Is Digi-Couture the future of sustainable fashion?

In the age of technology, digital fashion is perhaps the answer to the necessary change within the fashion industry

Interview with Michaela Larosse, Head of Strategy at The Fabricant

The Fabricant Digital Fashion
Source & Copyright by The Fabricant

Author: House of Eden

A conventional T-shirt requires 683 liters of water to manufacture and produces 7,8 kg of CO2. With a digital T-shirt, water consumption is completely eliminated and the CO2 footprint shrinks to 0,26 kg. This also reduces environmental pollution from the processing of toxic chemicals in the design and production phase from 12.300 kg to 0,692 kg. Accordingly, digital fashion has the edge when it comes to sustainability. However, the fashion industry is particularly bogged down in terms of innovation and digitization.

Michaela Larosse, Head of Strategy at The Fabricant explained to us in an interview what is behind the playful approach of digital couture and what the future potential looks like.

Digital fashion as a world saver?

The physical fashion industry has many longstanding problems such as environmental pollution, exploitation of natural resources and unethical work practices across the supply chain. According to The Fabricant, these do not exist at Digital Couture, or only to a much lesser extent. "A rethink in the entire industry is long overdue. Digital fashion stands for a radical change in mentality and questions how we think and experience fashion in the current technological age. A new, unlimited range of creative expressions is opening up for designers and fashion fans ", explains Michaela Larosse.

digital fashion look by the fabricant

Source & Copyright by The Fabricant

Digital Couture: more than just digital clothing

This innovation is a means of expressing one's own identity in non-physical space. "In a few years, we'll have avatars or digital twins that will allow us to interact and act in the metaverse." The Fabricant is currently developing a collaborative digital fashion platform that aims to recalibrate the way we create and operate fashion.

"A key part of our belief system is the democratisation of fashion creation, where anyone has the capacity to design garments and iterate their own digital fashion brand making clothing for the non-physical space," explains Michaela Larosse. It is a completely new way of thinking, in which, above all, exclusivity and responsibility for the aesthetics of a brand lie with a single "author".

Analog fashion industry at a standstill with digitization

In the eyes of Michaela Larosse, traditional fashion is very resistant to change and stuck in the old way of thinking. "The fashion industry is the last creative branch to digitally transform, while film, music and photography all have a well-established digital culture." However, the pandemic contributed to an acceleration. The fashion industry must recognize the need to focus more on younger generations.

Gen Z in particular demand a more sustainable and accessible fashion world. Michaela Larosse has clear words on this: "This generation are real digital natives who don't know anything about a world before technology. If physical brands are to remain relevant, they have to accelerate their digital transformation in order to address their future target groups."

Source & Copyright by The Fabricant

What is still missing for digital fashion to catch on?

Digital fashion is already well established within he world of gamification. "Digital couture takes this idea and runs with it to a much higher level of finish and detail," explains Michaela Larosse. Physical fashion brands understood that global sales for in-game purchases are huge and are now evolving in this area. Michaela Larosse believes that change is possible in the near future, as soon as the necessary technology is ready. She expects this to happen in early 2022.

"Essentially it requires full body digital filters that allow you to simply wear a digital garment on screen. It will take a little more time to develop the visual experience to this level but the software is moving pretty fast." These are progressive versions of applications like Snapchat, where you can see yourself with cat ears immediately. For digital fashion, you should be able to try on the garment with one click and to rotate by 360 ​​°. The fabric should move nicely and fall naturally, just as the design suggests.

Digital fashion as a kind of crypto art

The work behind Digital Couture has strong points of contact with the world of crypto art: "Like crypto art, digital fashion has also become a new type of digital collector's item, which can be traded as a kind of visual crypto currency with its own market and value." But digitalization of the fashion industry would also bring some advantages in analog everyday life:

"On a more day to day basis, physical fashion brands hope to resolve the waste issue around returns and exchanges with digital try-ons that make it easier to see how garments fit. There’s also understanding from consumers that digital clothing allows them to try on more playful garments that would be impossible in the real world which they can share on social media," explains Michaela Larosse.

Source & Copyright by The Fabricant

Legacy brands benefit from digital collaboration

Collaboration with the analog world enables complex supply chains to be disentangled: "When we work with physical brands, we intervene digitally in their supply chain. We use 3D sampling techniques or create digital marketing assets for their collections. Both of these contribute help to reduce their carbon footprint and optimize the use of resources. " It is to be hoped that traditional brands would begin to redirect parts of their inventory into digital items. "The circumstances on our planet demand that we rethink our ideas about property and consumption," says Michaela Larosse.

New blockchain technology reduces controversial energy consumption

Continuously following the discussion about Blockchain, DeFi and NFTs is essential as a creator in the digital world. "At the moment, a protocol called Proof-of-Work is used to mint a piece on the blockchain, which is very energy-intensive. But very soon, towards the end of 2021, there will be a transition to a new validation protocol on the Ethereum blockchain called Provide proof-of-stake. " This would entail a huge reduction in energy consumption that could reduce the current impact by more than 90%. Larosse believes this is a radical change in terms of the unsustainability of NFTs.

On the way towards the democratization of the fashion industry

In digital fashion, too, pricing depends on factors within the value chain. It concerns aspects such as expenditure of time, skills and uniqueness. Michaela Larosse explains the process as follows: "One of our single edition collectible digital couture pieces is highly labour intensive and of course very rare. It involves our entire team of digital fashion designers, 3D environment creators and visual effects people to be involved in its creation, reaching a movie industry level of finish."

However, The Fabricant follows the philosophy of giving everyone access to digital fashion. "Digital fashion needs to be a co-creation space that defies the current fashion status quo and feels welcoming to everyone so they can freely express their identity in virtual worlds." A new industry is to be created that is appropriate for the 21st century and beyond. “Operating at the intersection of fashion and tech means our work is constantly evolving, so all possibilities are open as new advancements in software allow us to reimagine new ways to express ourselves. It’s an exciting and creative place to be."

Thank you for the interview Michaela Larosse!

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Michalea Larosse

Author: Michaela Larosse

Michaela Larosse is Head of Strategy at the digital fashion house The Fabricant. With the new digital platform, it should be possible in the future to realize hyper-realistic fashion experiences. Through many years of experience in concept development and her studies in creative writing, Michaela Larosse succeeds in convincing brands of the technology behind digital couture and in promoting the change to a more sustainable fashion industry.

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