Fashion industry is considered one of the largest polluters in the world and the environmental damage is only increasing as the industry expands. Thus, the importance of sustainability grows every year making designers and fashion houses to rethink their processes of production. Where there are many ways to shop and dress more sustainably one of the paths is to adapt to digital fashion.
This season IFN Fashion Tv together with Dress X, The Fabricant and Boer group collaborated for sustainability focused editorial with a 2 part interview, which showcases the importance of long lasting wear.
LA based digital dressing platform Dress X is working on creating the garments of the future that eliminate waste and chemicals during production, and minimize carbon footprint. The founders Natalia Modenova and Daria Shapovalova share their insights on sustainability and present a new perspective on the fashion industry.
Marija Vasileviciute: What are the main problems and challenges in the fashion sector today?
Daria Shapovalova: The production and distribution of the fibers and garments used in fashion all contribute to different forms of environmental pollution, including water, air, and soil pollution, while overproduction and overconsumption of the fashion items are among the main factors creating the pollution. Over the last 20 years, the volume of clothing production in the world has doubled, reaching 100 billion tons. There is also a problem with water resources. For example, making one pair of jeans and one T-shirt requires the same amount of water as a person drinks for 13 years.
Marija Vasileviciute: How and in which ways can technology make the fashion industry more sustainable?
Daria Shapovalova: Having done our research we were able to discover that production of a digital garment emits 97% less of CO2 than production of a physical garment. Production of a digital garment, on average, saves 3300 liters of water per item, which is enough for one person to drink 2 liters per day during 3,5 years. We presented this important information in the first report on Sustainability in Digital fashion at Fashion Tech Summit in January 2021 and we constantly consult with the leaders from the United Nations Environmental Program, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Fashion for Good and Fashion Revolution organizations.
Natalia Modenova: Digital fashion provides a unique opportunity to redefine business models and build a more sustainable and progressive future. In order to achieve it for the whole industry, the requirement is to integrate all forms of digitization – from supply chain to creation, to showcase and to retail. With digital fashion, consumption can keep growing to support growth and development of the whole sector, but the environmental cost of such consumption will be significantly reduced.
Marija Vasileviciute: What potential scenarios do you envision for digital fashion in the coming few years? Where is it going?
Natalia Modenova: Right now digital fashion is in the spotlight of the blockchain community, because they see the value in digital assets that comes from the success stories in digital art and NFT space. As traceability and provenance are the key for high fashion (just look at resale market, sneakerheads and The Real Real for example), the implementation of NFTs and blockchain in the digital fashion use cases will definitely drive an additional interest and value to it. At DressX we understand the value of authentic work and see the potential that blockchain technology can bring to the future of digital fashion, which is why we are building the next use-cases for digital fashion enabled by blockchain. I am happy to announce that shortly we will launch our own NFT marketplace, creating a blueprint for the industry on how to lead digital fashion business sustainably, even while deep-diving into such a controversial topic as blockchain, cryptocurrency, and NFTs. Together with our Chief Sustainability Officer, we’ve put a lot of effort into researching the space and enabling sustainable practices, and will share our research results on our upcoming Fashion Tech Summit dedicated to Sustainability of NFTs.
Marija Vasileviciute: Could digital fashion be the answer to how fast fashion impacts the environment?
Daria Shapovalova: We see digital fashion as a sustainable alternative to all the fashion items consumed for content creation. While DressX indeed provides a solution to the industry’s fast fashion problem allowing people to experiment with their style and content production without buying any physical goods, we also see digital fashion as a way to democratize the industry and make luxury fashion more accessible to everyone. We created a new way to shop for content – when everyone has an opportunity to wear any look they want in digital, where it is 10 times less expensive than in the physical world and almost 100% less polluting to the environment.
Marija Vasileviciute: What is Dress X vision for the future?
Natalia Modenova: Of course, we will still be wearing the material clothing, but there will be more and more use cases for digital fashion and more people will embrace the value of it. At DressX, we assume that in 10 years the TAM for digital clothing will account for $10 billion which also equals 1% of the fashion industry market. With just 1% displacement rate we will eliminate the annual carbon footprint of the fashion industry by 35 mln tons, which is a total carbon emission of Denmark in 2017. We can also potentially save 5 trillion liters of water, equal to annual global consumption of fresh water for agriculture and domestic use.
Daria Shapovalova: In the 5-years period digitalization of fashion will definitely bring a lot of possibilities for making the industry more environmentally-friendly and sustainable. In the nearest future digital fashion will not be surprising as it is now and the experience will be seamless. And of course, sustainability will stop being treated as yet another marketing buzzword – in order to grow and succeed in the industry fashion brands will have to have sustainability in the core of their business models.
Creative direction / production coordinator: Marija Vasileviciute https://www.instagram.com/marija_vas/?hl=en
Photgrapher / editor: Lina Lman https://www.instagram.com/lina.lman/?hl=en
Model: Laura Terschure Mix Models https://www.instagram.com/mixmodels/
Make up artist: Divine Tayrus https://www.instagram.com/divinetayrus/?hl=en
Digitally dressed by: Dress X https://www.instagram.com/dressx/?hl=en
Joost Vermeer https://www.instagram.com/prismane_design/?hl=en
Digital garments: The Fabricant https://www.instagram.com/the_fab_ric_ant/?hl=en
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Boer group https://www.boergroup.eu/
Beauty Bar Baarn https://www.instagram.com/beautybarbaarn/?hl=en