If you’ve followed INTERLACED for a while, you’ll know that we’ve been fascinated with virtual fashion for quite some time. Virtual fashion refers to garments that only exist and can be worn online. While this is not new - players have been able to customise the attire of their avatars for years - digital garments have started piquing the interest of fashion lovers across the world. The main driving factor for this shift is the tension between people’s environmental concerns associated with fast fashion and our continuous wish to show ourselves online with something that we haven’t worn before.
To find more about this rising sector, we spoke to Subham Jain, founder of XR Couture - the world’s first digital fashion retailer.
What was the inspiration behind XR Couture? What was your insight into the market?
Advertising, promotion, collaboration, shoutout… call it whatever you want, digital platforms and their direct effect on fashion consumption has changed the face of the industry. Influencers buy one-off outfits solely for the purpose of Instagram promotions. What happens behind-the-scenes is that these outfits end up in a landfill or are incarnated after merely a single use. This had us thinking of how can we protect the environment from the negative effects of one time use products? That’s how the idea of XR Couture took form. Providing virtually fitted hyper-real fashion items for the digital world is our way of contributing to a more sustainable fashion industry. The concept may seem far fetched, but we see people spending real money on dress up games like Drest and Covet fashion where they’re dressing up digitized dolls, then why now why not spend on dressing up ourselves on a photo that can be shared on the ever thriving social media?
From what we gather, XR Couture is a platform that aggregates the work of many designers who create virtual fashion. How do you find and source them? Do you have any criteria for them?
We collaborate with a filtered pool of multidisciplinary digital fashion designers and artists that bend the rules by thinking beyond the idea of physical fashion and create designs that can only exist virtually. We’re constantly on the lookout for designers who experiment with materials, shapes and colors that cannot exist IRL.
Left to right: From IRL dress to a digital gown; The XR Couture treatment on INTERLACED founder Kristina Dimitrova
What can people find on the site? Do you focus on a particular type of fashion at all?
From fantasy and couture to footwear and accessories.. you can find an array of design styles and options. And that indeed is the beauty of our digital fashion world, there are no boundaries. Our designers are from different parts of the world who experiment with styles. Currently we’re also working on adding traditional Indian and Chinese designer wear to our website. And a lot more exciting things are round the corner as well.
Can fashion designers who have never created digital garments get in touch with you to help them in their journey? What is the benefit for them?
Absolutely. We welcome all traditional fashion brands who wish to collaborate. Once on board, we help them create their varied digital collections. Transforming from traditional to digital fashion has its own benefits. With the help of our expert craftsmanship, designers will no longer face the limitations of the physical world and will have the flexibility to explore and create surreal designs.
The prices of the pieces range from $7 to $129, which could be seen as expensive for a garment that doesn’t exist and you only wear once. How do you convince potential customers of the value of digital fashion?
By selling designs starting at $7, we’re attempting to democratise the economy of the fashion industry. It’s extremely pocket-friendly for those who wish to try digital fashion for the first time. At the same time, we have designer wear that goes up to $129 which in real life will cost anywhere between $500 to $1000. So rather evidently, it’s a win-win.
What is your vision for XR Couture?
Digital fashion is no longer the ‘future’. It’s the present we’re living in. The possibilities of creating unique and dreamlike images are endless. We can mimic with flowers, textures to the extent of creating picturesque sets with unreal space effects. Thus, abolishing a need for traditional photoshoots that involves the constant use of other one-time use products as well. We aim to make a statement that if digital fashion is widely accepted we can eliminate 50% of the waste produced by the fashion industry every year which is massive. We’re a determined team with a very simple mantra: “sustainability is the key, technology is the tool, imagination is the source and digital fashion is the revolution.”
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