Virtual Fashion: From Gaming to the Runway

When a startup known as The Fabricant sold a diaphanous $9500 virtual dress to Richard Ma, the CEO of Quantstamp, as a present to his wife, its founder Kerry Murphy, knew that they were really on to something.

“If you think about what is happening in the art world, it really makes sense. Some people justify these purchases because they see them as the Mona Lisa of the future,” said Murphy in an interview during the e-P Summit in Milan last week.

Through blockchain technology, these items cannot be owned or reproduced by anyone, so even though it is virtual, the only one who can post that virtual dress on social media is its true owner. In a way, the gaming industry – World of Warcraft and Fortnight have been selling skins for over two decades – paved the way for fashion without even knowing it. And now, experts say that the trend is here to stay. In addition to satiating the appetite for fashion of the rich and famous, it is also a solution to fashion’s biggest problem: mass production and excessive waste.

Amsterdam-based The Fabricant is a digital fashion house that operates at the intersection of technology and fashion. They use technology to create intriguing and seductive fashion narratives of endless possibility, unconstrained by the boundaries of the physical realm.

“Our work exists beyond the current concepts of catwalks, photographers, studios, and sample sizes. For The Fabricant, imagination is our only atelier, and our fashion stories are free from the constraints of the material world,” Murphy said.

Norway-based brand Carlings made 120 million euros in revenue in 2018, as it invests its efforts in 3D design and training employees to produce 3D collections. Known for their denim lines, they were one of the first brands to stampede into selling virtual 3D collections and items from 10 euros to 30 euros a piece. Carlings CEO Ronny Mikalsen said that he sees 3D collections as the future, and also a sustainable solution for the world, currently inundated with excess clothing trash. The digital clothing industry, currently driven by a legion of social media-obsessed millennials, are expected to drive those sales, and has the potential to represent one percent of the fashion market share at $25 billion. Fortnite, the top money making, free-to-play game reportedly made an estimated $2.4 billion in 2018.

Other designers feel that simply designing through the lens of a 3D-design can reduce waste, because they are crafting something that consumers actually want and, therefore, would be less willing to discard or throw it away. 

Abdul Abasi, co-founder of Abasi Rosborough, produced a 2020 collection that was made entirely through innovative 3D tailoring. “We make the suits for people who don’t have to wear suits but choose to. We found that they are willing to wait a few weeks to get something custom and special. This month we will launch our new designs using 3D visualization. When client reaction is strong, we take orders and make the clothing. If not, we can now change colors, or delete the file and start over, without a wasted stitch being sewn,” Abasi said. 

Abasi said the company uses technologies that have long been favorites of motion graphic designers in the film and video game industries, but that are increasingly adopted by fashion designers.

Abasi’s 3D design software developed by Seoul-based CLO Virtual Fashion allows the Abasi Rosborough design team to draw, drape, sew, and fit garments in real time, with 2D patterns being generated simultaneously. The resulting 3D garments are exported as images or videos to use in client appointments or via the website, email, and social media. What once took the designers months can now be done in days, or hours.

Every day we read the headlines about global warming, pollution of the fashion industry, how big retailers are failing. We want to be part of the solution, and we’ve built a model backed by tech that is powerful, to share and build upon with other designers,” said Abasi Rosborough’s co-founder Greg Rosborough.

In Europe, the high end luxury industry hasn’t been sleeping. Dior and RIMOWA launched a capsule last month through their collaboration on a Snapchat application. “It opens up intriguing new horizons – three exclusive augmented reality lenses bring to life creations designed by Kim Jones and the luxury luggage specialist,” Dior said a statement. The first evokes the collection’s ad campaign lensed by Steven Meisel, notably revealing a futuristic car inside which the RIMOWA cabin suitcase can be discovered, while the second, like a magic mask, covers the viewer’s face with the iconic Dior Oblique motif. Finally, during an event in Paris, guests were able to scan cards via the application, allowing them – thanks to Marker Tech technology – to make the Personal clutch appear in 3D.

Virtual purists like Mikalsen say that in a few years, all fashion brands, and even Apple, will make 3D designs commonplace, as people’s attitudes change regarding how much clothing they actually need, versus how many clothes they need just to merely appear cool in a photograph. In the case of the latter, a virtual wardrobe makes much more sense in economical terms and for the environment.

 “I say five years from now every design will be made in 3D,” Mikalsen said.

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
Hybridists of the Fashion Sphere
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
Streetwear meets Japanese Heritage at Facetasm...
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
Streetwear meets Japanese Heritage at Facetasm Show   Founded in 2007 by Japanese designer Hiromichi Ochiai, Facetasm embraces Tokyo’s essence through a variety of laid-back styles from the sportswear vibe. His ability to play with perspectives...
Streetwear meets Japanese Heritage at Facetasm Show   Founded in 2007 by Japanese designer Hiromichi Ochiai, Facetasm embraces Tokyo’s essence through a variety of laid-back styles from the sportswear vibe. His ability to play with perspectives categorises him as one of the most eclectic menswear and womenswear designers of the time. From unisex...
A Duchampian Affair at Loewe
By Elisa Carassai
“Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," said Duchamp in...
By Elisa Carassai
By Elisa Carassai
“Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," said Duchamp in 1952. Inspired by the same artful spirit, at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson decided to ship across the world a series of boxes containing the things that inspired him, the details that made the process of...
“Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase," said Duchamp in 1952. Inspired by the same artful spirit, at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson decided to ship across the world a series of boxes containing the things that inspired him, the details that made the process of creating so special and mini iterations of his final looks. Almost mirroring Duchamp's desire to display...
Sartorial Masters Debut at Paris Menswear
By Elisa Carassai and Ludovica Parisi
Summer Nostalgia at Davi Paris...
By Elisa Carassai and Ludovica Parisi
By Elisa Carassai and Ludovica Parisi
Summer Nostalgia at Davi Paris Spring / Summer 2021    After working for over 20 years at Ter et Bantine, Dirk Bikkembergs, Mila Schon and Giorgio Armani and Gucci, Italian designer Davide Marello finally displayed his own...
Summer Nostalgia at Davi Paris Spring / Summer 2021    After working for over 20 years at Ter et Bantine, Dirk Bikkembergs, Mila Schon and Giorgio Armani and Gucci, Italian designer Davide Marello finally displayed his own creative vision in 2018, launching Davi Paris at Paris Men’s Fashion Week.   With his subtle,...
GmbH and The Power of Community
By Elisa Carassai
Formed in 2016 by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Berlin-based collective GmbH has...
By Elisa Carassai
Formed in 2016 by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Berlin-based collective GmbH has garnered over the past few years a reputation for their diverse collaborative approach and innovative sustainable outlook which ensures the majority of the pair’s clothes are made from deadstock material...
Formed in 2016 by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, Berlin-based collective GmbH has garnered over the past few years a reputation for their diverse collaborative approach and innovative sustainable outlook which ensures the majority of the pair’s clothes are made from deadstock material sourced from a high-end factory in Milan – in resistance to the overconsumption of today’s fashion...
Standing Against Adversity Together
By Elisa Carassai and Sasha Regazzoni
SEAN SUEN  For Paris Digital Fashion Week, SUEN SUEN has debuted “Dionysian”, the brand’s...
By Elisa Carassai and Sasha Regazzoni
By Elisa Carassai and Sasha Regazzoni
SEAN SUEN  For Paris Digital Fashion Week, SUEN SUEN has debuted “Dionysian”, the brand’s Spring-Summer 21 collection which explores the dichotomy between the essence of human life and its conflicting internal emotions. The collection premiered with a short esoteric film capturing the tragic...
SEAN SUEN  For Paris Digital Fashion Week, SUEN SUEN has debuted “Dionysian”, the brand’s Spring-Summer 21 collection which explores the dichotomy between the essence of human life and its conflicting internal emotions. The collection premiered with a short esoteric film capturing the tragic theme of an irrational state of intertwined pain and intoxicating revelry where souls wander in a state...
Time Travelling to Old Glamour at PFW
By Alice Ierace and Sasha Regazzoni
Preppy School and 50s Galore at Ernest W. BakerFor the second day of Paris Fashion Week, brand...
By Alice Ierace and Sasha Regazzoni
By Alice Ierace and Sasha Regazzoni
Preppy School and 50s Galore at Ernest W. BakerFor the second day of Paris Fashion Week, brand Ernest W. Baker decided to rely on its heritage. “For a lot of people, us included, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown were a moment of awakening to what is really important. Being away from our loved...
Preppy School and 50s Galore at Ernest W. BakerFor the second day of Paris Fashion Week, brand Ernest W. Baker decided to rely on its heritage. “For a lot of people, us included, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown were a moment of awakening to what is really important. Being away from our loved ones, or unable to be with them physically really pushed this idea of family,” the designers...
Rave Digital: Ravensbourne Launches Fashion Game on Twitch
By Elisa Carassai
As Haute Couture Week draws to a close and Menswear begins...
By Elisa Carassai
As Haute Couture Week draws to a close and Menswear begins its digitised alternative, it comes as no surprise that brands have been battling to find ways to stand out from their competitors in the most ingenious ways on various video streaming...
As Haute Couture Week draws to a close and Menswear begins its digitised alternative, it comes as no surprise that brands have been battling to find ways to stand out from their competitors in the most ingenious ways on various video streaming platforms.   One of these is Amazon's Twitch, a video-streaming platform that started with gamers and now...
Unconventionality is The Word
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to...
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
By Alice Ierace and Ludovica Parisi
For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to premiere an exclusive short video in black and white. “The idea is that you can tell and experience the story in your own way. At your own pace. It’s about going back to making and telling stories,”...
For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to premiere an exclusive short video in black and white. “The idea is that you can tell and experience the story in your own way. At your own pace. It’s about going back to making and telling stories,” explained the designer. With this idea of exploration and storytelling in mind, photographer Lewis Ronald...