The Past and Future of Virtual Fashion
In contrast to real fashion, virtual fashion is created and marketed for avatars and virtual platforms. Brands expand their reach into the internet realm with virtual sampling or full collections, and some are entirely digital. In this context, the article discusses the origins and history of virtual fashion and future trends and my perspective on virtual fashion. Consequently, the critical lesson from examining the subject of fashion is that fashion changes periodically in response to a revolt. When a fashion is popular, there is a natural desire to resist it. Then a new style emerges that is opposed to the old one. Nevertheless, technology is automating the fashion designer’s job, and artificial intelligence has taken over as the designer.
The fashion industry has demonstrated a strong interest in the possibilities created by incorporating cloud-based technologies into the creative process during the previous five years. As per Wu et al. (2021, p. 467), this software, such as CLO Virtual Fashion Inc.’s ‘CLO,’ enables designers to virtually cut, stitch, drape, and simulate clothing, show them in a virtual environment, and then manufacture them on demand. This article will cast doubt on the rosy mist of possibility that surrounds this transitional period, examining what is at risk in addition to a break from the existing dysfunctional business.
The rise in news coverage over the previous year demonstrates the growing appeal of virtual fashion, with titles such as ‘Virtual Fashion: The Tangible Interface Clothes Appearing on Your Instagram Influencer Feeds’ and ‘Fashion meets Fortnite’ (Manyika et al., 2017, p. 60). This commercial campaign extensively leverages keywords, associations with other sectors like gaming, social media users, and assurances of a dream world where one may consume and share exactly as much as they want, but without consequence (Harba, 2019, p. 740, Xue et al., 2020, p. 61). Educational institutions are also getting engaged, developing courses and training personnel to prepare students for the new industry norm (Karamitsos et al., 2018, p. 177). By delving further into this group, past the celebratory echo chamber chatter at events or on social networks, it can be seen that the groundwork for this growing segment of the fashion business is being established.
Origin and History of Virtual Fashion
The most important lesson learned from examining fashion is that fashion changes regularly in response to a revolution. Ma et al. (2020, p. 90) notes that when fashion is widespread, there is a natural desire to resist it. Then a new style emerges that is opposed to the old one. A flapper was responsible for the corsets, while punk was responsible for the princess gowns. Fashion trends were affected by humanity’s natural protest attitude. Currently, everyone wishes to be unique, but formerly, everyone wished to seem the same. Fashion evolved from a response to cultural shifts to an expression of an individual’s individuality (Ma et al., (2020, p. 90). Fashion has ceased to be a vehicle for societal ‘conformation’ (Prajapati et al., 2021, p. 21). One consistency throughout history and into the present day is that those with wealth and power continue to have the potential to influence the course of fashion history. Previously, it was the royal family; now, it is celebrities, as well as major corporations and brands. Furthermore, the public today has a greater voice in the fashion industry now than ever; their choices drive the fashion market.
Fashion has always been at the cutting edge of technology, again from the invention of stitching equipment to the advent of e-commerce. Fashion, like technology, is forward-thinking and cyclical. Fashion is also one of the world’s largest sectors, estimated to be valued at more than $3 trillion by the conclusion of the century by CB Analytics’ Market Analyst Opinion (Pettersson and Ju, 2017, p. 44, Bug and Bernd, 2020, 301). Furthermore, fashion innovation is developing at a breakneck pace. Sewing and fabric trimming robots, artificial intelligence algorithms that predict design trends, virtual world mirrors in dressing rooms, and various other innovations all show how innovation is simplifying, personalizing, and speeding up the fashion business (Wickramarathne et al., 2019, p. 11). Explore the trends that alter the way our clothing and products are designed, made, distributed, and promoted in this area.
Fashion Designers are Being Automated by Technology
Technology is being used by fashion businesses of all levels and specialities to understand their customers better than before. According to Bertram and Chi (2018, p. 264), artificial intelligence will change businesses’ approaches to product development as data gathering efforts grow, prioritizing what customers would like to dress next. Organizations are already using artificial intelligence to build out-of-the-box simulations for various products, from aircraft elements to retail goods, from the fashion industry (Akar and Mathur, 2021, p. 43). By 2030, the market for generative design software is anticipated to reach $44.5 billion, according to CB Insights’ Industry Analyst Agreement, as cited in Miranda (2020, p. 508).
Artificial Intelligence Assumes the Role of Designer
Project Muze, a Google project, has previously experimented with user-driven Artificial Intelligence fashion design, a partnership with German fashion store Zalando in 2016, as noted in Kato et al. (2019, p. 530). The study educated an algorithm to identify colours, fabrics, personal tastes, and other “aesthetic qualities” gathered from Google’s Clothing Styles Study and data taken from trend data and Zalando’s design (Silva et al., 2019, p. 111). Project Muze utilized an algorithm to generate designs that were relevant to the users’ hobbies and consistent with the channel’s style preferences. Amazon is also pioneering in this space (Zhangand Lee, 2020, p. 136). Amazon is working on a project led by Israeli experts that will utilize machine learning to identify if a product is “fashionable.” The other, created by Amazon’s California-based research and development arm Lab126, would utilize pictures to study a particular dress style and then reproduce it.
If it seems suspect, similar to “rapid fashion through Amazon,” it most certainly is. In 2017, the e-commerce titan developed a manufacturing method that allows on-demand clothing manufacture (Li et al., 2020, p. 204). The new technologies could aid Amazon’s Essentials branding or the manufacturers to its logistics operation (Eggert et al., 2020, p. 113). Naturally, the outputs of human-free AI design are not always ready for the runway. Numerous designs developed for Google’s Project Muze users were unwearable scribbles and scrawls, while several publications on the Amazon Lab126 effort described the design outcomes as “crude.”
My thoughts and views
Undoubtedly, the internet world has had a significant effect on the fashion business, particularly from my point of view. It has altered the way people buy as well as the way they seek inspiration. However, it seems that the most significant digital advances are still to come. Not only are computer-generated designs securing a solid foothold in the market, but digital clothes are also becoming a reality. For example, CLO is among the platforms transforming clothes into a digital version (Islam, 2020, p. 56). The technology, specializing in true-to-life 3D garment modeling, enables designers and fashion learners to achieve their vision without spending time and resources creating numerous prototypes. It also assists companies in creating digital versions of their product lines (Jin et al., 2021, p. 8). Virtual clothing, in my view, will become more prevalent when it becomes hyperrealistic sufficient to substitute actual clothes in a variety of applications throughout the sector. Furthermore, by utilizing 3D as a communication medium, I can assert that not only is it very cost-effective, but it also enables information and data to move quicker than ever before. Also, I would assert that luxury companies are starting to embrace a digital future, and, as a result of several high-profile advertisements, digital models dressed in virtual clothes are becoming more prevalent.
For example, artist Johanna Jaskowska and, the Fabricant, Dapper Labs previously auctioned a digital garment called Iridescence on the blockchain for 9,500 dollars (see figure 1) (Fingas, 2019). Of course, it is never like purchasing a costume in a video game; the designers will ‘customize’ it to your specifications based on a photograph. However, its status as a blockchain asset makes it distinctive and valuable in the same way that cryptocurrency does. Additionally, it is based on the two-dimensional designs used in traditional clothing, meaning that a real-world counterpart might be created.
It seems absurd, and it is, to a certain extent. However convincing the outfit seems, the illusion crumbles when somebody inquires to see it in person. And when it may price as much as genuine luxury clothing, one may wonder if investing so much money on something so ethereal is a wise investment. Nonetheless, there is some logic behind it. For instance, it is ecologically beneficial. Why waste fabric on garments you may only dress up a few times? And for other individuals who maintain several online identities, this method spices up their impression without buying actual clothing. They are not limited by physical rules, as the fabric is.
Figure 1: A $9,500 Virtual ‘Dress’ (Fingas, 2019, p. 1).
In conclusion, fashion has transformed from a reaction to societal shifts to an expression of an individual’s uniqueness. Fashion is no longer about social ‘conformation.’ One thing has remained constant in fashion over the ages and continues to do so now for those with money. However, virtual fashion is a revolutionary invention since it has altered the clothing industry’s conventional methods. As such, it is more sustainable than conventional fashion.