With the UK approaching its warmest winter ever recorded, it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore by even the harshest deniers that the climate crisis is upon us. Something drastic needs to be done to remedy the damage industries have inflicted on the environment, and fashion is far from exempt from being tarnished with this brush. Whilst many brands have made steps in this direction, releasing environmentally conscious lines and so on, the term green-washing has been thrown around a lot and consumers are beginning to distrust the message of sustainability entirely.
One company that’s working double-time to remedy fashion’s image is the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF). A self-proclaimed “emblem for change”, the IoDF has become a beacon for fashion brands to follow towards a brighter future, promoting sustainable alternatives to fast-fashion and fashion as we know it in general. They’re looking towards the latest in digital technology to develop and perfect new ways of creating and enjoying fashion in a more environmentally friendly future.
The main platform the IoDF has utilised in their search for sustainable solutions to the climate crisis is the Metaverse, a rapidly growing hub for socialising and consumerism which takes place entirely in a digital universe. Envisioning a future where clothing can exist in an entirely digital space eradicates so many of the fashion industry’s environmental issues which are caused by the process of production.
But how does the IoDF propose we take fashion into the Metaverse? Through AR, VR, UX, digital try-ons, research papers, and metaverse consultancy. Whilst some of these abbreviations may not mean a whole lot to you yet, they’re actually some of the biggest and most groundbreaking innovations in recent technology, and some we’ll be seeing a lot more of as industries move online. The IoDF claims that this pushing of fashion “beyond its comfort zones” is not only important but fundamental in developing real solutions.
Only last fashion month the IoDF took over London Fashion Week with the goal of opening up the Metaverse to everyone, by creating various ‘access points’ which were hidden around London. The access points were unclockable with ‘QR code tokens’ scattered around the city, ensuing a city-wide scavenger hunt, not only to promote the sustainability of Web3 but also to make the Metaverse itself more openly accessible.
As well as Web3’s sustainability, IoDF is eager to take the industry into a digital sphere as it opens doors for many more people to engage with fashion. By developing digital products, as part of their IRL x URL reality, the IoDF hopes to make the luxury fashion industry – which has been considered somewhat exclusive and elitist in the past – more accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy it. One of their main aims is diversifying the fashion community and “moving the industry beyond its hierarchical traditions” by promoting and teaching people the amazing routes digital fashion can take us.
Their promotional slogan for the IoDF’s “Emblem for Change” launch at London Fashion Month this September was, “At the end of the world, do you need more clothes?” However, they’re not actually suggesting you stop buying clothes, just that you join the growing community of people investing in their more democratic and sustainable digital future.
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