Forget design sketches on paper and physical samples sent to showrooms. From now on, Tommy Hilfiger’ s design process goes completely digital. The idea is that by 2021, the majority of their clothes will remain digital until they are actually sold or appear on the runway, Vogue Business reports. The expectation is that the digital process will decrease waste, save money and speed up the going to market-process, Vogue Business reports.
This is highly interesting as this method has been fairly absent from the fashion world so far, with just a few of exceptions such as Swedish fashion brand Atacac.
But change is coming, and it’s coming in the wake of climate change and the growing insight within the industry that the means of production has to transform in a big way.
As for the Tommy Hilfiger brand, they also harbour plans to try digital clothing. The plan is to let customers try on clothes in shop windows, using Augmented Reality or buy digital versions of the clothes to dress online avatars.
The Ralph Lauren corporation has partnered with industrial group Avery Dennison and software platform Evrythng to digitize its entire product line, starting with their Polo products, The MDS reports. This means Ralph Lauren will implement its products with the Everythng RFID tags to make them traceable.
When scanning a tag on the product label of an item with a smartphone, a consumer can confirm the item is in fact authentically Ralph Lauren, and can get everything from product details to styling tips. But more importantly, consumers can get some insight into the supply chain. Which is probably a good move as transparency and traceability in brands are becoming more and more in demand with consumers.
“The application of this technology means every Polo product will be ‘born-digital’ which represents a new milestone in data intelligence innovation in our sector.”, the company stated in a press release.
Photo cred: Screenshot from from Ralph Lauren/Avery Dennison press releases.
Two Swedish clothing brands, Asket and Lindex, are now joining the recommerce initiative Switching Gear to explore circular business models, Fashion United reports. In addition, the brands will also connect with a network of rental and recommerce experts. The menswear brand Asket already stands out with their philosophy. With only one permanent collection, every piece can be traced back to their origin in every step. The items also come with stain, repair and care guides.
– We want to continue to lead by example and see that a recommerce or rental business model would allow us to take our mission to change the way we consume clothes and reduce waste even further. Joining Switching Gear will fast track our thinking, and we are excited for the collaboration opportunities that come with the Switching Gear Enabling Network, says August Bard-Bringeus, Co-founder at Asket.
Lindex on their hand, being a traditional clothing retailer, set a sustainability promise earlier this year where they they included climate action, circular business model and water responsibility along with a promise to make sure all their materials are 100 % recycled or sustainably sourced by 2025. Last week the brand also launched a rental collaboration with rental service Something Borrowed, where they will rent out items from their Extended collection.
The Switching Gear project is a C&A Foundation supported initiative, led by Circle Economy. Other members of the Fashion for Good partnered project is ThredUP, RePack, Eileen Fisher, Style Lend, Lizee and The Renewal Workshop.
Adidas is joining the growing crowd of clothing brands that sell products in games. Now the sporting brand has teamed up with Dick’s Sporting Goods to sponsor the first Snapchat video game ”Baseball’s next level” where players can buy products directly. In the game, that uses the eight-bit graphics common in games in the 70’s and 80’s, players can buy limited edition retro style shoes inspired by those games; mobile Marketer reports.
The game can be played inside the app until the end of this month, coinciding with the Major League Baseball Playoffs and the world series
But this is not the only thing Adidas is doing in this space at the moment. In August, they signed the gamer Tyler ”Ninja” Blevins, in their first esports sponsorship. Last year they sponsored a AR lens inside Snapchat where users could try on shoes virtually. The lens also allows users to decorate their selfies and pictures with digital imagery before sharing.
Fashion sample collections are used to finalize designs, to show potential buyers and to assure consistency within the final production. Just as regular collections, the pre-consumer ones require a lot of resources to produce and are flown across the world –usually just to be discarded after use.
But what if you could opt out from this step completely? What if digital samples could be a sustainable option?
Several players in the fashion game are turning to technology to try new ways of approaching this. Dutch digital fashion startup The Fabricant create digital only clothing items and their idea, among other things, is to show that is possible to eliminate the need of physical samples an instead use digital samples.
The Brooke Roberts Innovation Agency (BRIA) is up to something similar. During a digital fashion installation at London Fashion Week recently, they showed how to both create hyper-realistic items digitally and fit them on digital avatars. Doing this, they even experienced greater accuracy than with physical fittings.
The 3D design tools of today offer great possibilities, the users claim. Not just photo-realistic renders of the garment, but also movement: with the help of animation you can add movement, drape and stretch, key elements in a design process.
But completely without the textile waste.
Complete digital wardrobes might still be a few steps into the future, but digital samples could actually be an important first step, offering at least part of a solution for a big industry problem.
Is the age of Instagram and Snapchat over? Not necessarily. But they have recently gained some competition by video platform TikTok, where users can create och share videos. It’s popularity has spread rapidly especially in China and USA, particularly among Generation Z and Millennial users.
Brands now see opportunities rising, and much so because of shopping functionalities within the TikTok app, The Current Daily reports. These include a shopping widget that lets users shop directly in the app, the Shop Now button.
Several brands have now taken to TikTok to promote their products. For instance Japanese brand Uniqlo who teamed up with TikTok to promote their spring/summer collection by encouraging users to upload videos of them wearing their favourite outfits from the collection and the chance to get their video played in store.
Luxury brand Burberry on their hand, challenged users to upload videos of them attempting to make the TB hand gesture, to mimic the newly instated Thomas Burberry monogram. Ralph Lauren and Hollister are other brands trying to tap into these opportunities.
Naturally brands are going to use whatever social platform that is currently in vogue to promote their products. But are they considering who they are talking to here?
Generation Z are the ones actually leading the fight for the climate right now, taking to the streets – and to TikTok under the #Globalwarning hashtag – demanding change. (And change need to happen especially within the fashion industry.)
Pushing new products and encouraging increased consumption seems slightly tone deaf considering this.
Photo: Screen shot from Appstore.
Gucci is doing it. So is Prada and Louis Vuitton. Digitizing physical clothing that is, with the goal of testing how digital clothing perform.
A new gaming app premiered about a week ago. It’s called Drest and there users can dress photo realistic avatars in styling challenges. The startup have so far recruited 100 brands, apart from the aforementioned Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton, also Stella McCartney, Valentino and Burberry and many others. And more are to come before the official launch in 2020, Vouge Business reports.
App games and video games are now seen as as a way to reach consumers, since players are already used to dressing their avatars digitally. Louis Vuitton recently actually became the first luxury brand to enter a game. In ”League of Legends” they offered in-game ”skins” and a corresponding collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière.
Unfortunately it seems like brands are primarily using this new approach to fashion to drive sales of physical products, rather than creating virtual clothing collections. In Drest, users can then buy the clothes they dressed the avatar in, at online luxury retail platform Farfetch.
I think it’s a real pity to use this opportunity for that, in times of climate crisis and the fashion industry’s need to drastically change. Why not grab the chance to try something new?
Let’s hope the experts are right when they claim that digital clothing will become more popular eventually.