Is virtual fashion the inevitable future?
Is virtual fashion solving the issues of today’s fashion industry?
Can it be said that virtual-reality fashion is an irresistible and inevitable future? Did they truly prove it? Are they really solving spatial limitations? Can we really be provided with a differentiated experience from traditional online shopping through the metaverse? Does the experience of wearing and consuming clothes in the metaverse provide more than reality?
Well, I would like to say that virtual fashion is not getting away from the problem of real fashion where design is being done from the observer’s point of view, and it is even exacerbating the problem. The fashion industry has steadily piled up its archives in the perspective of aesthetics by focusing on how to show rather than the body of the wearer. However, on the other hand, it has also consistently caused industrial problems. It seems that only recently, movements that consider the wearer are remarkably taking place. Nevertheless, this is merely the beginning. In a time when the owner of clothes needs to be transformed into a wearer rather than an observer, the fashion in the virtual world that corporates are trying now is unlikely to be of much help.
Once again, because clothes are objects of wearing rather than appreciating, we move beyond sight as well as tactile sensations and the movements of muscles, as well as the activity guaranteed by clothes, how well they fit with our body, etc. are considered in combination. Even if we cannot introduce an aura that is impossible to be seen with the naked eye into the virtual world, it is questionable whether the name of the luxury house in the virtual world will maintain its current status and value. It will be easier to replicate by technology, and obviously, it will be more difficult to find out the authenticity, and personally, I doubt whether it is necessary to distinguish them. In the end, I think it is all a program or code.
Let us go back to “Wearing-Appreciating”, clothes are not paintings or sculptures. In other words, it is not something to be appreciated. As a direct example: https://www.louvre.fr/en/online-tours or Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France. In this situation, which do you prefer? Even in the realm of appreciation, people prefer reality. Then in the realm of use(=wear), which always attracted people? It remains to be seen whether an Oculus will act as glasses or just a screen in the future. There still remains a possibility that the situation may change. In any case, the key is that clothes are familiar to us, but they are complicated.
With the exception of those who wear clothes because they just should wear them, people love clothes so much that they looked at clothes all day and misunderstand clothes as an object to appreciate. However, in the end, we have to move forward with the clothes we wear as we have done so far, and the clothes we wear in the virtual world have a long way to go.
Having to put on clothes does not mean that everyone has to scrutinize fabrics and check function and finish as designers do. In fact, people are not aware of it in everyday life but based on the experiences they have already accumulated, people judge the tactile sensation of the skin the movement they wear it or whether their movements and the movement of the clothes go well together. People simply mention “This outfit does not fit me well” but this one sentence contains the aforementioned judgments and decisions. In other words, when deciding what to wear, you need to give a chance to respond to your body. (Even if you do not notice it.)
Technology tries to implement the act of trying on in the virtual world, it is just pretending to do it. Unless our body directly touches our clothes, we cannot deceive even our touch. Although I believe that technology will eventually solve even this, I doubt that we are able to grasp the context between body and clothing in a virtual way.
In conclusion, we do not wear with our eyes.
If you think about it this far, it even leads to a conspiracy theorist fantasy. It is difficult to erase the suspicion that people cannot try on clothes, that is, the more they perceive clothes regardless of their body, the more indiscreet consumption will be promoted. Do not look at clothes objectively. In this area, where trends change every second, objective judgments change every second. Excluding myself and looking at me objectively means following the newly determined fashion in seconds. In this industry, chasing trends usually means new consumption.
Again, we have to come into direct contact with clothes through our bodies without external intervention such as screens. I would like to suggest that virtual reality just evolves in the direction of removing the physical restrictions on making this contact. If not, I wonder what would be different from Farfetch’s role now ( and even the limitations they have.) The fashion industry’s use of metaverse now seems to be moving in the direction of removing the fundamental characteristics of clothes. If this trend is our future, should not we prepare a new language to replace “clothes” in the near future?
Muyo Park, 朴無要