5 July 2023
Fashion and technology are no strangers to each other. The two domains have been meeting, mingling, and melding for centuries, continually reshaping our understanding of what fashion is, and more importantly, what it could be. Today, at the heart of this exciting intersection, we find two game-changing elements: digital fashion and blockchains. To explore this captivating blend, we need to trace the history of fashion and comprehend how blockchain technology could unlock new business models in the fashion industry. But first, let's establish what we mean by digital fashion.
Digital fashion, at its core, encapsulates virtual clothes and accessories designed for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and other immersive digital environments. This concept expands the boundaries of traditional fashion design, delving into imaginative, often impractical in the real world, clothing forms that thrive within the infinite expanse of the digital universe.
In 2022, the global apparel market generated a whopping $1.53 trillion in revenue, which is predicted to grow to $1.94 trillion by 2027. Industry titans like Bernard Arnault of LVMH and Amancio Ortega of Zara stand testament to the colossal wealth this industry can amass. In light of this, the introduction of blockchain technology into the fashion industry has transformative potential.
Before fashion shows became the sensation they are today, new clothes were displayed on mannequins for buyers to admire and evaluate. In 1860, English designer Charles Frederick Worth changed this norm by introducing "demoiselles de magasins" or "young shop ladies" to model his couture garments. This innovative approach laid the foundation for what we now recognize as the modern fashion show.
A single New York Fashion Week (NYFW) show costs between $125k - $300k+, and in 2020, NYFW generated $887 million from its live events. This transformation from mannequin to model revolutionized the business of fashion, creating new revenue opportunities and evolving the industry as a whole.
Just as the transition from mannequin to model revolutionized the fashion show industry, the internet introduced online shopping, leading to a surge of new revenue streams, from targeted advertising and segmentation profiling to web UX/UI design and email marketing.
The recent advent of blockchain technology has introduced a new feature-set to digital fashion objects. These include:
• Ownership: Blockchain allows users to buy, sell, and own digital items, essentially assigning a sense of 'value' to these digital assets.
• Scarcity: With blockchain, digital fashion can be tokenized into NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), creating unique, limited editions of digital clothing.
• Programmability: Blockchain facilitates embedding software code into digital objects, offering interactivity and utility beyond aesthetic appeal.
• Interoperability: Digital fashion items could be used across multiple platforms or environments, further enhancing their value proposition.
Brands such as Tribute Brand, 9dcc, Draup, Artisant, DressX, and UNXD have started capitalizing on these features, creating digital fashion items for users to buy, sell, and own. Platforms like Ready Player Me are making it possible for users to wear their digital assets on interoperable avatars, used across various immersive environments.
As the technology refines and consumers adopt these new experiences, we can anticipate several emerging trends:
With 58% of Gen Z respondents considering digital fashion designers as impressive as physical ones, the demand for digital design skills will skyrocket.
Digital-only brands will bypass physical manufacturing constraints, potentially lowering the economic barrier for new entrants.
Blockchain's public database structure allows brands to track a garment's lifecycle, from purchase to wear frequency to reselling, providing valuable insights.
Brands can enhance the customer experience by gamifying interactions, incentivizing wearers with unique benefits unlocked through programmable NFC chips.
With everyone able to become a paid influencer by turning real-life interactions into sales leads, marketing will reach new heights of personalization.
Ultimately, the convergence of fashion and blockchain promises to reshape our understanding of fashion yet again, creating an immersive, interactive, and all-digital fashion lifecycle, best exemplified by the ambitious crypto-native luxury fashion brand, 9dcc.
However, as we continue to explore this cutting-edge blend of fashion and technology, it's crucial to remember that these innovations don't replace traditional fashion but augment it, creating a more inclusive and flexible fashion universe that embraces the physical and the digital in all their splendid diversity. In the world of fashion, the future truly is now.
As we stand on the precipice of this new digital era, it becomes clear that the tapestry of fashion is continuously being woven with strands of innovation and creativity. The digital landscape is transforming, and with it, the ways we express ourselves and interact with the world. But this shift is not something to be navigated alone. It requires expert guidance and a skilled hand to harness the full potential of these emerging technologies.
That's where we come in. At Refire Design, we specialize in shaping the digital future of fashion. Whether it's crafting unique, captivating NFTs, creating immersive 3D experiences, or injecting life into designs with motion, our team is equipped to elevate your brand into the digital sphere.
Don't just stand by and watch as the world of fashion evolves. Be a part of this transformation. Reach out to us today and let's redefine the boundaries of fashion together. We're ready to guide you through every step of the journey.
Get started with us today, and let's make your mark in the new digital era of fashion.