Digital fashion manifest. All you need to know to create a viral digital fashion collection in 2022
Last year, digital fashion went from trend to mainstream and became one of the main vectors of fashion houses and the mass market. Gucci, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton have launched their own NFT projects and showrooms in the Metaverse. Balenciaga held a digital fashion show, and Nike bought digital sneaker studio RTFKT.
This shift was caused by advances in technology (virtual fitting in Snapchat and Instagram), the boom in the NFT market (increased sense of ownership), and the Metaverse (new use-cases for digital clothing). In his exclusive column, Dmitry Kornilov, CEO and co-founder of an award-winning international tech studio FFFACE.ME shares his personal digital fashion checklist and discusses how to integrate a digital collection into your brand effectively.
DIGITAL CLOTHING MUST HELP YOUR AUDIENCE GET LIKES
Just looking at beautiful pictures or videos isn’t enough. We should be able to try on digital clothes and fulfill our communication needs by posting a look on Instagram and getting likes. The modern human sits on a dopamine needle, and this need is now fixed at the physiological level. People need to get attention from online sources to feel happy. For your clothes to be in demand, they need to make it easy for people to create original content and get feedback. We can draw two conclusions from this: digital clothes must be expressed in the format of AR filters based on social networks – like Snapchat/Instagram/TikTok, and they must be shown on accounts where your target audience is concentrated.
DON’T LIMIT THE DESIGN TO PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF MATERIALS AND GRAVITY
It makes no sense to design digital clothes exclusively based on the properties of real materials and physical laws because, in this way, we will artificially limit ourselves where it isn’t necessary. We can add animations and virtual textures without considering the earth’s gravity, it’s exactly what the audience expects. Prototypes of fashionable modern digital clothing are game merch, the design of which has long used fire, liquid textures, not to mention bizarre shapes.
ADAPT YOUR DROP TO ALL POSSIBLE DIGITAL MEDIA FORMATS
The life cycle of physical clothing is limited to a shelf in a store or closet and usage in real life. In the case of digital, it can exist in more states: as a photo-render on a person or a virtual creature, like an Instagram/Snapchat/TikTok filter, an NFT, game merch, or a product in the Metaverse. Make sure to implement your drop in all relevant formats.
Ruslan Baginskiy digital hat
Ksenia Schnaider digital hat
THE DESIGN OF DIGITAL CLOTHING SHOULD BE BASED ON UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION OR EVEN MEMES, NOT ON FASHIONABLE HERITAGE
In order for your drop to become massive, it should correspond to your target audiences’ info field. In the case of physical clothing that has been produced for months, it is difficult to keep up with a fresh trend that could enhance the background. In the case of digital clothing, the situation is reversed because it is produced many times faster. Therefore, it can not only consider existing trends but also be initially released as a response to them. This factor is important because information trends or media viruses replicate a massive amount of content. If your digital clothing becomes part of this content, it will spread virally. In other words, the viral part of the info field used in the design will help spread your collection.
PLAN A COLLECTION’S DISTRIBUTION ALONG WITH ITS COMMUNICATION FOR RELEASE
Here is a complete analogy with physical clothing. You have sewn a collection, launched advertising, and people want to buy it. It is essential to provide the maximum touch points between the consumer and the drop. For example, in the case of analog mass-market clothing, the clothes must be delivered to points of sale with maximum traffic. In the case of digital clothing, it is crucial to place the link on virtual fitting and purchase on digital platforms and profiles with maximum traffic.
THE SUCCESS OF A DIGITAL COLLECTION IS MEASURED NOT ONLY IN PRESS MENTIONS AND COVERAGE BUT ALSO IN THE AMOUNT OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT
We have long perceived any advertising, and owned media brands as not native. At the same time, content from other people inspires maximum trust and engagement because we understand that it is most often not paid for and is real. That is why it is important to measure the real value of a design and the success of a drop by how it sticks with real people. Yes, many of us can pull off a high-profile, artificial clothing launch using affordable budgets, but how many can create something that is truly valuable to people? Therefore, like many pioneers, it is important for us to learn and measure what people in digital fashion like, to measure the stickiness of the collection, and be sure to repost all of the user-generated content.
DIGITAL CLOTHING SHOULD BE INTEGRATED INTO OFFLINE RETAIL
What? But we are specifically going digital! Sure, but people still visit your offline boutiques, and it is the place where they are most ready to interact with your brand. Add communication to your digital or semi-digital clothing in AR mirrors based on iPads or LED panels, print photo walls with QR codes, or place information about digital clothing directly on the receipt. Imagine a person who bought your physical clothes receives an offer to try on the digital version on the receipt. With a high probability, this activity will be converted into content creation to get digital reactions.
Another example is virtual fitting. People might be embarrassed to try on the thing they like physically, but they can easily do it thanks to the AR mirror, which you just need to approach. This kind of fitting can become an easy ice breaker.
DIGITAL CLOTHING IS BORN FOR COLLABORATION
With the digital art and fashion era, new celebrities have sprung up – these are digital creators. They can create both the most complex visuals in 3D and flat illustrations like BAYC. Thanks to the boom of NFT, Digital Art, and Digital Fashion markets, these creators have become celebrities in terms of audience size. Collaborate with real digital fashion carriers, those who live it and have gathered a loyal, relevant audience. This will allow your drop to be part of an already existing ecosystem.
YOUR DIGITAL DROP MUST HAVE ITS OWN ECONOMY
If you evaluate releases as a deadweight investment without understanding how to measure effectiveness, then any CMO at some point will ask: Why are we doing this? Maybe we should start discounts on Farfetch? And he will be right. We must remember it is still part of the business, which means your digital drop must be measurable and generate profit. This doesn’t mean that spending should outweigh digital drop sales. The resulting reach and consumer actions should be measurable and eventually lead to sales growth commensurate with investments.
YOUR DIGITAL CLOTHES SHOULD SURPRISE. OTHERWISE, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?