Virtual fashion is booming, but how’s it doing on creativity and inclusivity?

22/6/2022 6:37:00 PM

Virtual fashion is booming, but how’s it doing on creativity and inclusivity?

Virtual Fashion, Fashion

Virtual fashion is booming, but how’s it doing on creativity and inclusivity?

SAN FRANCISCO, June 22 — Virtual fashion was largely billed as a new opportunity to push back the boundaries of creativity and inclusivity, but so far, these new kinds of clothes...

Wednesday, 22 Jun 2022 9:56 PM MYTSAN FRANCISCO, June 22 — Virtual fashion was largely billed as a new opportunity to push back the boundaries of creativity and inclusivity, but so far, these new kinds of clothes are mostly copied straight from real-world collections. The first models unveiled by the Meta group, for example, seem too “normal” to get truly excited about, whereas our virtual twins — poised to live their best life in these parallel fictional universes — offer us the chance to get dressed up like never before.

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Wednesday, 22 Jun 2022 9:56 PM MYT SAN FRANCISCO, June 22 — Virtual fashion was largely billed as a new opportunity to push back the boundaries of creativity and inclusivity, but so far, these new kinds of clothes are mostly copied straight from real-world collections. The first models unveiled by the Meta group, for example, seem too “normal” to get truly excited about, whereas our virtual twins — poised to live their best life in these parallel fictional universes — offer us the chance to get dressed up like never before. The project is led by researchers from the Department of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS), as well as Assoc Prof ‪Bahar Gürsel of the Department of History, Middle East Technical University, Turkey. A hoodie, loose ripped jeans and a plaid shirt. Is technology in the process of transforming fashion and culture experiences? Such is the theme of the “Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body” exhibition, curated by Edward Enninful, Vogue’s European Editorial Director, and launched at the Cannes Lions festival of creativity. One of the Balenciaga looks presented by Meta while announcing the launch of its virtual fashion store resembles in every way the pieces that can be found in the e-store of the designer label, which, by the way, has accustomed its clientele to much more quirky styles. The exhibition’s main page features a collection of thumbnails, contained in small vibrating circles, loosely centred around the exhibition’s three main themes; body, space, and activity Upon clicking on a thumbnail, viewers are directed to the full photograph featured, along with the details of its origins. And the same goes for the virtual looks from Prada and Thom Browne, the two other houses that will inaugurate this next-gen fashion store, whose real-world creations are generally less classic than those unveiled by the web giant.

And that comes as something of a disappointment, as we were expecting colourful, eccentric, even totally crazy fashion pieces with which to dress the digital doubles who will soon wander the metaverse. — Screenshot from Being and Becoming In an interactive twist, visitors can also opt to delve further by answering questions about the photographs. These are all houses chosen for their subversive vision of fashion, trying, through their collections, to challenge stereotypes, norms and conventions related to age, body shape and gender. Embracing the future or perpetuating the status quo? While the metaverse is still a vague notion for many — and probably still a world away from the daily usage of the majority of consumers — it is, for the moment, similar to a futuristic universe where everything — or almost — seems possible. Major events, including a wedding and the first Metaverse Fashion Week, have already taken place in this virtual realm, transporting us into a world that’s almost like something from science fiction. “Figuring out the user interface and user experience was definitely challenging,” said the exhibition’s project manager Kathy Rowland. But, for the moment, virtual fashion still seems far too tame to fit into these new worlds. Using augmented reality, Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body is an exhibition that invites everyone—regardless of race, gender, sexuality and size—to experience and enjoy fashion from some of the world’s very best designers and luxury brands. Even Thom Browne’s trademark looks — blazer, pleated skirt and white shirt — worn by many male celebrities at the last Met Gala, look too classic on the avatars presented by Mark Zuckerberg — no mean feat.” Rowland is also the managing editor of ArtsEquator, the host of the virtual exhibit.

However, this is a first shot, a first presentation even, not necessarily heralding the actual content of this new storefront dedicated to user avatars on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. It is likely — we hope — that the actual clothes will be more fun, more extravagant, and better adapted to the expectations of customers of these luxury houses — Generation Z in the lead — for whom gender and long-proffered body norms must give way to more inclusive fashion. As such, the collection’s main themes serve to frame questions around these depictions. They’ll also be able to access all of the exhibition’s augmented reality experiences, from Balenciaga’s opaque dark space to Stella McCartney’s digital bees pollinating mushroom spores, Gucci’s “illusionistic” mirrored set design, and the opulence of Versace’s space, in which its legendary Medusa comes to life. In any case, brands will have to find a balance between the desire to make ‘classic’ luxury goods accessible, and the need to push back the boundaries of reality, and therefore of creativity. DressX leading the way If most of the virtual collections proposed by designer labels, ready-to-wear brands and fast fashion brands — often in partnership with social gaming giants such as Roblox and Zepeto — are similar (for the moment) to their real-world clothes, some specialist platforms have opted to push the idea of audacity much further. A sample of the type interactivity and additional researcher notes viewers can expect when clicking through the exhibition. And it’s a crazy gamble that appears to have paid off for DressX. After news of Meta launching its first digital fashion store, with brands such as Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne, this exhibition seems to herald the advent of fashion that spans the physical, digital and virtual realms, allowing users of social networks and metaverses to dress their avatars, but also to access iconic clothes that would previously have been out of reach.

The virtual couture e-store is full of all kinds of clothes, from the most classic to the most futuristic, so much so that some of them are like artworks. “In fact, those studio pictures became quite an issue later on; there were a number of court cases taken up by locals about this,” said Maznah. It’s enough to allow you to be bold, daring and experimental in your digital clothing choices, and much more easily than in real life. After all, isn’t that what these parallel fictional worlds are all about? — ETX Studio . “Later on, sometime in the mid-1900s, we suddenly have more photographs of elegantly dressed local women; one reading of this is the implication that ‘civilisation’ had arrived.