Sustainability in the Fashion industry is of everyone’s interest right now. With global warming becoming worse each year, climate scientists and activists are concerned about the safety of the planet. As the world’s second-largest polluting industry, the Fashion industry has accrued more responsibility than any other in implementing green efforts.
It all starts from the raw materials required to create tangible garments. It takes an enormous amount of water to create one t-shirt and many pesticides to grow cotton for clothing. Water bodies like oceans receive tons of microplastics every year due to the washing of clothes. Then after the end of usage, they end up in landfills every year. At every step of the fashion industry, pollution occurs leading to a grave situation.
There are many ways in which high-end fashion brands can imbue green living into their culture. Some of them include recycling, using organic fibers, and neutralization of carbon and water footprints. But fashion enthusiasts and critics are interested in emerging digital trends in the sector and their sustainable potential.
Evolving Topography of Fashion Industry
One of the major changes that took in the traditional fashion industry is digital clothing. Digital garbs are created using advanced technologies like 3D on computers. Unlike tangible garments, digital garbs do not exist in real life and they exist only in virtual forms.
The rise of AR apps like Snapchat boosted the growth of digital fashion where users can overlap their pictures with virtual dresses. The unexpected pandemic & social distancing norms further increased the craze for virtual garments among consumers.
Due to digitalization, Fashion industry now boasts Digital clothing, that can be traded as NFTs and can be sold in Metaverses.
Major luxury fashion brands took virtual fashion to the next level – NFTs. A new form of cryptocurrency, NFTs are non-fungible tokens that can be anything digital – image, video, GIF, music, etc. Once minted as NFTs, no similar token can replace these unique digital outfits.
Ethereum blockchain permanently records every transaction involved in virtual wear. Users can view these transactions from nodes in the network. This helps high-end brands fight counterfeits and attract younger audiences.
Another emerging trend in the fashion industry is Metaverse. As an online universe, it opens an entirely new market segment for fashion brands and helps them promote uniquely. Largely driven by Gen Z, metaverses run similar to the real world. Users can shop, rest, travel around in these virtual spaces. Luxury brands can set up their virtual stores.
The social environment will be simulated virtually, where users can meet others and converse, all from the comfort of their living rooms. They can personalize their avatars using items sold by brands and express themselves beyond reality. Brands wanting to increase their consumer domain have to establish their presence in the metaverse.
As digital assets gain prominence, metaverse seems to be a crucial touchpoint for consumers to buy them. Top luxury brands like Gucci have already created their own personalized online worlds.
Sustainability in the Fashion Realm
As digital clothing and NFTs gain popularity, the main question still hangs in the air. The sustainability of these trends and consequently the extent to which they may replace traditional garments.
In the case of digital fashion, 3D software creates everything. Buyers can superimpose 3D garments on their pictures and upload them on any social platform. The main advantages of these clothes are that they compensate for fast fashion in some ways and also help fashion brands tap into the new domain of consumers- Gen Z.
While the emerging new trends aren’t a replacement to traditionally clothing, nevertheless the preference is increasing due to their minimum environmental impact.
Savings involved in Digital Clothes & Metaverse
According to the famous digital-only retailer, DressX, the production of a digital garment emits 97% less carbon dioxide than its physical counterparts and saves 3300 liters of water per item on average. Although these cannot completely replace traditional clothing, it seems the best innovative way to quench the shopping desires of consumers while supporting sustainability.
Also, brands can sell digital clothing items in metaverses, the next successor of the internet. To create an online universe developers need 3D software and hardware. In comparison with the creation of digital garbs, metaverse creation may lead to a significant carbon footprint.
Environmental Cost of NFTs
Digital fashion assets are also traded as NFTs. While many are basking in the rise of these tokens, environmentalists are worried about enormous energy consumption to mine them. One energy transaction on the Ethereum blockchain consumes power equivalent to 48.14 kilowatt-hours of energy. This is a troubling concern, keeping in mind the evaporation of fossil fuels and the unavailability of efficient renewable energy.
While there are obvious advantages of digital collectibles over tangible items, one cannot ignore the footprints involved in them. Instead of blocking these innovative trends, fashion brands can take up more sustainable methods like 3D renderings and the use of renewable energies. This way the sustainability in the fashion industry can be achieved to some extent.
3D: A Promising Solution for Sustainability in the Fashion Industry
If one looks closely, 3D lies at the heart of each of these emerging trends. While some argue that they are not fully carbon-neutral, many are looking on the brighter side of these trends. They satisfy two of the key stakeholders of the fashion world, the customers and the planet to some extent. If you’re looking to venture into digital fashion and improve your sustainability scores, contact us now.