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Building a More Sustainable Future with Digital Fashion

Social media and fast fashion brands have led to overconsumption as well as encouraging a consumerism and throw-away culture among consumers. Social media has provided the opportunity for consumers to purchase and post about the endless flow of fashion trends; supported by fast fashion brands who have made these trends easily attainable. Fast fashion brands are renowned for selling clothes for low prices by exploiting cheap labour and using materials of poor quality that are unrecyclable or harmful to the environment.

As consumers have become increasingly aware of the detrimental impact of fast fashion, they are now looking to help the issue by consuming less and shopping sustainably. This is where Digital Fashion comes into play. Digital fashion is as much an adaptation as it is an innovation; it is the visual representation of clothing that is created using computer technology and 3D software.

Recently, the fashion industry has been utilising technology to overcome issues such as the harm fast fashion has caused to the environment, but also to provide consumers with new and exciting experiences. We have been introduced to Digital Fashion through many verticals. Virtual dressing rooms allow consumers to try products on themselves virtually; due to the pandemic we’ve also seen virtual fashion shows including a Virtual Fashion Week. In 2019, the debut of a collaboration between League of Legends and Louis Vuitton offered unique skins within a Louis Vuitton branded game and resulted in the production of physical pieces. Many other luxury brands have followed in their footsteps but is Digital Fashion more sustainable?

Virtual garments can reduce your carbon footprint from 56kg to 7kg along with reducing sample lead time from 21-28 days to 1-3 days (based on 3 sample iteration rounds). The production of a white cotton shirt, for example, emits 10.75 kg of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere while its digital counterpart emits in comparison, a mere 0.312kg of CO2 emissions. It has been estimated that Digital Fashion can go as far as reducing emissions by 95%, indicating that it could be a great solution to help the fashion industry become more sustainable.

Research has found that the carbon emissions from the travel undertaken by buyers and designers to attend the four major fashion weeks (New York, London, Paris, and Milan) amounted to 241,000 tonnes of CO2e. This is equivalent to 51,000 cars on the road or lighting the Eiffel Tower for 3,060 years. As previously mentioned, Fashion Weeks across the globe were cancelled in 2020 and were partly online and in-person in 2021. Their online presence reduced the amount of travel for staff and guests, consequently reducing travel pollution.

3D puffer coat

The pandemic has urged the fashion industry to find new ways to overcome the negative effects it had on business and has resulted in the implementation of technology solutions. Digital Fashion is becoming increasingly popular due to not only its accessibility during the pandemic but the positive environmental impact on issues such as pollution and fabric waste. Virtual showrooms for fashion wholesalers are also a more sustainable solution compared to visiting physical showrooms. BrandLab360 is a company utilising CGI and 3D rendering techniques to replicate a business's current physical environment or build a brand-new bespoke brand experience, including virtual showrooms and virtual stores. BrandLab360’s virtual environments allow users to create assortments and walk through the virtual environment without restriction to location or time. Brands are now able to present remotely again, reducing waste materials and transportation pollution.


Have you ever purchased a digital garment, or would you consider doing so?

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