Indian Fashion Struts Into The Digital Realm
Whenever fashion comes up in a conversation, it is represented as a woolly side character of a sitcom with no sense of ethical personality, living in a bubble and isolated from socio-cultural transformations. Think: glamour, fads, celebrities, greenwashing, and body shaming.
Sorry to disappoint, but fashion parroting the ways of Dora The Explorer, is shedding its former skin and slithering into a plethora of unearthed realms. Digitalization is one of fashion’s newest finds and it is freefalling into it without a parachute and we are here for it! And what pushed the industry into a digital frenzy was the pandemic.
While the dictionary falls short to voice the harrowing impacts that the pandemic has sprung upon the world, it has certainly created a butterfly effect of digital change across industries, especially in fashion. Ironically, social distance brought fashion closer to innovation with burgeoning ideas to create a borderless, digital fashion world. Changes include 3-D couture, kinetic clothing, a much-needed digitalization of fashion weeks with a tsunami of digital clothing waltzing into place, and AR and AI, which followed virtual try-ons that could chew out our good ol’ window shopping perennially!
Shouldering the aforementioned changes are digital fashion houses like The Fabricant that use no scissors and fabrics but a design software called CLO to breathe life into 3D form garments that pertain to no genders, sizes, and shapes. The world’s first-of-its-kind digital atelier sews not just futurist, digital clothing but also, a novel narrative of fashion stories.
Moreover, virtual reality just got real in luxury fashion as Balenciaga’s AW21 was launched with Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow. Through a video game format, Balenciaga showcased its latest collection of oversized power blazers, patchwork ripped jeans, puffer jackets, armor-like thigh-high boots, and more. The backdrop was that of a dystopian future, Alice in Wonderland-style with the white rabbit leading the game avatars into a “secret rave.”
The echoes of such trailblazing modifications in the West were sure to ignite aspirations back at home and homegrown fashion brands were not far behind when it came to ensuring a love marriage of fashion and the digital sphere.
1. Nene Cece
The brainchild of Neha Celly, Nece Gene is a 100% sustainable brand in collaboration with Arvind Mills, a lauded denim company. Nece Gene’s no-waste denim couture took form inside of a digital screen, using CLO 3D (a fashion design software) that landed not on the bodies of picture-perfect models but virtually on Helsinki Fashion Week 2020.
I mean, what could be a better way to hail the flag of sustainability than using no fabric at all? There would be no murders without guns, right? Hence, Celly’s brand ethos opted for the road not taken with digital couture and became the world’s first denim brand to showcase a 3D fashion show and leaving no carbon footprint at all.
There is a field beyond the ideas of gendered clothing, you will meet Bloni there! As fun as paraphrasing Rumi might’ve been, it sufficiently outlines the futuristic brand, Bloni, that toys with shape and form of garments, drenched in eye-popping metallics and sequins. Birthed in 2017 by Akshat Bansal, Bloni was quick to spearhead the race of the digital revolution with participation in the only-digital Cyber Fashion Week.
What followed was an upgrading of 2D Bloni designs into 3D form garments enabled with the magic wand of Scotomalab, a Paris-based creative studio. The 3D showcase became the mouthpiece of the brand’s unconventional luxury pieces that scream avant-garde which was seen floating beautifully in plain air on the social handle of the event.
We, humans, wander through life looking for our right fit. Don’t worry, this isn’t a melancholic love soliloquy but a fashion market gap that Delhi-based entrepreneurs bridged with Shamshek founded in 2015. Shamshek turned to AI and technology to do away with our wrong sizing laments and customizing clothes for all shapes and sizes.
Parents of the brand, Samiksha, and Abhishek Bajaj have a digital inventory instead of a physical one, where all garments are made for the first time, promulgating zero-waste fashion. How they tackle sizing issues is through a 3D body scanner that can extract 150 measurements in five seconds, available both offline and in stores.
Abhishek Bajaj via the New Indian Express
4. Lota India
A quick stroll through LOTALAND would reveal Lota India’s maximalist sensibilities, spinning a color wheel of bold, vivacious hues that will light up your world like nobody else (peak One Direction represent). The sustainable apparel brand has more than meets the eye with its designs seeing the light of day on South Asia’s first CGI (computer-generated imagery) model, Rajiv.
The shift to CGI models by Lota India was more than just aesthetics and a standing out marketing gimmick. In the current scenario where models suffer from mental and physical abuse to squeeze themselves into society’s ideal body image, CGI models are a step into the future.
Lota India via The Voice of Fashion
A collective re-imagining of the future of fashion is underway with such homegrown fashion brands making headway in the digital sphere. While CGI models attempt to change the face of white-washing in the CGI arena, 3D fashion shows become the face of cyber couture that leaves no residue in landfills, all of which hint and prophesize towards a tomorrow of futuristic fashion, enmeshed with technology with roots in ethical practices and sustainability.