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Industry Talk

Digital profits should drive physical change

Exploring the implications of fashion in the metaverse and beyond.

26th July 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  London

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Proponents of digital fashion suggest that it offers one potential answer to how to move the fashion industry to a more sustainable footing.

In its latest blog, UK analyst Planet Tracker considers what digital fashion means and why it is not expected to reduce the need for the industry to make significant structural changes.

Acknowledging the potential of digital fashion, a range of major brands have already started experimenting in the new market. In September 2021, Dolce & Gabanna launched a digital and physical capsule show. The collection featured the auction of a range of unique items where winning bidders received both an NFT (non-fungible token) and also a bespoke physical version of the product. Overall, the show raised nearly $6 million in sales.

Also in September 2021, Balenciaga released a range of digital products in the popular online battle royale game Fortnite and in December last year, Ralph Lauren created an event on the online platform Roblox enabling users to purchase exclusive fashion items. Nike also acquired digital footwear designer RTFKT that month, and launched its first digital trainer collection in April this year. Single pairs of the digital footwear sold for as much as $130,000.

Digital fashion offers an interesting new market opportunity for brands and one they would be wise to look to participate in, Planet Tracker suggests. It should not, however, distract from the significant structural changes needed to the traditional fashion industry if it is to meet its goals to reduce its environmental impact.

Reinvesting new digital profits into driving change in their physical operations would be a welcome strategy for the industry, the blog concludes.

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