Over the past few weeks, much has been said and written about the fashion world’s reaction to coronavirus. An industry with a global value of 2.5 trillion, held up by a complex and delicate chain of processing, distribution and marketing processes.
The main points of contact between this industry and its consumers is still offline events: fashion shows, showroom presentations and the retail experience. The main appeal of the New Luxury is in fact more psychological than physical: a fashion that loses its fashion shows and its demimonde made of events, boutiques and fashion weeks is a fashion that loses its mystique. In a historical period when these pivotal experiences are no longer feasible, the fashion system must find a way to propose an alternative. In recent months, this alternative has been digital fashion.
In the last month there has been a significant increase in downloads for all apps that allow you to digitally interact with clothes. Apps like Forma and Drest have seen their users increase by 50% in a month.
The current crisis in retail and traditional fashion can become a breeding ground for experimentation. In an article from last November, NSS magazine had talked about a digital dress by the Dutch company The Fabricant.
A few months ago The Fabricant was working in its own niche and accepted only a few commissions from selected clients, today it has important digital projects behind it. The most recent is the collaboration with Napapijri, for which The Fabricant has created an entirely digital campaign, without photographers, models or concrete clothes, saving on physical resources and ensuring a space for creative freedom much greater than what a photoshoot could boast. Something similar happened with the recent digital campaign of Selfridges created by DIGI-GAL. The Rohbau brand recently launched “40th Dresses” – photos of its customers with a series of digital hoodies designed by Central Saint Martins student, Assaf Reeb.
At a time when many voices within the system are wondering if fashion will be the same again after the pandemic is over and when the same players of the fashion system are thinking about how to reconfigure the physiognomy of the industry, digital fashion can certainly propose some alternative solutions, but it must also be considered that the success and longevity of the fashion industry relates to the daily lives of consumers – consumers who, between spending money on a digital hoodie or for a physical one, will tend to buy something they can wear in person and not make the avatar wear or digitally mount on a photograph.
Luxury, is perhaps a frivolous industry, but at the end of the day it is also one of the most concrete ones, one of the most tangible products that you can have and wear without the mediation of any screen.