Can Digital Fashion and the Metaverse Help the Fashion Industry Become More Sustainable?

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Digital fashion is still difficult to understand for a lot of people who consume fashion or work in the industry. Common questions include “Why would I buy clothing that only exists in the digital world?” or “How could digital clothing give an experience compared to physical clothing?” Most of the questions are about the relevance of the digital fashion experience compared to a physical one. But comparing the footprint, the production of physical and digital clothes differs.

According to DressX, the production of digital clothing emits 97% less CO2 than the production of physical clothing. Digital clothing on average saves 3,300 liters of water per item. According to The Fabricant, replacing physical samples with digital samples during the design and development phases reduces the brand’s carbon footprint by up to 30%. In operations nowadays, the digital clothing version can be a good fit in multiple steps —creation, modeling, sampling, marketing, and (pre-)selling —taken before producing the physical version, reducing the environmental impact of the operation.

Via pre-selling modes, digital fashion can help to resolve the issue of overproduction (in my opinion, one of the greatest problems to be fixed). But other questions have great relevance to making all this happen: What about the consumer behavior? Will they buy without seeing or trying a physical version? The answer is that yes, most of them will, but it depends on the audience.

Digital Styles for Self-Expression

The generation matters! We are in a transition time. Gen Z and millennials will have an easier transition. Digital natives are well accustomed to the gaming world, social media, and e-commerce. It’s also important to understand that digital fashion is a different world from traditional fashion, but the value is similar for purposes of self-expression and self-identification. Depending on the consumer, they can even be interested in buying only the digital version.

That justifies the advancement of the Web3 and metaverse games. These young consumers are buying digital arts and clothes as NFTs and skins. It is becoming more and more natural.

At IMPT! we saw this as an opportunity to amplify our DNA expression. The majority of our target audience is younger than 25 years old. To these digital natives, the physical expression of the products is amazing. But we can land much more by exploring the digital experience and entering the Web3 and crypto world.

So we created the NFT project The CRIAS inspired by the contemporary Black artists’ movement, street fashion, and the aesthetics of the peripheral carioca style. The CRIAS is an NFT project consisting of 1,000 unique collectible characters that expresses IMPT!’s pride in our multicultural and local identity that reaches worldwide.

The CRIAS, the first 160 characters released by IMPT!

We added some characteristics to our project that we believe can contribute to the NFT and crypto art scene: A focus on aesthetics and representation, a clear social impact on the real world, a fashion integrated service with our physical collection that reaches worldwide, and a commitment to net zero. We have a lot of plans and possibilities in this new front and are excited to execute them.

Overcoming Misconceptions to Shape the Future

In discussions about the metaverse, we’ve found there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions, including concerns about amplifying negative impact. It is in the early-early stage and everyone who enters now is adding something to what it will become.

Now is the time to add and collaborate to make it better — and different from the traditional and established environment of Web2. The majority of the Web3 projects share values such as community-driven, collaboration, decentralization, and creativity. A lot of creators are pushing the bar to more democratization and wealth distribution to artists. Look at the possibility that blockchain technology will change the way contracts are made, and even the track of the supply chain.

The metaverse has been a trending topic in fashion in the last year, creating valid optimistic and pessimistic perspectives. While it might be too early for you or your business to start in this world, explore and learn more as it applies to your area of expertise. At some point, it will become the norm because of the change in generations. Don’t be afraid, just make your contribution! | Victor Hugo Ramos

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