Fashion and art, in my opinion, are inseparable. ‘Fashion is self-expression that can never be separated from the trend of a particular time, place, context, and culture,’ Leung said in an interview with ArtsHub. ‘ Is it possible to have this in both the digital and physical world?’
Fashion NFT collaboration between INJURY and REAL PARENT titled ‘Extended Dreams’ The picture that you see here was provided by the author.
It is this desire for multifaceted online identities ‘in a form that couldn’t have existed in the real physical world,’ according to Leung, that is driving the rise of digital fashion.
Metaverse Reinvent Fashion
‘Non-wearable fashion opens many questions – what is fashion?’ said Oscar Keene, a self-taught digital fashion designer and finalist for the iD International Emerging Designer of the Year award in 2021. Why do we put on the clothes we do? When we use our bodies as the basis for a garment, be it digital or physical, what are we advertising? When it comes to digital fashion, why are we so quickly creating exclusivity in a digital space that is, for all intents and purposes, limitless and infinitely repeatable?’
‘NFTs are creating the illusion of exclusivity that luxury products rely on, but I would love to see a future digital fashion landscape populated by raw creativity involving shapes, silhouettes, and textures unobtainable in the physical world, and open for all to adopt into their digital media presence,’ said Keene.
To borrow from Leung, ‘I think the interesting thing is that, instead of digital fashion imitating what we already have physically, digital fashion will make an impact on the physical fashion world,’ she says. This is a trend that I’m already noticing.’
Delving more deeply into the topic of digital fashion’s impact on our visual culture necessitates an examination of fashion’s relationship to art, identity, and cultural influence.
Reasons for the rise of Digital Fashion
A zero-waste option
According to Keene, ‘From a designer’s perspective, digital fashion creation allows for extensive, realistic experimentation with fabrics and silhouettes that for any number of reasons would not be possible with physical material and financial limitations’ This could reduce waste, eliminate the risk of dead stock, and save money on studio space, models, and photographers.
Both Leung and Keene believe that the digital fashion industry has opened up new doors for cross-disciplinary collaborations in the fields of art, music, and film.
Keene went on to say that the digital approach allows designers to pitch their collections to customers in an engaging and interactive way, as well as providing greater accessibility.
There are no limitations on how many avatars can wear the digital equivalents of expensive and elaborate couture garments, according to Keene. “It absolutely accommodates all body types, even those that do not exist in the real world, and inches towards manifestation of transhumanism through fashion,” he said. It’s not just designers who can experiment in the digital world, but also the people who use it.
It is possible to redefine self-expression in the digital era because of the infinite possibilities offered by the digital dimension. We can be anything from jelly-shaped organisms to robotic humanoids in the digital world, and fashion can be wearable pieces or just a body shape and textual form, said Leung.
However, Leung is optimistic that technological advancements will one day allow for more sensory experiences in digital fashion. Virtual reality (VR) and sensory technologies, which are rapidly evolving, may one day open up new possibilities for sensory experiences that are impossible in the real world. We believe that in the near future, digital sense and taste will emerge.
According to Leung, the “digital reality” will be an avant-garde “Aura” dress with a pleasant perfume pairing and an out-of-this-world hand-feel.
In the metaverse, what does fashion mean?
According to Leung, who is used to working with subcultures, the concept and purpose of fashion can be vastly different in the digital world, opening it up to completely new cultures that exist solely online.
“Like the diversity between physical garments like haute couture or ready-to wear, and between physical runways like ultra conceptual or purely commercial, designers and their labels are increasingly able to decide how they want to use this burgeoning digital space,” says Keene. “This is an unmissable opportunity for designers. “I believe that digital spaces play an interesting and evolving role in the balancing act between commerce and art,” he says. “They allow for a never before experienced level of development and engagement with the conceptual framework.”
While the NFT gold rush is taking place, I maintain that adopting digital fashion into their practises allows artists and designers to freely and unrestrictedly get their bodies of work directly into the public eye.’
He concluded that the rise of digital fashion ‘challenges what bodies are and how fashion is defined’.
Relationships in digital fashion spaces mirror and influence relationships in physical fashion,’ he explains. What’s the point of bringing the limitations of physical fashion into the world of digital fashion?
We must keep in mind that digital fashion can be for everyone, and that exclusivity in the digital landscape is fabricated, manufactured, and divisive, while the digital space itself only has the hierarchies we impose on it, according to Keene’s final conclusion.