Just a few short months ago, AR-enabled digital fashion seemed to be a fringe concept. While fully-digital garments have been a part of the “metaverse” for quite some time, the tech to support clothing that can be worn in the “real world” using AR technology was not widely available. But today – just a few months later – it seems that AR-enabled digital fashion is at an inflection point.
Very slowly, and then all at once, new tools for creating and monetizing fashion offer the opportunity for creators and designers to build their brands in the metaverse and engage with consumers in entirely new ways. And it’s not just major brands that are joining in the fun – supported by platforms that allow anyone to design AR-enabled digital clothing, independent designers are also entering the space at unprecedented speeds.
This influx of new creative channels is great for futuristic fashionistas who want to sport the latest and greatest looks. But it isn’t just about the clothes themselves – it’s also about the ways that fashion can be manufactured, distributed, and monetized at every level of the industry. Here’s how. But first, a bit of context.
The Challenges of Traditional Fashion
Historically speaking, fashion has always been one of the most complex and challenging industries to operate in. There are many points of vulnerability on the fashion supply chain. It’s highly affected by global economic uncertainty and industrial developments, as well as fast-paced changes in cultural trends. All of this creates quite a margin of potential risk for manufacturers and retailers – not to mention the huge amounts of fashion-related waste that have resulted from overproduction.
AR fashion presents designers and manufacturers with a means for brands to sell and market new products that involves less risk. Because AR fashion doesn’t need a manufacturer, it isn’t subject to the same kinds of supply chain risks that traditional fashion is. And because there is no physical product, there is no waste produced.
It’s a win-win, really – in addition to the lowered risk level, AR fashion has the potential to be a powerful new revenue stream for garment creators of all sizes. This is possible indirectly through AR marketing strategies, like virtual try-on and branded AR filters. But the most direct and powerful way to monetize AR fashion is through blockchain technology – specifically, through non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTs and AR Fashion
Indeed, combined with blockchain technology, AR fashion brings new revenue streams for both designers of all sizes and stripes. For instance, The Fabricant allows users to co-create AR fashion pieces with a curated group of invite-only creators, designers, and brands; similarly, The Hunt curates AR-enabled fashion NFTs from hand-selected independent creators that can be worn and viewed in AR in real time.
Designers are the only ones who can benefit from AR-enabled NFTs. Blockchain can also be used to create incentives and rewards for fashion consumers. For instance, the concept of “wear to earn” could lead brands to reward people for wearing their clothing. Imagine receiving airdrops of tokenized AR fashion pieces to your virtual wallets, or being paid in cryptocurrency when you post a picture of yourself wearing the brand’s clothing on Instagram – it may happen in the not-so-distant future.
And importantly, digital fashion could be a gateway into NFTs and other blockchain-based investments for consumers who would not otherwise venture into the realm of digital assets at all. According to a survey by Vogue Business, buyers of digital fashion include women who aren’t necessarily crypto collectors.
AR NFTs also have the potential to expand the horizons of the fashion industry in other ways. Specifically, AR technology opens the doors to consumers who may feel alienated by the traditional fashion industry. AR technology can create fashion experiences for plus-size shoppers, the LGBTQI+ community, and people living with disabilities. Both designers and wearers can use AR fashion to explore new modes of self-expression, unrestrained by traditional limits.
Digital fashion isn’t just a novelty anymore – it’s an emerging industry. As people’s digital identities become increasingly intersected with their “real world” lives, the ways that people express themselves in digital spaces is more important than ever. There’s huge potential for growth – and with the advent of NFTs and fungible currencies in the digital fashion world, designers and brands have a vast new toolset to realize their visions – and earn revenue while they do it.
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*All investment/financial opinions expressed by NFTeducation.org are from the personal research and experience of our site moderators and are intended as educational material only. Individuals are required to fully research any product prior to making any kind of investment.
Natalia Diaz is the Founder and CEO of The Hunt, a creative marketplace designed to develop, display and sell NFTs and augmented reality products.