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NEW TECHNOLOGY AND THE DIGITAL WARDROBE VIRTUAL FASHION

The worlds first purely digital fashion collection is out and you can wear it

As the fashion industry fuelled by social media race to speed up the supply chain, Scandinavian retailer Carling, cuts it out entirely with this new campaign that overhauls a business model under pressure and challenges the environmental impact of an industry.

The result is a purely digital fashion collection.

A VIRTUAL WARDROBE WHERE YOUR CLOTHES ARE 100% DIGITAL

So why not cut out the waste and make a fashion collection directly targeted social media?

Scandinavian retailer Carlings did just that and will send all revenue from it to the international non-profit organisation WaterAid.

The fashion industry is rushing to reinvent their global supply chain. If not, they are forecasted to cut profit by 3% by 2030. There are under pressure from all fronts: The ravenous thirst for water is set to out strip supply within a decade. Cost-cutting has led to inhumane conditions for workers. Current business models send unsold collections to landfill by the truckload.

The current Fashion Business Models simply isn’t sustainable for the environment.

Companies are increasingly looking to technology to help them: From AI’s predicting what consumers will buy over 3D printed designs to augmented dressing rooms. Now, one Scandinavian retailer takes a step back and asks whether clothing needs to be physical at all.

“When Virtue presented us with the idea of a purely digital fashion collection, it made perfect sense from an operations standpoint: A value proposition that’s 100% design and IP, with zero physical production, waste or costs.”

– Ingeline Gjelsnes, Marketing Manager at Carlings

Innovating the world’s second most polluting industry

Every year, 150 billion pieces of clothing are thrown in landfills, with many western countries averaging only 7 wears for a piece of clothing. This is driven in part by the pressure to never wear an outfit more than once on social media.

“We are very aware of our industries environmental problems and the paradox that we all are a part of. We want to be at the forefront of fashion and at the same time reduce our environmental impact. This project has really opened our eyes and we truly believe digital clothing will play a big role in the future of fashion.”

– Ingeline Gjelsnes, Marketing Manager at Carlings

Neo_ex: Digitally tailored couture without eco impact

The clothing is created as multi-layered 3D blueprints. Just like physical tailoring, each piece has a pattern with seams, notches and fabric properties like weight and sheen. But because the designs will never leave the digital space, designers are free to explore constructions that would be impossible to pull off in real life.

“Designing in 3D isn’t all that different from tailoring. You still select materials, draw the pattern, join the seams, perfect the fit. But in the digital world, the only limit is your imagination. It’s pure aesthetics, liberated from practical concerns, and it’s exhilarating to work in.”

– Dimitri Werner de Paiva, Creative at Virtue Nordic

When customers order an item from the collection, a digital tailor fits the design to a 3D figure of the customer's body, defining the seams, drapes, and creases in a virtual environment. Then, they insert the model in an image of the customers choosing, adapting to the lighting sources in the target image.

The image is sent back to the customer to be posted on social channels, printed out or featured in a magazine.

“The best Instagrammer’s are almost lifestyle artist. The square is their canvas, and their style is their brush. But the ones who are really pushing fashion aren’t always the ones with funds to realise their vision. We wanted to use technology to liberate style from money.

– Morten Grubak, Creative Director, Virtue Nordic


First, the clothing is digitized - then the models. What’s next?

The collection is digital, and its ambassador doesn’t exist in meet space either. Perl.www is purely virtual character born and raised on the internet. She will join the project as a curator and ambassador to showcase the possibilities for the cyber future of fashion.

“I’ve always enjoyed modelling. But then again, I don’t need to deal with wardrobe changes, weird fits, diets or sweating under the spotlight. And when humans realise the benefits of that, the industry will truly start changing.”Perl.www

The digital transformation raises a host of questions for the business of fashion. Might digital catwalks wipe out modelling jobs – or even make fashion fairs redundant? Could digitalization mean that fashion will be plagued with the same piracy problems that have rattled entertainment? Who will own the rights of collections designed by artificial intelligence? The Neo_Ex collection is fashion’s first step into a digital future, but surely not the last.

Designed and created by Virtue Nordic

The collection is conceptualised, designed and rendered by Virtue Nordic, the in-house creative agency from VICE based in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Virtue offers everything from brand strategy, creative development, production, distribution, and research. This is their first foray into designing fashion.  

Our biggest virtue is contributing to culture instead of piggybacking like traditional advertising. With this venture, we had the opportunity to give back to the community of bleeding edge fashion pioneers that inspire our outlook and aesthetics every day – without harming the environment. “

Morten Grubak, Creative Director at Virtue Nordic

BACKGROUND ON THE NEO_EX CAMPAIGN

  • Clothing is worn just 7 times on average before being thrown out.

  • We buy 27 kg’s of clothing every year.

  • An average cotton T-shirt requires 2,700 litres of water to produce.

  • As fashion moves online, social media becomes the place where we showcase new clothing.

  • Instagram accelerates the fashion race and calls for ever bolder cuts and colours. Thus clothing gets less versatile.

  • According to a survey commissioned by the credit card company Barclaycard, nearly one in 10 UK shoppers (9%) admit to buying clothing only to take a photo on social media.

  • With digital outfits, Instagrammers can get bolder than ever without worrying about using the clothing more than once.

  • Apart from the electricity used to render the image, digital clothing uses zero resources.

ALL REVENUE DONATED TO WaterAid

All revenue from the NEO_EX campaign goes to WaterAid. WaterAid is an international non-profit organization that works in 34 countries, with the goal to provide clean water, sanitation and good hygiene facilities for everyone. Something WaterAid has been able provide to 26.8 million people since 1981 with the help of people like you. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org.