Ever since the dawn of the internet age, fashion has become increasingly digital. When SHOWstudio was founded in 2000, we set a precedent for a more inclusive (and definitely more technological) future that would go on to embrace CGI, AI and the first ever livestream known to fashion. A lot has changed in the 21st century. We've all gone from reading magazines to scrolling through articles online, seen the way that we shop transform from queuing outside stores on bustling Saturday afternoon to copping the latest drop from the comfort of our living rooms. Most recently, we moved from in-person meetings to Zoom calls.
Considering all of this, global shopping platform Lyst and digital fashion house The Fabricant have released the Digital Fashion Report. Described as 'a window into the future of fashion,' the report uncovers some home truths that many won't necessarily want to acknowledge, let alone believe, due to the sheer speed in which our digital realities are accelerating. Left to communicate with consumers digitally, brands have experimented with new methods and technologies with which to communicate, leading the Digital Fashion Report to reveal how the digital has disrupted a once very physical thing - clothes.
One report finding is that video games are fashion's new playground, with their avatars and 3D characters becoming the house's new models, or 'fashion darlings' as Patsy Stone from AbFab would say. From bespoke video games to in-game collections, these are the key virtual fashion moments that have influenced shoppers' searches IRL, well, according to the report at least. Just a few weeks ago, Burberry debuted their new custom designs for the video game, Honor of Kings' female protagonist, Yao.
According to Lyst's report, Balenciaga's A/W 21 collection, presented in the form of a video game, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, caused a 41% increase in searches for the brand within 48hrs following its launch, while Gucci's collaboration with The Sims 4 players for an in-game recreation of the Off The Grid collection resulted in an 82% rise in searches for the physical designs, only days after its release in October. Meanwhile, searches for Polish label MISBHV spiked 233% in January 2021, weeks after the brand's designs officially appeared in Grand Theft Auto and Marc Jacobs' designs in the 2020 edition of Animal Crossing: New Horizons influenced a 47% month-on-month increase in searches for the brand's IRL products on Lyst.
There's also, of course, virtual influencer Lil Miquela who's been shaking up the fashion scene for quite some time, causing others to recreate their own virtual characters or changing the game altogether by making themselves up to look... fake. Her recent Euphoria front cover shoot triggered a 43% increase in online searches for the Moncler x Rick Owens Tonopah puffer jacket, and she's also been shot by plenty of other magazines and well-acclaimed photographers, including SHOWstudio's founder Nick Knight.
Another possibility for fashion's future, as put forward by Lyst's own chief technology officer, Lucas McGregor, is for the industry to become more familiar with the idea of 3D printing and microfabrication. In a statement, McGregor said, he was 'personally really enthusiastic about these new advancements.' McGregor went on to mention that 3D printing and microfabrication 'couple really well with virtual technologies, using the same scanning techniques but using them to create custom made and custom fitted items. Imagine having clothes that are made specifically for you and your tastes. We spend a lot of time on the technology, but it always comes back to making it work for each fashion lover as an individual, and matching them with something that scratches their own fashion itch.'
The future of clothes may be a much more digital one than we may have previously thought, (you only have to look atfashion films abolishing the catwalk in 2020 and 2021 to know that), but video games being the new modes of inspiration? It seems like a far-fetched possibility now, but who knows. The future is closer than it seems, and it is ours to create. From video games to virtual influencers, one things for certain: there's more to come this century that no-one can predict.
You can read the Digital Fashion Report in full, here.