In the digital age where the gap between reality and fantasy is rapidly closing, there are no limits to what can be achieved. This begs the question: is digital as real as real life?

Technology and fashion are merging faster than you think. Please put on your 3D glasses, we are about to enter the world of digital fashion, the revolutionary trend in the fashion industry. Virtual fashion has already entered some of the industry’s biggest names, such as Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger.

Hyper-real fashion is a generic term used for “hyper-realistic” fashion through technology. The new interaction between physical and digital, from digital stores to artificial intelligence models, is constantly blurring the line. Although it often feels like we’re in a Black Mirror episode, we really live in the future.

I mean, we have digital showrooms, digital models and digital clothes now. So, let’s go one step further; digital influencers? Hyper-realistic influencers like Miquela, who has three million Instagram followers, even have a Calvin Klein ad campaign with Bella Hadid. Miquela can be described as a by-product robot of a “transmedia studio” called Brud. You must have seen Miquela on your Instagram feed but you may not have realised she wasn’t real. What’s real on Instagram anyway?

Iris Van Herpen, one of the greatest designers who combined technology and fashion, once said, “fashion is something that evolves before our eyes.” This is the nature of fashion, it is a concept that can be transformed, is constantly changing, and can exist in many forms. In the next few years, it seems that a new important form of fashion will exist: technology.

For the past decade, technology and fashion have been in a symbiotic relationship, especially in the work of designers such as Iris Van Herpen, who combined techniques such as detailed 3D printing with haute couture. Although this is the intersection point, there has not yet been a widespread innovation in fashion and technology. We are facing a cultural reset as a result of the pandemic that has led to more innovation and collaboration between these two sectors faster than ever before. 

Iris Van Herpen

The pandemic forced our minds to exist more in the online world to experience new things from the confines of our homes, and encouraged complete behavioral change in humans and in industries such as fashion and technology. 

The gaming industry is expected to become a billion-dollar industry and the new paradigm going forward. So, everything we do in real life, we can also do in online worlds. As we sat at home during the pandemic, our screen time increased undeniably. As a result, we began to see, consume, things that perhaps we would not have seen before. Last year there were several interesting collaborations between fashion brands and different technologies. League of Legends has partnered with Louis Vuitton to create virtual outfits you can buy in the game, while e-sports entertainment brand Fnatic and Gucci have created a limited-edition physical watch that combines the identities of both brands. 

Going back to the real world, the coexistence of fashion and technology can also become an important tool in the climate crisis. The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions and about 20% of wastewater. Fashion consumes more energy than both aviation and shipping combined.

As we become more aware of our impact on the environment, such innovations will hopefully become more widespread and supported by consumers.