designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist

a solution to one of the world’s major eco problems might involve creating clothes that don’t actually exist. digital fashion, which refers to 3D-rendered garments that only exist virtually, is a very real idea that offers much greener, zero-waste alternatives in a world with growing fears over waste and concerns about the negative effects of manufacturing.

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist

image courtesy of the fabricant
header image courtesy of carlings



digital fashion can be dressed on a digital avatar or overlayed on an image of a person, but rarely actually exists in the real world (unless a digital copy of a real piece of clothing). and whilst it seems odd, it could have quite lucrative ‘real-world’ applications, especially within the heavily digitized world we are living in.


it’s not an entirely new idea. back 2016, web avatar site bitmoji teamed up with bergdorf goodman to allow users to dress their avatars in looks from fashion brands such as zac posen, alexander mcqueen, calvin klein and other top designers. then, in 2018, scandinavian retailer carlings released its first digital clothing collection, called neo-ex, a 19-piece genderless collection cost at relatively low price points (between €10 to €30, or roughly $11 to $33 USD.)

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist

image courtesy of carlings



more recently, in may 2019, a one-of-a-kind digital design from the fabricant, a dutch startup and the world’s first digital-only fashion house, sold for $9,500 at a blockchain conference. the company was founded in january 2018 by finnish animator kerry murphy, who was inspired by fashion student, amber slooten’s all-digital graduate portfolio, which was modelled by holograms. virtual pieces of clothes such as this could offer a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, whilst providing the ‘me’-culture heavily populating social media with new looks without having to actually produce physical garments.

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist

all other images courtesy of the fabricant



a pop-up store in london is giving consumers a chance to try on digital garments to test their commercial potential, a chance to see the commercial validity of such an idea. dubbed ‘hot second’, it invites visitors to donate an unwanted piece of clothing in exchange for a digital garment. guests are led into pods equipped with a camera, projector and a ‘magic mirror’ to sample looks from the fabricant and carlings, as well as british designer christopher raeburn. shoppers can take home digital images and photo print-outs of them in their chosen garments.

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist



despite a second version of hot second slated to open in berlin in january, it’s doubtful that virtual fashion could ever replace the real fabric that we need to dress ourselves. but as our separate realities remain fractured over various devices, social networks, platforms and mediums, it’s not absurd to see this as the beginnings of a potentially huge market.

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist

designers are now selling 'digital clothes' that don't actually exist


  • Amazing — digital only clothes eh? Wonder what I have been wearing for oh the last 13 years in Second Life and other platforms as tech has progressed 🙂
    Still, nice to see this avenue being ‘discovered’ all over again – next I bet someone will make the physical from a pure avatar design (oh wait, already been done ).

    sirhc desantis says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
504,281 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine