Between the shows in Milan and Paris, a new event emerged on the fashion calendar this season. While traditional runways had to be replaced by videos due to the pandemic, the first Crypto Fashion Week explored the potential future of fully digital fashion through workshops, speaker talks, and shows.
Bridging the gap between the world of fashion, art, and the digital ‘metaverse,’ artists, designers, and tech experts showcased their latest innovations in the fields of cryptocurrency, blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.
From developing virtual sneakers for more sustainable consumption to people uploading and selling their designs on blockchain marketplaces and the infinite possibilities of digital couture, the event from February 22 till the 26 explored what future trends could look like online and offline.
“In order for digital fashion to establish itself, it needs to have proper experience and ownership of digital goods that can be managed, traded, and sold in real life and the metaverse,” Marjorie Hernandez, the co-founder of fashion blockchain company Lukso, said in a talk.
She also co-founded The Dematerialised, a Web3 marketplace for authenticated digital fashion. One of its digital sweaters on the site, HexJerzo, had already been sold over 100 times with only a few pieces remaining.
What can digital fashion be?
When the digital realm has become one of the only options for fashion houses to present their latest collections, the crypto fashion week explored the future digital potential and the endless possibilities of creative expression that could far exceed the physical design creations we see today. Instead of just being a placeholder for real fashion items or shows – such as a 3D version of an actual dress – digital fashion items are already being purchased and worn exclusively virtually.
The items presented during video livestreams of crypto fashion week ranged from black sculptural sneakers by digital footwear designers to a white, bone-like amorphic headpiece. Some designers chose to show their pieces on a virtual catwalk, but, unlike in reality, the dress colors were continuously changing and fluorescing. In other shows, it was the models’ glass-like skin, the shifting background landscapes, or the gravity-defying flows of a skirt that explored the limits of creative expression of digital fashion.
“Digital Fashion is the visual representation of clothing built using computer technology and 3D software”, explained AI avatar Kuki in an interview while sporting a jacket from the latest Adidas collaboration with model Karlie Kloss. The chatbot with signature turquoise-colored hair was created by AI company Pandora Bots and could live chat and answer participant’s questions in real-time.
Natalia Modoneva, a founder of DressX, the first fashion multi-brand store featuring digital collections and 3D designers, also joined a talk to explain the power of digital dressing during crypto fashion week. Her team at DressX discovered 9 percent of customers in developed countries only buy new clothes to take a picture and use for content on their social media. The company believes that digital fashion is a way to produce less or not produce at all while still showing off the latest fashion trends.
Is fashion just about clothing?
Sofiane Delloue, the founder of Newlife.Ai, a platform dedicated to cultural research and social creativity, asked an important question: “Is fashion just about clothing?”
He stated that artificial intelligence can play with codes and deconstruct the meaning of fashion, aesthetics, design, creativity, art, and the context that fashion lies in. “Clothing has a different value depending on the context it is worn in. Wearing a tracksuit in a club sends a different message than wearing it at the gym. Through AI, deciphering the context of fashion gives value,” he explained. To date, Newlife.Ai has collaborated with luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Y/Project, Vêtements, Dior, Burberry, and partnered with publishers like Vogue Paris.
Delloue stated that through artificial intelligence a new era of social creativity can take shape, and companies and brands should embrace digital fashion and the new world of design in the future.
Image: Crypto Fashion Week