly democratic, I ask him, when surely nascent creators need a certain level of technological savvy to enter the space of digital fashion. “That’s the biggest challenge we’re facing right now,” she concedes. “There is a huge disparity between those who can [and can’t] become familiar with the software – especially those from traditional fashion backgrounds. We need better education from mainstream fashion schools on how to break into this field. Loftus itself will soon be leading a designer residency with media hub and NFT consultancy VerticalCrypto Art through which aspiring fashion designers will receive training in the technology.

“People who do digital fashion now often come from animation rather than fashion,” she continues. “And honestly, it’s hard to replace the kind of creativity you can get from people fresh out of fashion school. But I think it might be interesting to see a new hybrid individual. When I spoke to some of my favorite creators in this space, they’ve been really interesting one was a player on World of Warcraft who realized she couldn’t wear the virtual dresses she wanted so she went to Central Saint Martins to figure out the design.

It’s hard to deny the momentum and possibilities in the realm of digital fashion. Loftus predicts that even more brands will start trying it out in the next six months. “There’s starting to be more awareness of what digital fashion is doing right, but soon brands will be hiring entire teams to work on it, not just small marketing divisions. Many magazines are already covering digital fashion , and we can expect celebrities to start championing it as well. Digital fashion offers a way to empower designers and attract talent, and it’s not closed. It’s the exact opposite of the way high fashion has traditionally operated,” Loftus asserts. “Isn’t that so exciting?


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