Digital Fashion in Blockchain. Is it a new era of fashion?

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Irreplaceable tokens (NFT) may be bothering the trillion-dollar fashion industry, but NFT is only part of a much bigger puzzle that is revolutionizing the sector. Instead, blockchain technology as a whole continues to change the game for the fashion industry.

While blockchain-based supply chains served as some of the earliest use cases of how technology could help detect fraudulent items, digital wearable devices built on blockchain networks are now beginning to be used. Megan Kaspar, co-founder and CEO of Magnetic – a private company for investment and incubation in crypto and blockchain – told Cointelegraph that digital fashion is a very powerful example of the use of blockchain technology. However, she noted that many brands are still unaware of the value that blockchain can provide in creating new business models.

The rise of digital fashion and its impact

To explain the great opportunities that blockchain can bring to today’s world of fashion, Kaspar pointed out that all brands will initially move to the “first digital” model in the near future:

“Here, collections are first created digitally, either in-house or outsourced. The digital-first process reduces the time, energy, and capital no longer required to preview collections before production. The digital collection can then be transferred to photographs by digital tailoring. “

To put this in perspective, Kaspar was recently featured on the cover of the January issue High life. It was unique in the sense that it was the first cover of a fashion magazine in the United States to showcase digital luxury designer clothing on man. Furthermore, High life the cover features QR codes that create augmented reality test features that allow readers to scan barcodes to see what each digital piece presented could look like. Designs created by Fendi and digitized by DressX can then be purchased directly on the Fendi website.

Megan Kaspar on the cover of Haute Living in January 2022 in a Fendi digital suit. Source: Haute Living

Although it is innovative from a marketing standpoint, there are other benefits to digital fashion. For example, Adrienne Faurote, fashion director at High life, she remarked in her post story that “the days of sending more than 20 suitcases of clothes around the world” are over. This is an important point to keep in mind, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a number of problems in the supply chain, such as ship congestion worldwide.

It is also important to note that a blockchain network is not necessary when it comes to digital models. Daria Shapovalova, co-founder of DressX, told Cointelegraph that while Fendi clothes worn by Kaspar on the cover High life are fully digital, not NFT:

“With this first digital cover in the USA, we wanted to promote digital fashion to ordinary audiences, making Fendi AR’s testing capabilities available to everyone – for free. On the other hand, issuing items as NFT would mean that digital assets and AR would belong only to NFT holders, which would significantly limit the audience’s ability to interact with digital clothing.

According to Shapovalova, while NFT can bring many opportunities to the digital fashion industry, such as providing a sense of belonging and a lack of effect, this was not what DressX intended to achieve with this specific campaign. Kamal Hotchandani, chief operating officer of Haute Media Group, added that High life the cover shows how the main publishing functions are moving into the digital landscape, with an increase in available-for-purchase editorials and augmented reality (AR) testing capabilities.

However, when blockchain capabilities are used for this mix, the benefits are much greater. For example, blockchain technology enables Web3 e-commerce between digital and physical objects.

Justin Banon, co-founder of the Boson Protocol – a decentralized trading platform – told Cointelegraph that the company has developed a core layer for Web3 that allows smart contracts to conduct e-commerce transactions in virtual, metaverse environments. Because of the capabilities provided by smart contracts in the Boson blockchain network, Banon said the trust issues that could arise in the metaverse setting can be solved:

“For example, if an individual entered a metaverse and came across another avatar selling a car, we may wonder how this transaction would be secure. The Boson protocol serves as a layer of trust between the metaverse and the universe, as it allows the sale of NFTs with coded game theory that can then be redeemed for real-world objects.

Blockchain, which serves as a trusted layer among Web3 merchant transactions, is crucial here, especially as large publishers such as Nike and Adidas set up stores in metaverse. Digitization of items like NFT becomes the next step needed to sell goods in virtual environments that bring additional functionality.

Kaspar, for example, explained that digital collections can be sold exclusively as NFT and then created later if the customer wants to have physical items: Limited edition and on-demand production could be a by-product of Web3.

Banon added that 2021 will focus primarily on brands that sell NFT fashion, and this year there will be increased pressure on “digital physical” or “digital”. According to Banon, this is when brands sell physical fashion items in Web3 ecosystems linked to NFT counterparts. “Also think of physical sneakers with a wearable version of NFT,” Banon said. That was recently proven crypto fashion house RTFKT, as the company collaborated with “CryptoPunks” in the production of 10,000 NFT sneakers. For each “CryptoPunk” released, one pair of custom sneakers was created and then given to be worn by its rightful owner.

The transparency provided by the blockchain network is also useful. Kaspar, for example, pointed out that fashion drops with a limited series attract certain consumers. Thus, it is possible to understand how many items actually exist in a blockchain network when sold as digitized NFT. This was shown recently when Dolce & Gabbana unveiled their nine-part collection “Collezione Genesi” NFT.

Although the Fendi collection is presented in High lifeThe January 2022 issue was not NFT, Natalia Modenova, co-founder of DressX, told Cointelegraph that irreplaceable tokens will provide the next layer of usability in the fashion industry:

“NFTs maximize opportunities and open up new areas for self-expression and creativity. We compare NFT to high-end fashion or haute couture, because it provides a sense of belonging, the effect of deprivation and a sense of luxury that would not otherwise be achieved in the digital world. “

How soon will digital fashion be adopted?

While digital first models are able to provide many advantages to the fashion industry, there are challenges that can hinder adoption. For example, although it is noticeable how realistic the Fendi digital collection in Kaspar is, the amount of work required to create such an effect is enormous.

Up to this point, Modena said the process of digitizing clothing always depends on the materials provided by the brand. “All nine of Fendi’s dresses have been digitized from photographs, recreating from scratch the fabrics, patterns and silhouettes of luxury clothing in 3D space,” Kaspar said, adding that all elements of fashion design – such as shape, color, space, shape, texture, etc. – play a fundamental role in the digitization of clothing to create the perfect visual design. As such, this process requires professionalism, which may be difficult to achieve as space is still emerging.

Related: Unlocking accessory crucial for fashion brands launching NFT in 2022

This challenge does not seem to affect the role that blockchain is likely to continue to play in the fashion sector. Hotchandani remarked that we were moving forward, High life intends to convert all magazine covers to NFT. “Our covers are works of art and content relevant to that moment, so I think creating NFTs on our covers gives our art another expression and a lasting home in a chain of blocks.”

Modena pointed out that the rise of the metaverse has led to “metamodo”, noting that digital assets that were once used only for gambling are now designed to dress people’s digital versions:

“People from the technological and gaming background are quickly understanding this, and now the mainstream is starting to actively follow suit. This is a common pattern that emerges when innovative products are launched. Load-bearing devices are the most natural extension of the metaverse and the most important pillar of the metaverse economy.

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