Johanna Jaskowska in 'Iridescence' by The Fabricant
The article first appeared on the Forbes.
Last week, London-based start-up Favourup held a panel discussion between a panel of Instagram-based sustainability influencers about the perils of ‘fast-fashion’ and challenges of conscious consumption. A Q&A session followed, during which the question was raised ‘why not wear digital clothing? If your platform of communication is digital, why can’t your clothes be?’. A heated debate ensued, with the audience and panel protesting that ‘digital fashion would just encourage more consumption’ and that digital fashion is disingenuous because it ‘doesn’t exist’. Digital fashion houses The Fabricant and Carlings are sources of virtual fashion, but this event made it clear that the digital fashion concept needs time to ripen.
It is true that digital clothing is not readily accessible to the masses yet, but it took a leap closer this weekend. Digital fashion pioneers The Fabricant, create digital clothing by harnessing 2D garment pattern-cutting software and 3D design software, coupled with powerful film rendering tools to create hyper-real clothing that lives and breathes – online, at least.
‘Iridescence’, their breakthrough collaboration with artist Johanna Jaskowska, creator of the number one futuristic filter taking over Instagram, Beauty3000, and Dapper Labs, the team behind the CryptoKitties blockchain phenomenon, culminated in an auction last weekend at the Ethereal Summit in New York. The world’s first piece of digital couture created by The Fabricant and worn by Johanna Jaskowska sold for $9,500. But how does one ‘wear’ the couture? There is a 28-day window for the couture’s new owner to provide a photo of the future wearer to the creators in order for them to custom fit the digital garments. As a blockchain digital asset, the unique existence of the garment makes it both clothing and (crypto) currency.
Reflecting on the Influencer event, the question begged was “why”. There are several reasons – some rational and environmental, others cultural and philosophical. The relative merits of sustainable clothing are a hot topic of debate, but the fact remains that all clothing has an environmental impact and places strain on our planet. The only truly sustainable option is to go naked, it has been said. The next best solution is to dress digitally.
From a philosophical standpoint, the newest generation of consumers – the much discussed ‘Gen Z’ers’ - are typically creating multiple digital personas in online games and on social media. They live a considerable portion of their lives in digital communities, and it follows that they want to dress and present themselves in a way that is true to them. Digital clothing allows this.
The market in crypto collectibles has exceeded $200 billion for the first time this year. The Fabricant reports that “Global brands in the real world apparel market are vying to enter the digital-only fashion space to forge deeper engagement with ‘Gen Z’ consumers - those born after 1997 who have only known a digitally connected world.”
Read the full article on the Forbes.