Fashion trends 2022: Maisie Williams announces H&M digital fashion competition
Fashion

H&M is launching its first ever virtual fashion collection – here’s what that means

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The Swedish retailer has announced that it’s dipping its toe into the realm of virtual fashion for the first time. 

Of all of the trends set to make headlines this year, physical clothes that you can’t physically touch or syphon away to the backs of your wardrobe looks set to be the most dominant.

Indeed, digital fashion, which is to say, clothes that are wholly virtual are becoming the trend du jour in the world of fashion, with H&M the latest in a long line of retailers to announce a virtual collection.

Fronted by actor and sustainability advocate Maisie Williams, H&M’s foray into virtual fashion is a momentous one. The brand has joined forces with Dress-X, a virtual fashion specialist, to design an entirely digital collection. In order to be in with a chance of winning an online look, the brand has launched a competition on social media for entrees to conceive of a fun name for the virtual looks. The three winners of the competition will be able to have H&M’s digital clothes edited onto digital images of themselves. All of the (virtual) social impact, with no actual impact to the environment.

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Fashion trends 2022: Maisie Williams announces H&M digital fashion competition
One of H&M's digital fashion outfits available in its inaugural virtual fashion competition

Dress-X has predicted that if we substitute 1% of physical clothing with digital garments, the annual carbon footprint of the fashion industry will be reduced by 35 million tonnes, which is equal to the total carbon emissions produced by Denmark in 2017.

While Dress-X is a leader in the field of virtual fashion, there are others clamouring for a piece of the digital pie too. Carlings and The Fabricant are also virtual fashion purveyors, with the latter having charged just shy of £10,000 for an iridescent maxi dress that, you guessed it, doesn’t physically exist. 

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Fashion trends 2022: Maisie Williams announces H&M digital fashion competition
Virtual fashion has seen an uptick of interest as it becomes a solution to the buy now, wear once model of social-first dressing

The trend is clear though. In March 2021, Gucci debuted its first pair of virtual trainers in collaboration with AR company Wanna, which cost just £8, while interactive styling app Drest, which lets users buy digital versions of current luxury fashion collections from 200 high-end brands (among them Gucci, Prada, Loewe and Stella McCartney), has had thousands sign up since it launched in 2019.

Welcome to fashion in 2022.

Find out more about H&M’s digital fashion competition here.     

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Images: courtesy of H&M.