by Jascha Samadi, Aug. 08
Last year we started spending more and more time at the intersection of fashion and Web3 and have led notable deals like The Fabricant’s $14m Series A round as well as Fancurve’s $6.25m seed round.
Digital fashion is a fascinating rabbit hole in itself and presents us with a paradigm shift in the way we will perceive and think about what we consider fashion. We are already spending a significant portion of our daily lives within digital environments, e.g. on social media, in zoom calls, or playing games — if we look at the reasons why we dress the way we dress, it is clear that fashion is not something that is going to limit itself to the physical realm but will extend beyond and into virtual environments as well.
In this post, we want to outline some of the reasons why we are so excited about what is happening at the intersection of fashion and crypto. We will share our current thinking on how
- digital fashion will deliver on the ownership of identity — one of Web3’s central promises
- the main functions of clothing will be expanded to the digital realm
- consumer behavior will look much different from physical fashion
- the characteristics of Web3 can change the fashion ecosystem for the better.
This is part 1 of our Digital Fashion mini-series. Read part 2 about “Digital Fashion Interoperability” here.
300 years ago, before the industrial revolution, there was no such thing as fashion. To the broader masses, clothes were almost only a pure utility. Fashion, as we know it today, was something that was only affordable and accessible to the nobles and aristocracy. Production of clothes was mainly only for domestic use and practicality was the main driver.
With the industrial revolution and the invention of the steam machine, mass production started to take place, decreasing production costs, increasing production output, and eventually making fashion alongside many other goods more accessible to larger audiences. Production moved to more extensive facilities and later on eventually to low-cost environments leading to an industry that is driven by repetitive seasons, recurring production cycles, and massive overproduction while optimized towards high output and low cost.
Today, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world just after the oil industry. Every season about 30% of the clothes produced are never sold. Luxury brands are also to blame — burning excess stock, as opposed to selling it at a discount, in order to maintain the brand’s value and sense of exclusivity. The fashion industry is responsible for over 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 10% of total global C02 emissions, and 20% of water waste worldwide. To produce one cotton shirt requires 2,700 liters of water, which is the equivalent of 2.5 years of drinking water.
These are mind-boggling stats, but the industry has recognized the issue and in the past 10 years we have seen a growing emphasis on sustainability and the use of technology in production and distribution processes. Today, in many cases the design, production, and manufacturing processes are automated, 3D-based, and driven by data. The fashion industry has been flirting with digital technologies for a long time to make the production of physical clothes more sustainable — but one approach has been overlooked so far: making people wear less.
Enter digital fashion.
Digital fashion generally describes a 3D representation of clothing. Generally said, we buy clothes for two reasons — Protection: they keep our body warm, and Identity: allow us to express ourselves. But if more and more human-to-human interaction is happening through digital channels and through the lens of an internet-connected camera, why should physical clothing exist to the extent that it does today. If we spend half of our day in zoom meetings or on social media in an environment where people interact with a virtual reflection of someone’s physical self, why should that virtual reflection be fully dressed in physical garments?