Fashion has always been a key way to express ourselves in the real world. And now it's beginning to play a critical role in the identities people create online for their digital avatars and personas. Brands are starting to develop products that take this truth even further. Digital clothes, or digitally-enhanced clothes, are the new normal. Take a look at The Garden’s top picks in the world of e-textiles.
IDTechEx forecasts that the market for “e-textiles” will generate more than $2 billion in sales annually by 2029. Like a smart watch, this new Google Jacquard-enabled Levi’s jacket can provide directions, read you the news, alert you of texts and calls, and more. Reviewers are intrigued, but wonder, after testing, if it’s necessary.
On the other hand, the startup Loomia is an e-textiles company who articulates a clear why behind their innovation. Their prototyped heated wool jacket was designed for professional women, who tend to be far colder in offices than men, recent research shows. And, it’s fashionable. Their jacket contains LEL (Loomia Electronic Layer), an e-textile that heats, lights up, transmits data, and senses touch.
Digital goods for use in online spaces aren’t new, necessarily – think of paid features in online gaming. But what happens when you’re buying not for your gaming avatar, but for your Instagram persona? That’s what brands like Carlings are hoping to cash in on. By offering digital-only clothes, they say that their mission is to make trendy fashion available to more people, without the environmental and ethical impacts of fast fashion.
Meanwhile, The Fabricant, a company based in Amsterdam, is leading the market in digital-only high fashion. They specialize in photo-real 3D fashion design and animation to develop digital fashion editorials, digital clothing and collections. The world’s first piece of digital couture created by The Fabricant sold for $9,500 earlier this year. Once you buy a piece from them, you have 28 days to provide a photo of yourself to the designers so they can tailor the digital garment. The unique garment becomes a blockchain digital asset, both clothing and cryptocurrency.