Digital fashion does NOT have the potential to become mainstream

April 12, 2022

Could+digital+fashion+become+mainstream%3F+Some+students+say+no%21

Sophia Liu ('24)

Could digital fashion become mainstream? Some students say no!

Ever seen an influencer with an outfit digitally placed onto them? Me neither—until today. This is a part of something called digital fashion, something that’s become possible in recent years due to the rise in gaming, online presence, and now, NFTs. It’s argued that digital fashion is a rising trend that will soon insert itself into the mainstream fashion scene, but many more factors point towards the contrary.

Digital fashion, as defined by This Outfit Does Not Exist, is composed of three categories: physical clothing with a digital backend, digital clothing for the physical being, and digital clothing for digital avatars. Despite the ever-increasing use of technology and rapidly changing clothing trends, I believe digital clothing will not—or, at least, not for many, many years—become part of the mainstream fashion culture.

Primarily, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that digital fashion is useless in the real world. An outfit you can’t physically wear will never compare to physical clothing. Sure, digital outfits may be fun to play around with (online fashion games like Moviestarplanet that were popular with kids years ago proves this) and sizing is never an issue with digital fashion, but they’re not clothes at the end of the day. Everyone moves on from an Instagram post, but when it comes to your next interview, meeting, date night, or even what you’ll wear tomorrow, your options lie with what’s in your wardrobe at home.

The “Davinda Dress”, a digital fashion item by Digitalax, is currently being sold for $5993.01. (Courtesy of fashion.digitalax.xyz)

This is not to mention that digital fashion is unreasonably expensive and unsustainable. Big digital fashion marketers like DressX and Digitalax sell these products straight from their websites; on DressX, products range from $25.00 to $65.00, and on Digitalax, where pieces are sold for thousands of dollars. Its current most expensive item, the Davinda Dress (see right), is being sold for a whopping $5993.01. Getting involved with digital fashion doesn’t seem like something the majority of Americans would—or can—do. Therefore, the digital fashion industry has no large place in mainstream fashion as of now.

The reason why digital fashion can uphold itself is because they’re typically minted into NFTs, which are profitable but widely criticized. Many argue that NFTs are unlikely to die in the near future, but others argue that the NFT industry has no long-term value. Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam, for instance, warned that 90% of NFTs will be worthless in 3 to 5 years. Similarly to NFTs, which come with incredibly harmful environmental implications, digital fashion does not come without its own digital footprint. If we want to strive for a greener future, this aspect of digital fashion will have to change—or it will simply not work.

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