Digital clothing is fashion’s next calling 

Shoppers can now purchase and wear virtual clothing by uploading a picture

An influencer’s closet is a revolving door of new and fashionable garments, constantly adjusting to match ever-changing fads. Recently however, a new trend has entered the chaotic industry.

In the past two years, fashion companies began introducing a fresh, more sustainable array of goods. Shoppers can now purchase and wear virtual clothing by uploading a picture and trying on the garment. This brings entirely new components to both the fashion industry and visual-based online media. 

“We’ve never had ‘Hey, take a picture of your friend and then photoshop a shirt on them’” Acalanes digital design teacher Chris Busse said.  

Some shoppers find ways to ethically keep up with trends by utilizing second-hand stores and websites. Unfortunately, the majority of shoppers turn to fast fashion for short-term fashion solutions.

Companies that mass produce cheap clothing take advantage of resources that allow them to do so, such as fossil fuels and cheap labor from children and undocumented immigrants. Poorly made garments contain plastic traces of polyester, which comes from petroleum, a fossil fuel and is a limited resource.

“Petroleum is running out. We have enough petroleum on our planet to maybe get us to the year 2050 which is, what, 30 years away?” Acalanes AP Environmental Science teacher Jada Paniagua said.

To combat this, fashion corporations adopted the method of editing garments onto models.

According to DressX, a digital fashion company, the production of a digital clothing item will produce 97% less carbon dioxide than a physical one. Further, swapping one physical garment for a digital one will save, on average, 3,300 liters of water (DressX).

Although public figures receive unique items to promote from partnerships and sponsors, they rarely weigh in sustainability. Influencers discard one-time outfits which, after one picture or YouTube video, often become unnecessary waste.  

For influencers who use clothing for their career and content, digital fashion allows for a perfect opportunity to cut down their carbon emissions.

“I think [influencers] are the only people who have the money and need for a shirt only wearable in pictures. Personally, digital fashion isn’t something I would take part in but it seems really cool for other people who want to be less wasteful but still need a lot of clothes,” said Acalanes sophomore Charlotte McKenzie. 

Once more influencers begin to ethically promote digital clothing techniques, the fashion industry might expand this method, and simultaneously cater to larger groups of people. 

“It’s very interesting to see what’s going to be the next trend, what it’s going to look like ten years from now when you start manipulating your photos to the extent that it’s not even real. You’re wearing something completely different, your skin tone is completely different, I’m very curious to see what the world of fashion will be like with digital trends in the next five years” said Busse.

Fast fashion companies follow current trends in order to create products that fit a mold. Despite its positive attributes, the mass production of clothing contributes to unsustainable and unethical consumerism. 

Digital fashion poses both a solution and a threat to companies that rely on Earth’s supply of fossil fuels. This holds exceptional importance because of earth’s finite resources. 

When we take things and use them once and throw them away forever, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize, ‘how could we do that on this limited planet?’” Paniagua said. “We can’t just take things and then throw them away and be done with them. What we’re going to do is run out of stuff to make things and overfill our planet with garbage.”

Digital fashion is a cleaner alternative to poorly sourced polyester clothing. With enough time, it is possible for digital fashion to replace wasteful elements of the fashion industry. 

“I think this will be big. I can’t wait to see how digital fashion will change social media and the fashion industry” said McKenzie.