virtual fashion

Virtual Clothing – A digital fashion statement

youDRESSED Redaktion

Fashion designers have developed clothes that can only be worn virtually – sounds bizarre, but a lot of people are willing to spend money here.

Imagine you are shopping online and come across a statement jacket. You think for a moment whether it would suit you and finally decide to buy it. Instead of receiving the jacket with the next delivery, you provide a photo of yourself. The same photo will be sent back to you afterwards, but your newly bought jacket has been edited onto your body perfectly.

Yes, you heard right, you will never really hold this jacket in your hands, let alone put it on. But you can wear it “virtually” and earn the likes for it on Instagram.


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This may sound like fantasy or an episode of the Netflix series Black Mirror, but the Norwegian company Carlings has made this reality.

Is there a future in virtual luxury fashion?

You may not believe it, but this trend is gaining popularity – and if you break it down, it’s doesn’t seem particularly surprising and odd for three reasons:

First: These designer clothes would cost thousands of pounds in the “real world” and because of their unique design they would probably only be worn once on social media.

Brand Manager Kicki Perrson of Carlings Sweden adds that the reaction to Carling’s first virtual collection from November 2019 was surprisingly positive.

“By selling the digital collection at £15 a piece, we have, so to speak, democratised the fashion industry’s economy and at the same time created a new way of styling that leaves no negative environmental footprint.


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Secondly, customers are willing to spend money on digital content. The mobile gaming industry in particular has already proven this. In the “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” game, for example, players can use real money to buy clothes from Designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Cavalli and Balmain for their characters. The mobile game has brought in 240 million US dollars in the last six years. So why should people not spend real money on their own virtual clothes?

Thirdly, virtual optical improvements have not been a novelty since the introduction of Instagram filters. Whether it’s just a saturation of colors and contrasts or whether an AR filter puts make-up, freckles or clothes on us – image manipulation is no longer a no-go. On the contrary, it is an everyday part of our stories and our timelines.

The Future of Fashion: An outlook

“People think it’s not a real thing, but the sales figures are unimaginable,” says Matthew Drinkwater, director of the Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion. Drinkwater nevertheless believes that we are still at least five to ten years away from making digital clothing part of our everyday lives. Kerry Murphy, founder of the “digital fashion house” The Fabricant, says he is already in talks with several luxury brands that are considering the introduction of purely digital product lines.

Carlings is already planning its second collection for summer 2020


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Sounds like a solid sustainable solution against fast fashion. Though, if a large part of fashion consists of attracting and touching fabrics, one wonders if one can build up an emotional connection to these clothes that don’t even exist? Maybe we will, as Drinkwater believes, build a completely different relationship with these clothes.

Image Source: carlings

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