This Outfit Does Not Exist…

In May 2019 the first virtual-only dress was sold by digital fashion house The Fabricant for $9,500 dollars.

The press went wild: from quizzical - “Would you spend $10,000 on a Virtual Dress?”, to outraged -“It’s Not Even Wearable!”. The majority of outlets dubbed Virtual Fashion a futurist fad, laden with tongue-in-cheek comparisons to the notorious parable The Emperor’s New Clothes.

2020’s sweatpant-sanctioned confinement, led to a rapid acceleration in the Virtual Fashion space. From colleague’s zoom backgrounds, to AR made-over selfies, we all agreed to embrace what we saw through screens as a form of reality; particularly when it came to aesthetics.

Just as in the original parable, there are now a whole host of Digital Tailors, responding to the need to look good in the ether. They promise clothes “woven from the purest silk and finest gold thread invisible to all but those of your rank and stature” (aka anyone with an Instagram account). What’s more, with an outcrop of Virtual Fashion marketplaces, some are even delivering!

It is estimated that Virtual Fashion will have a TAM of $10 billion by 2030. 2021 will be the year that this shift from conception to adoption begins. The $9,500 virtual dress worn by the Emperor (in this case the wife of Quantstamp CEO Richard Ma) can now be bought, and rendered, for only $35, and brands are taking note. VersaceLouis VuittonBalenciagaGucci and Burberry have all made forays into Virtual Fashion, through both the design and distribution of Virtual Fashion Goods. Most recently, Alexander McQueen’s own Sarabande Foundation released Auroboros - a line of Digital-Only Haute Couture.

…. but this newsletter does

This Outfit Does Not Exist, is a newsletter about Virtual Fashion and its possibilities. The newsletter will dive into the industry’s developments, the start-ups that shape them, and their capacity to disrupt the wider world of physical fashion goods.

Each month will explore a theme: from digital design & distribution, to marketing in the Metaverse with a 1,500 word feature, timeline of the theme’s development, and of course, the hottest breaking news of that month.

I’ll also be featuring the most brilliant feats of digital design through my Instagram - like the BALA dress above ↑↑↑

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the business of imaginary clothing

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Dani Loftus
I write about (and sometimes wear) imaginary clothing.