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Research and Innovation

What Is Digital Fashion and Why Is It Trending? 

online shopping concept and promotional discounts in front of the store display Women's clothing and fashion Surrounded by mannequins and shopping bags multicolor pastel background. 3d rendering

This article was originally published by members of the Wilson College of Textiles’ Fashion Textile and Business Excellence Cooperative.

By Suhyoung Ahn and B. Ellie Jin

Have you ever had this experience? You order new clothes online because you think the process will be more convenient than shopping in-store. In reality, you end up waiting days for the items to arrive, only to realize that they don’t look like they did in the photos online or they don’t fit you quite right. 

A new group of digital artists think they’ve developed the solution to this with digital fashion and augmented reality (AR). 

What is digital fashion?

Digital fashion is clothing that is not physically manufactured, including game skins, avatar clothing and Non-fungible tokens (NFT) (Doyle, 2022). Traditionally, digital fashion was seen as something to be worn on an avatar or in a video game and not in real life. 

With the integration of AR technology, however, the scope of digital fashion is expanding. AR is the real-time integration of digital information into users’ environments. For instance, when using AR mode in Pokémon GO, Pokémon suddenly appear on your screen, superimposed over the real world that your device’s camera is capturing in front of you

By incorporating AR technology into digital fashion, you can view yourself wearing digital clothing through AR filters and even take images and videos of yourself wearing them. This, of course, has big implications for social media. You can even join a Zoom meeting wearing digital clothes. 

Many digital fashion brands have been emerging since 2018 and collaborating with major fashion brands to strengthen their position in the market. Each of these digital fashion brands has its own brand personality. Depending on the brand and collections, prices begin at $0.01. The most expensive digital fashion product so far has been a $699 lace and latex shirt from the Tribute brand which was launched in Croatia in 2020. Fabricant, a Dutch digital fashion company established in 2018, aspires for digital haute couture and offers one-of-a-kind designs, whereas Dress X, an American fashion tech company founded in 2019, is expanding as a platform for diverse digital fashion items. 

What are the potential benefits of digital fashion?

Digital fashion can satisfy consumers who are constantly changing their aesthetic or want to keep their wardrobe up to date with each new trend. It also allows for more creativity in fashion; since digital fashion has no physical form, garments that go against the Laws of Physics can be designed. From basic clothes to bubbles, metal and unique shapes, the possibilities are endless.   

With digital fashion, consumers can create more Instagrammable moments beyond their imagination. Young consumers seek out novel experiences and looks that grab their followers attention on social media. Initially, fast fashion filled this gap in the market with large inventories of trendy clothes available  at low prices. 

Now, however, digital fashion fulfills this role faster, cheaper, and even without environmental impact. Digital fashion production eliminates material preparation, physical manufacture, packing and logistics, resulting in 96% less carbon dioxide emissions and zero water requirements, compared to physical clothes production (Durocher, 2022). 

Digital fashion can be a very sustainable alternative to fast fashion, which places a significant burden on the environment due to massive overproduction and consumption. If you replace one discarded piece of clothing in your wardrobe with digital fashion, you can save 3,300 gallons of water and reduce your carbon footprint. Wouldn’t selecting digital fashion be a step to the ideal approach of digital innovation?


Doyle, M. (2022, March 2). Could digital fashion be an eco-friendly replacement for fast fashion? Ecocult.

Durocher, Y. (2022, September 22). The sustainable side of digital fashion. Forbes