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How virtual clothing could assist in reducing the amount of waste produced by the fashion industry

The ephemeral nature of fashion may seem an odd match for the blockchain, a long-lasting online ledgerTo reduce waste and advance fashion, the industry is figuring out ways to use it and other digital tools.

Italian company Lablaco is working with fashion houses and brands to digitize their collections in the growing “phygital” fashion market, where customers buy both a physical fashion item and its digital twin intended to be collected or worn by avatars in virtual environments like the metaverse.

In 2016, Eliana Kuo and Lorenzo Albrighi established Lablaco. Both had experience in high-end fashion, but they wanted to raise the industry’s sustainability standards and promote circular fashion, which is the process of creating clothing in a way that minimizes waste.

In 2019, the two co-founded the Circular Fashion Summit, and in 2021, Lablaco will launch a blockchain-based clothing rental service in partnership with retailer H&M.

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They contend that pushing fashion into digital spaces aids in the generation of data that is crucial in efforts to move toward circular fashion. The digital equivalent of a physical item is transferred to the new owner’s digital wallet when it is sold because, according to Lablaco’s model, physical and digital items remain paired even after a sale. The new owner can be sure of its authenticity thanks to blockchain technology’s transparency, and the item’s creator can track its after-sales journey.

According to Albrighi, if you don’t digitize the product itself, you won’t have any data to measure and won’t know how fashion is affecting your business.

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Cutting and reducing waste

Digital fashion might help to lower the 92 million tons of waste produced by the textile and fashion industries each year.

Virtual environments might act as a kind of testbed for the real world, according to Kuo. For instance, a designer might publish a piece of digital clothing in the metaverse in 10 different colors, and then use sales information to determine which colors to use for the real-world version. It “automatically converts to an on-demand model, which can really reduce the waste in fashion,” she claimed.

Trying on virtual clothing, according to Albrighi, could reduce the amount of clothing returned in the real world. He continues by saying that holding fashion shows in virtual locations lessens the need for travel in the fashion industry. The sector’s carbon footprint could be reduced by either intervention.

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However, Albrighi asserts that encouraging designers is essential if these innovations are to become widely used. The phygital model offers a way to “produce less and actually earn more” by allowing brands to receive royalties when an item is resold over the course of its lifetime.

He affirms that it marks the beginning of an entirely new industry.

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