Home > User Experience > Why Digital Clothing is 2021’s Most Exciting Tech Trend | by Taylor Ball | Jan, 2021

Why Digital Clothing is 2021’s Most Exciting Tech Trend | by Taylor Ball | Jan, 2021

Why Digital Clothing is 2021’s Most Exciting Tech Trend | by Taylor Ball | Jan, 2021

Screen capture of Dress-X’s website (Courtesy of Dress-X)

The Technology Isn’t Quite There… Yet!

At the moment, digital fashion firms rely on employees digitally fitting the outfits to a client’s photo. This process of “digital dressing” typically uses 3D modelling software. Some firms use CGI software to digitally edit or “fit” the clothes onto the customer.

“The technology, in general, is not there yet to recognize a body to implement [digital dressing],” explains Natalia Modenova, the co-founder of Dress-X¹⁹. “The AI is not there to entirely automate this process.”

Digital dressing is by no means instantaneous. For example, it takes the firm Tribute between three and five hours to customize the digital garment to one’s photo.

However, technology will quickly improve.

Think of how bad those first few Snapchat filters were.

I’m excited for the day where you can stream a video while wearing a digital outfit.

It’s Expensive

It’s already hard to justify buying an expensive piece of clothing that you can wear in real life. If it wasn’t, exploitive and unsustainable fast fashion wouldn’t be popular.

(I’m as guilty as anybody for indulging in fast fashion, so no judgment!)

In general, we undervalue digital goods. One study found we’re only willing to pay $1 for a digital photo, yet we’ll pay $3 for a physical image²⁰. Another study found we are willing to pay more for a physical copy of a book ($9.59 on average) than a digital version ($6.94)²¹.

You may think the average person is not going to buy clothing that they can’t actually wear.

Yet, once you consider the potential price of the digital item, this may change.

You may not spend $40 on a digital top, but you might spend $5.

Remember, there is a proven market for digital fashion…

Yes, gamers buy skins for their in-game avatars.

(As I said, it’s expected to be a $50 billion USD industry.)

But, gamers are not alone. Members of Zwift, an indoor cycling app, use the in-game currency to purchase biking gear for their digital avatars²². These brand-loyal cyclists often want their digital selves to use the same brands and products that they use in real life.

Zwift provides its cyclists with the ability to customize their avatar with their favourite brands (Courtesy of Zwift)

It is undoubtedly a bizarre idea.

Having a digital wardrobe is something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

However, the same thing was said when our parents fantasized about calling their friends through their wristwatches. Today, there’s a whole industry of smartwatches that connect people across the globe.

While I don’t plan on switching to an entirely virtual wardrobe anytime soon, the concept of digital fashion has caught my attention.

I see my online persona as an extension of myself.

As a way of curating how I want to be seen.

I am most excited about the possibilities digital fashion provides for self-expression and sustainability.

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