The future of fashion design is here

June 23, 2023
3 min read
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"The days of 'meat models' are long gone," declares The Great Wonderer Studios in an Instagram post that throws a fascinating spotlight on the groundbreaking world of digital fashion design.

As our online identity becomes even more visual, more important in the growing metaverse, we took a deep dive into digital and virtual fashion. What we mean by digital fashion is essentially non-physical fashion items that you "wear" on your online avatar or profile.

We've were originally immersed in this developing area while working on a digital VR & AR mixed reality fashion design project in 2022 for Meta alongside We Are Social and digital fashion experts Xtended Identity. The journey took us through some brilliant research phases where we discovered myriad digital fashion design brands redefining the fashion landscape.

At the moment you can't take your digital fashion everywhere you go, as the standards don't exist but we're seeing people really start to take the idea of digital virtual fashion seriously. So much so that one designer we worked with was the only person in their year to graduate from Central St Martin's with an exclusively digital collection – no physical pieces were created.

Designer Yam Karkai created the NFT collection "World of Women (WOW)". Created in collaboration with Fabricant Studio, a decentralised fashion house, Karkai's work aims to challenge the NFT space where "according to research published in Nov. 2021, female artists accounted for just 5% of all NFT art sales in the prior 12 months".

Meanwhile, the platform promises an entirely new shopping experience. Here, you can trade and buy digital accessories to adorn your digital self during video calls, gaming sessions or to jazz up your avatar. It's a pioneering concept — a virtual shop prepping you for your next digital engagement.

Co-founded by Linxi Zhu, a graduate of London College of Fashion and currently a Masters student at the Royal College of Art, Formlessness sees fashion as a tool for communication. Zhu envisions the body as a media and fashion as the key to expressing oneself, transforming it into an interactive platform.

Harnessing Tech for Fashion: Samsung's Innovative Approach

In a recent collaboration, Samsung showcased a novel fusion of tech and fashion with K-Pop artist BIBI, in a project tagged #WearTheWeekend. The result was a unique AR lens that brought digital fashion to the masses. This initiative was conceived and executed in partnership with Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and demonstrates how technology is pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the fashion world.

Serious About Digital Fashion: Brand Collaborations

The digital fashion revolution isn't just limited to innovative start-ups. Major players in the fashion industry are eagerly boarding the digital fashion train. Companies like Fabricant have already teamed up with an impressive roster of apparel brands, including the likes of Adidas, Under Armour, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Similarly, virtual fashion start-up DressX, with a portfolio of over 100 designers and 1,000 created items, has entered into partnerships with renowned fashion brands such as H&M, as pointed out by a Deloitte report.

These collaborations between traditional brands and digital fashion pioneers signal a significant shift in the industry's focus. It's a clear sign of the times: digital fashion is no longer a fringe trend — it's the future, and the future is here.

The transformation that digital fashion design brings is as revolutionary as it is exciting. It stretches the limits of imagination and blurs the line between the physical and the virtual. As we embrace this new reality, we can look forward to seeing how this innovative blend of technology and fashion will continue to evolve, influencing our self-expression and redefining our sense of style in the digital age.

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I am a creative director and product designer based in London. I have helped companies like Google, Meta, Netflix, Mercedes-Benz, Burberry and Nike create extraordinary brand experiences.

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