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Phygital Frontiers: How Fashion Is Exploring The Virtual World Of 3d Assets

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30 June 2023

Phygital Frontiers: How Fashion Is Exploring The Virtual World Of 3d Assets

Do you want to implement 3D technologies within your activewear business? Here are how some of the most iconic fashion brands have achieved this.

You don’t have to be a retail expert to notice that post-COVID-19, brick-and-mortar stores are disappearing. Consumers limited to online window shopping during the pandemic are seemingly reluctant to return to the physical shop due to the ease and accessibility of e-commerce shopping. Over 17,000 stores were forced to close in 2020 with only 7,655 shops reopening after the lockdown ended. Since 2020, the retail industry has experienced a major overhaul as it attempts to evolve as quickly as its consumers’ online shopping habits and the advancement of 3D technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and lifelike 3D modelling. Despite this virtual space being relatively new and its potential not yet fully realised, leaders within the fashion industry are already exploring the innovative and dynamic power 3D possesses within product design, marketing and improving customer experience. 

 

In 2022, British heritage brand, Burberry, won the Metaverse World & Gaming Experience Award for its collaborations with popular online games Minecraft and Blankos Block Party where players can build Burberry-themed virtual worlds or purchase digital Burberry accessories for their characters. The success of these projects is a major step into the future for the fashion industry as it indicates the selling and branding power of the 3D universe. Similarly, virtual influencers such as Lil Miquela (@LilMiquela), created through CGI and 3D renderings have captured vast amounts of followers through their unique personalities, trendy styles, manufactured drama with other virtual influencers and collaborations with some of the biggest brands in the world.

Their appeal to audiences lies in their obvious fabrication in a time when demand for online authenticity is at an all-time high, with many feeds currently oversaturated with influencers promoting products for their personal notoriety. Brands such as Calvin Klein, Palo Rosa Beachwear and Prada have already executed successful campaigns with Lil Miquela through ‘Instagram takeovers’, discussions with brands in the Metaverse, and video graphic adverts with supermodel Bella Hadid. These experimental tactics capture a wide scope of demographics with over 50% of UK audiences stating that they find these virtual characters appealing resulting in an engagement rate that is three times higher than their flesh-and-bone counterparts. The benefit of using virtual influencers for brands is that it allows for more creative control and does not require a whole team of stylists, makeup artists or production crew, with many tech forecasters predicting that once the 3D market picks up more momentum, it will be more cost-effective. 

 

Whether you are a baby brand just starting out or an established industry leader, it is clear that utilising the 3D world is essential to capturing consumers and ensuring your brand doesn’t get left in the dark ages. Here is London Contour Expert’s guide to exploring the digital terrain of 3D assets.     

3D PRODUCT VISUALISATION

One of the most prevalent ways that 3D technologies have infiltrated the fashion industry is through 3D product visualisation. 3D rendering of your designs allows you to gain a good idea of how the colours, patterns and cuts of the garment fit together as well as how the product will move whilst in motion, and how your collection will look on a wide range of body types, all before any production takes place. This is vital for brands looking to experiment with their current collections or expand into new product categories as you can test the market and save costs without any wastage. It is also a great way to pitch to buyers and investors, creating a digital look-book for pre-orders which also reduces mass production thereby minimising your carbon footprint.

Recently, outdoor lifestyle brand Napaijir created 3D samples of their upcoming collection which they conducted to eliminate textile waste, and brands such as Diane Von Furstenberg are investing in 3D assets to decrease waste and increase productivity. Not only are 3D product visualisations more eco-friendly, but they are also great visual tools for your socials and e-commerce as consumer interest in the world of 3D and NFTs is only increasing. 

 

 

The production cost and effort of a photo shoot for campaigns or e-commerce are all but eliminated with the ability to create high-quality, hyper-realistic 3D renderings of your designs with the added benefit of the consumers being able to see the product in all its 360 degree beauty, zooming in on any intricate detailing and hardware features. Recent studies indicate that 75% of online buyers rely on photos of the product before clicking the ‘add to cart’ button, but many savvy shoppers will not complete a purchase if they feel that they haven’t seen all the details, or if the image feels overly edited. By utilising 3D assets within your e-commerce and social media campaigns, customers can view the product as a whole, just as they would in a brick-and-mortar store, and feel more confident completing their purchase, thus increasing conversion rates. At London Contour Experts, we always are at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies and we can create fully realised 3D collections, including still images and animations for your brand, ensuring you will be the leader of the virtual pack.  

VIRTUAL FITTING ROOMS

Tackling one of the biggest gripes with shopping online is the virtual fitting room. Since the pandemic, the majority of consumers no longer feel comfortable using in-store fitting rooms due to hygiene concerns, privacy concerns or due to long queue wait times. However, e-commerce retailers spend a fortune on postage for online order returns that don’t fit or do not match the consumer’s expectations, yet a flexible return policy is essential to customer retention. Virtual fitting rooms allow your customer to input their exact measurements to digitally visualise how a garment would look on their specific body type or skin tone, resulting in fewer returns and larger purchases, with retailers already implementing futuristic fitting rooms reporting a 23% increase in their average order value. This is essential for lingerie, swim or activewear brands where the fit and comfortability of the garment are paramount for a customer to make a purchase. 

Leading the digital charge in the contour sector is Triumph, a lingerie brand that has been experimenting with virtual fitting rooms since 2016. Their tailored interactive virtual fitting room, ‘See It, Believe It’, allows customers to select their desired Triumph product and size to view the product on a real-life model. The technology also offers online shoppers the capability to compare the fit of Triumph’s undergarments to standardised products, affording consumers to spot the difference in quality, fit and support. In-store, Triumph has also created the Fantasy Mirror Booth, which creates accurate 3D renderings of a consumer’s silhouette using infrared technology, so consumers can try on products from the brand all without removing a single item of clothing. Triumph have successfully utilised Virtual Fitting Rooms both on and offline to ensure that their customer experience is streamlined, accessible, and most importantly, encourages sales.  

Not only do these virtual fitting rooms increase customer loyalty, but they also provide brands with valuable data to better understand consumer spending patterns and determine what products and sizes are most popular. This allows brands to make informed decisions about future collections resulting in lower wastage and higher profit margins. Virtual fitting rooms are a fantastic tool to improve the customer experience and improve conversion rates. As an industry innovator, London Contour Experts has worked with many brands to build their personal virtual fitting rooms to keep them ahead of the curve and ensure they retain their consumer base. Additionally, we have the capability to create AR fittings where no fitting room is required. Using a smart device, we can take a 3D rendering of your products and allow customers or investors to see themselves wearing your clothes in real-time, taking videos or photos of the look and fit on their own bodies.

VIRTUAL CATWALKS

It is hard for any fashionista to avoid Paris, New York and London Fashion weeks but have you heard of the Metaverse Fashion Week? Debuting in March 2022 inside the 3D platform Decentland, brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ellie Saab and Etro showcased their collections to star-studded front rows of avatars such as Dua Lipa and Aweng Chuol and music performances from pop stars like Grimes. These virtual catwalks are far better at retaining audience attention than live streams of their physical shows on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube which is how the industry has been circulating their catwalk shows since the early 2010s. In a digital world, anything is possible and brands can create fantastical backdrops and set pieces for their shows creating a truly immersive experience perfect for conveying a collection’s narrative or producing an otherworldly atmosphere that aligns with a brand’s core values.    

 

Moreover, virtual shows allow for more accessibility as there is no capacity limit in the Metaverse. This means that there is the potential for consumers, clients and editors from around the globe to watch your collection coming down the runway from the comfort of their own homes, yielding a wider brand awareness. It also allows for accessibility for people of all abilities as you can easily include audio descriptions and subtitling of your shows in real-time. Virtual catwalks are also more sustainable than their physical counterparts as there is less wastage and a reduced carbon footprint as studies show that attendees to the numerous fashion weeks contribute 241,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year. At London Contour Experts, we are always advocating for more sustainable practices to be implemented in the fashion industry and believe all brands should be making efforts to create a more circular business. With our expertise in sustainability and 3D modelling, we can help brands push the boundaries of eco-conscious creativity and create virtual catwalks that showcase your collections exactly how you want them to be presented, all whilst keeping your brand clean and green. 

 

 

The world of 3D assets is new, exciting and full of unlimited possibilities for the fashion industry with the potential to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment. Here at London Contour Experts, we can support brands looking to break into this vast and alien landscape, with our cutting-edge technologies and industry expertise. 

 

Ready to explore the Metaverse? Check out our 3D asset services here!

Don’t forget you can get in touch to discuss the infinite possibilities with 3D assets and your brand with an expert here at HYSCULPT! 

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