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
A Verdict on Digital Fashion Week
By Fabio Ciquera
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed an array of different and varied virtual presentations,...
By Fabio Ciquera
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed an array of different and varied virtual presentations, online happenings and symposia. One cannot accuse luxury houses to lack inventiveness, and there is a genuine appreciation for the quick turnaround in moving everything online. From Loewe to Prada and...
In the past two weeks, we have witnessed an array of different and varied virtual presentations, online happenings and symposia. One cannot accuse luxury houses to lack inventiveness, and there is a genuine appreciation for the quick turnaround in moving everything online. From Loewe to Prada and Dior, among the many names, the creative solutions have been exciting to watch. This new reality...
Revival LDN: The Upcycled Fashion Brand Aiming At Helping the Environment
By Alice Ierace
For years now, many fashion brands have added sustainability to their vocabulary and, through...
By Alice Ierace
For years now, many fashion brands have added sustainability to their vocabulary and, through research and proposals, have tried to lessen the fashion industry’s huge impact on the environment. However, despite the efforts, many are still the fast-fashion brands ignoring the issue. The problem is...
For years now, many fashion brands have added sustainability to their vocabulary and, through research and proposals, have tried to lessen the fashion industry’s huge impact on the environment. However, despite the efforts, many are still the fast-fashion brands ignoring the issue. The problem is that, no matter how sustainable they deem they are, we are still living in a fast-paced environment...
Reflections on Life post Lockdown at MFW
By Alice Ierace and Elisa Carassai
Etro Kicking off day two of Milan Fashion Week was ETRO presenting its Men’s Spring Summer 2021...
By Alice Ierace and Elisa Carassai
By Alice Ierace and Elisa Carassai
Etro Kicking off day two of Milan Fashion Week was ETRO presenting its Men’s Spring Summer 2021 and Women’s Resort 2021 collections with an informal gathering at Milan’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel. “We are finally back together, in the garden of this iconic hotel, in the heart of Milan’s...
Etro Kicking off day two of Milan Fashion Week was ETRO presenting its Men’s Spring Summer 2021 and Women’s Resort 2021 collections with an informal gathering at Milan’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel. “We are finally back together, in the garden of this iconic hotel, in the heart of Milan’s Montenapoleone district. We want to highlight that we are a family, that Etro is a family living in a world...
White Mountaineering Brings Back BLK Line
By Elisa Carassai
Showcasing at Paris Fashion Week, ’s White Mountaineering is the creative baby of Japanese...
By Elisa Carassai
Showcasing at Paris Fashion Week, ’s White Mountaineering is the creative baby of Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa. This season, the designer not only presented an exclusive film directed by Daito Manabe from the Rhizomatiks, but he also decided to relaunch his original BLK line. Launched in 2009,...
Showcasing at Paris Fashion Week, ’s White Mountaineering is the creative baby of Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa. This season, the designer not only presented an exclusive film directed by Daito Manabe from the Rhizomatiks, but he also decided to relaunch his original BLK line. Launched in 2009, White Mountaineering’s BLK Line proposed a new feel to outdoor wear with high-spec textiles and...
Digital Meets Local at Sunnei
By Elisa Carassai
Before lockdown started, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo...
By Elisa Carassai
By Elisa Carassai
Before lockdown started, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo were supposed to move in their newly-bought building, Casa Sunnei. Not being able to move in, and stuck quarantining home, the duo started reflecting on what they could do to move forward, at a slower...
Before lockdown started, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo were supposed to move in their newly-bought building, Casa Sunnei. Not being able to move in, and stuck quarantining home, the duo started reflecting on what they could do to move forward, at a slower pace.  “During the lockdown, I realized we were moving at a pace that was too fast - we were...
A Play of Poetics at MFW
By Elisa Carassai
MSGM’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Kicking off the first day of Milan’s Digital Fashion Week was...
By Elisa Carassai
By Elisa Carassai
MSGM’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Kicking off the first day of Milan’s Digital Fashion Week was Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM, with a film celebrating the new Milanese generation of young creatives, as well as the joy of life post-lockdown. Inspired by writer Isabella Santacroce’s book Fluo: Storie di...
MSGM’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Kicking off the first day of Milan’s Digital Fashion Week was Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM, with a film celebrating the new Milanese generation of young creatives, as well as the joy of life post-lockdown. Inspired by writer Isabella Santacroce’s book Fluo: Storie di Giovani a Riccione (“Fluo: Stories of Young People in Riccione”) – who also happens to be from...
Purity and Tradition Intertwine at MFW
By Alice Ierace
Prada and The Show That Never HappenedFew people do fashion quite like Miuccia Prada. After the...
By Alice Ierace
Prada and The Show That Never HappenedFew people do fashion quite like Miuccia Prada. After the announcement back in February stating that Raf Simons would become the brand’s new co-creative director, today we were lucky enough to witness Miuccia’s last solo collection – her final bow after three...
Prada and The Show That Never HappenedFew people do fashion quite like Miuccia Prada. After the announcement back in February stating that Raf Simons would become the brand’s new co-creative director, today we were lucky enough to witness Miuccia’s last solo collection – her final bow after three decades of unforgettable shows.Of course, a simple presentation wasn’t in the plan – it needed that...
Auralee’s Imaginary Journey Through Time
By Alice Ierace
Firstly launched in Tokyo, designer Ryota Iwai decided to present Auralee’s latest Spring/Summer...
By Alice Ierace
Firstly launched in Tokyo, designer Ryota Iwai decided to present Auralee’s latest Spring/Summer 21 collection during digital Paris Fashion Week as one of the major independent fashion brands.As a brand, Auralee is renowned for its magnificent clean silhouettes, impeccable quality and minimal...
Firstly launched in Tokyo, designer Ryota Iwai decided to present Auralee’s latest Spring/Summer 21 collection during digital Paris Fashion Week as one of the major independent fashion brands.As a brand, Auralee is renowned for its magnificent clean silhouettes, impeccable quality and minimal styling. Its aim? A full exploration into the development of their own fabrics. By taking inspiration...