Woman wearing real clothes and digital clothes

Digital Fashion

A step towards sustainability?

Social IssuesTech and the online world
By VoiceBox ·


Samreen is a recent literature graduate from India with a minor in psychology. When she's not reading, she's either hanging out with her cats or picking up a new hobby every week.

Digital fashion: a step towards sustainability?

It is no secret that the fashion industry is a major contributor to the climate crisis. 10 percent of all global greenhouse emissions can be attributed to this industry. If the carbon footprint of producing just one t-shirt wasn’t huge enough, in the age of Instagram, most people who have already worn an outfit online prefer not to wear it again. These clothes either end up getting resold or, in most cases, thrown away.

It is estimated that 73% of all our clothing ends up in a landfill. 2020 saw almost 18.6 million tonnes of textile waste.

With climate change becoming a more significant threat every passing day, there has been more pressure than ever on both the industry and the consumers to shift towards sustainability. The opposing force to this includes major fast fashion companies focused on increasing their profits at the cost of the environment and the growing influencer culture that refuses to re-wear a clothing item that they’ve already been seen in.

 Could there be a solution that combines staying up to the latest trends and being mindful of the environment? The answer is digital fashion.

Digital fashion consists of clothes made from 3D software and computer technology. Digital clothes can’t be worn tangibly but can instead be worn through pixels.

Companies such as DressX offer a range of designers and garments to choose from, along with 3D renderings to help with your decision. You send in a photo of you, and their team of 3D designers Photoshop the garment on you. It is then ready to be uploaded on any social media platform.

Size inclusivity has been a problem with a lot of major brands like Brandy Melville, which claims to have ‘one size fits all’ clothing that only fits up to size medium while leaving out the rest of the population. Meanwhile, digital fashion can genuinely claim to be one size fits all. It caters to all body types. These clothes are also not restricted by location, meaning they are available to everyone around the globe, further reducing the carbon emission that comes from transporting garments to different countries. The carbon footprint of producing one digital item of clothing is reportedly 95% lower than any average clothing item.

This concept is also being applied in the regular fashion industry, where several brands such as PUMA have adopted methods to prototype their products digitally, reducing the waste and carbon created from physical product creation.

When we think about it, digital fashion might seem like a bizarre trend from the future where people spend huge amounts of money on things that are not tangible, but it is not a new concept at all.

Digital clothes or “skins” have always been a part of video games, and it is a booming industry. The gaming monetization firm DMarket estimates the gaming skin market to be worth $40 billion a year and predicts it will only continue growing. It might seem absurd to outsiders, but gamers are passionate about them. To them, these customizations offer a way to channel their creativity and a way to express themselves.

The same idea can be tweaked slightly and applied to us. In the realm of digital fashion, we become the game avatars ourselves and can choose to have any look customized onto us. Suddenly an entire world of opportunities opens up. In the age of digital media, with an infinite amount of resources available at our fingertips, why should our clothing options be finite? 

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