Last February, Universe Contemporary and Expoblvd joined forces to bring together the world’s first Crypto Fashion Week. The week-long event attracted designers, artists, digital and fashion enthusiasts all over the world. It also gave us the first glimpse into how technology is transforming the $3-trillion fashion industry.
What is crypto fashion?
Crypto fashion is a digital art form. In the physical art world, owners have full control over a piece of art such as painting or sculpture. This means others can view or take pictures of the artwork, but they don’t control it.
This idea of physical art ownership transcend to the digital world. However, it wasn't until the recent decade that digital art collections become a norm, and creators of these intangible items benefit from from art. This is known as Crypto art or NFTs.
Crypto art is a way for people to buy, sell, trade, and collect digital art the same way as the physical art. Some of them are authenticated by blockchain — a type of database that stores information in blocks and then link them together. The idea is to ensure the top-notch security for the artwork and prevent it from being stolen. (Since data entering the blockchain is irreversible, non-authorized codes added by hackers can be easily detected).
Thus, when crypto comes to the fashion world, it gives digital garments more value. The designers also get more recognition for the work — they can sell their art or receive royalties on the usage of reproduction of it. As the technology becomes widespread, it also encourages more talented 3D artists and traditional designers to join the space.
The key is to create truly unique pieces since the concept of crypto art revolves around scarcity. The more unique the piece, the more likely it is valued as an NFT.
The link between digital fashion and sustainability
Textile waste is an aching sore of the fashion industry. Out of all the clothes discarded each year, 85% of textiles end up in landfills and incinerators, only 15% goes to recycling centres and as little as 1% of used garments is made into new clothing. Meanwhile, brands are churning out more clothes. And our consumption habits gear towards impressing others rather than meeting our basic needs.
But if you only dress for social media, why not buy digital fashion, which is made specifically for these platforms?
By switching to digital fashion, you can express their creativity without putting a dent to your wallet while saving the environment from fashion landfills.
The future of digital fashion is also bright for innovative ecommerce owners.
Online ecommerce is booming. In 2021, the market is valued at $4.89 trillion. The figure is expected to rise to 21.8% of total ecommerce sales by 2024. In addition, there’s an upwarding trend towards re-commerce — renting, reusing or thrifting used apparels. As people are shifting their shopping behavior to affordable and sustainable garments, there comes a huge opportunity for digital-centric businesses whose production involves little or no textile waste.
A great example is Tommy Hilfiger, a fashion brand that have been making a switch to 100% digital designing. According to the company’s owner, Daniel Grieder, their in-house team will develop and sell samples from the Spring 2022 apparel collections onwards with 3D technology. The process not only produces less waste but also save time and money while accelerating the production speed. Tommy Hilfiger also founded Stitch, a tech incubator to digitize their designs.
Sustainability aside, digital fashion looks much "cooler"
Digital fashion is not only characterized by futuristic and original designs but also the fact that they can adapt the owner's shape and appearance. There's also the flexibility to match the 3D garments to your moods. This may prove a challenge for physical clothes to "shift" from its original state, but digital fashion surely fits the bill.
In an interview with Nylon, Lady Phe0nix, co-organizer of Crypto Fashion Week, said digital fashion “breaks the box of reality”. The only limitation is your creativity, which you, the trendsetter, definitely have plenty of.
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