As the fashion industry continues to grapple with its ongoing sustainability dilemma, many brands are looking for answers in a myriad of ways from eco-friendly fabrics to recycling programs and even stepping away from the cycle of fast fashion entirely. But it looks like the latest trend may be to just cut out physical clothes entirely.
Dutch startup the Fabricant is the latest purveyor of digital couture to grab headlines with the auctioning off of their latest virtual dress to the tune of $9,500. The only catch is that you can't actually physically wear the garment. Titled "Iridescence," the shimmery translucent dress only exists as a digital model that can be overlaid on to a picture you (it's like an Instagram face filter, but high fashion). The owner of the piece can then have a 3D artist tailor the piece to their body, and even make it look like it's rippling in the wind. It's the same concept behind collectible character skins in games like Fortnite, but geared towards an influencer world that's becoming increasingly run-over by CGI models like Lil Miquela and Shudu.
It's also the first garment of its kind to be sold on the Etherium blockchain, and was debuted as a part of the cryptocurrency conference, the Ethereal Summit, in New York. Its status as a digital asset means that the dress will be able to retain value as a virtual object, allowing the owner to trade and sell the piece if they ever feel the desire to part with it. It's a similar idea to the one behind the micro-viral Cryptokitty phenomenon that saw the blockchain-backed collectible soar to hundreds of thousands of dollars in value last year.
For those who might be interested in getting into the world of virtual fashion but aren't quite yet ready to take the $10K plunge, Norwegian brand Carlings' line, Neo-Ex, offers a more affordable alternative. Ranging in price from 10-30€, the futuristic streetwear-inspired collection was rolled out last November with a campaign fronted by digital model, Perl.