The fashion industry is ever-evolving, and innovation is never far from it. Over time, fashion brands have come up with various ways to solve problems in the industry. From brands like Petit Pli that create clothes that grow with children to brands like Article 22 that create jewellery from shrapnel and scrap metal, the industry is always looking for ways to solve problems.
With the pandemic came doubts and fears over the future of fashion and the industry, but once again fashion designers have shown their resilience in the face of a bad situation. Here are 3 innovations that COVID-19 has brought to light;
3D Fashion Models
3D fashion models have been around since 2017 with Shudu being the first of them all. Created by Cameron-James Wilson, Shudu had featured in Vogue and WWD, fronted campaigns for Balmain and Ellesse, and been on the red carpet at the 2019 BAFTA film awards wearing a bespoke gown by Swarovski.
Although Shudu and other virtual 3D fashion models had gathered some attention before, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that they gained widespread attention. With Anifa Mvuemba of the Hanifa fashion brand presenting her fashion collection in a digital runway show using CLO 3D and 3D models, the popularity of these models skyrocketed.
As time has gone on, more and more fashion brands are looking to hire the services of these fashion models to show off their designs to the world. Brands like Calvin Klein, Fenty, Balmain and Louis Vuitton, to name a few, have paid the creators of these Computer-Generated Imageries (CGI) to model their products.
Virtual clothing is clothing that exists only online. What this means is that fashion designers make clothing that cannot be touched or worn physically but can be worn virtually. When a customer purchases these outfits, they can take photos of themselves in the outfits for the gram but cannot wear them physically.
The first-ever virtual clothing, Iridescence, that was made by Dutch startup The Fabricant, Dapper Labs and augmented reality artist and creator Johanna Jaskowska sold for $9,500.
With the pandemic came a need for people to stay indoors and have virtual meetings and so the need to buy clothes was reduced. This spurred on a newfound love for digital clothing. Fashion houses also took initiative and started producing virtual goods so customers can see what a brand’s new clothing line will look like on them for real.
An example is Tribute Brand, a virtual clothing store that provides “contactless fashion”. Customers can pick up a selection of outfits, purchase an outfit and link photos of themselves or someone else that will be digitally altered to appear to be wearing the outfit. The price of these outfits go as high as $699 and the brand produces a limited number of each outfit.
In addition to creating virtual clothing, the Italian government recently launched a 3D virtual fashion digital platform, ExtraITAStyle. On this platform, designers can have virtual boutiques and show off their designs virtually to customers all over the world.
Puppet Fashion Show
Puppet shows have been around for centuries, with the first puppet fashion show happening in 1960. This year, at the Milan Fashion Week, Jeremy Scott displayed his Moschino Spring/Summer 2021 collection using marionettes.
The fashion show was a short film that had dolls strut down the runway of a gold-accented room on strings. The puppets wore miniature versions of the brand’s new line in an intimate salon-style fashion show as marionettes of Anna Wintour and other industry leaders watched.
The fashion show reflected the year 2020 and all that the pandemic has brought with it, showing the inner workings of outfits. Elements like edges, seams, corsetry boning, panels, darts, trims, and more were visible on the clothes.
This fashion show displayed how fashion houses are taking initiative to showcase their designs without putting the health of anyone at risk. Having online shows is yet another way designers have helped ensure the safety of their models and everyone else during these times.
Equity Financing, Innovation, and the Fashion Industry
Equity financing is the process of raising capital by selling company shares to the public, institutional investors or financial institutions.
With greats innovations, such as the ones listed above, and good branding, the fashion industry can become as viable as the tech industry is for equity financing. So, people will be able to buy shares from fashion brands and become shareholders in these companies, thereby boosting the growth of the industry further.
“Collaboration, branding, and innovation in the fashion industry is key to enabling that the designers also benefit from equity financing.” – Timothy Ayodele, CEO FireSwitch Tech.
This tactic can be used by innovative fashion brands to raise funds when they feel a need to expand but do not have enough capital to do so. When innovation is involved in your fashion brand, your brand will be more attractive to investors who will be willing to take a risk and invest in your brand.