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digital-clothes-sustainable-fashion-thefutureparty

Sustainable fashion tries on digital clothes

digital-clothes-sustainable-fashion-thefutureparty
Digital clothes

Sustainable fashion tries on digital clothes

The Future. People are starting to invest less in their closets and more in digital clothes. This new fashion trend uses AR technology, allowing people to virtually “try on” and wear styles that they can show off on social media. It is more affordable, more sustainable, and allows people to flaunt a more adventurous sense of style.

A major fashion emergency

Increasingly, fashion’s sustainability crisis has made headlines. Startling statistics underscore the waste that the industry produces.

  • We produce almost twice the amount of clothing today compared to 20+ years ago.
  • 20% of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry. To break that down further, the production of one pair of jeans and a t-shirt requires 5,000 gallons of water.
  • 4 million tons of textiles go to waste annually, while 10% of global carbon emissions come from the fashion production cycle.

Now, digital fashion can help unearth solutions. By allowing consumers to change up their wardrobes frequently without any physical production, digital fashion is a major win for the industry.

Digital fashion dreams 
Emerging designers can also benefit from the digital fashion movement. They can kick start their career in the digital space without the physical production costs that keep many from turning their dreams into reality. Not to mention, with people switching up their styles more frequently, new designers are more likely to be noticed and digitally “worn.”

Nike Patents Reveal Future Metaverse Plans

Nike gets fit for the metaverse

Nike Patents Reveal Future Metaverse Plans
Nike Metaverse // Illustration by Kate Walker

Nike gets fit for the metaverse

The Future. Some of Nike’s patent filings over the past few years unbox a long-in-the-works play for the metaverse, including digital sneakers, NFT “cryptokicks”, and avatars that can compete for virtual gear. With Microsoft working on its own interoperable avatars for the metaverse, Nike could soon outfit an entire digital ecosystem.

“Cryptokicks”
Here are a few of the things Nike is stitching up for the metaverse:

  • User-avatars that can wear digital Nike clothes and also complete tasks to earn gear using Nike’s athletic-tracking devices.
  • “Cryptokicks” — digital sneakers that correspond to a real, physical pair. The digital sneakers could then be sold separately as NFTs.
  • Wearable virtual sneakers using AR tech.
  • “Shoe offspring” — Frankenstein sneaks made from different digital kicks.
  • Something called “intelligent electronic shoes.”

Additionally, Nike could offer limited edition sneakers at events or for promotions, locking in digital drops in a real geographic location. Per the patent: “Spectators at a professional sporting home opener may give the right to acquire one of a limited quantity of unique digital assets, each being separately secured via its own cryptographic token.”

Digital drop
By diving into the digital/crypto/metaverse space, Nike could also solve a few problems that have plagued sneakerheads, like losing to bots on the SNKRS app or trying to authenticate if a pair of resold Nikes are real.

  • With the cryptokicks application, counterfeiting could be a thing of the past.
  • The SNKRS app could roll out a virtual line populated by verified avatars in order to participate in drops.

Nike is only at the beginning of its digital journey, which reported a 147% growth last quarter. Very soon, Nike’s past year of innovations (like releasing a Travis Scott shoe in Fortnite and virtual sneaker try-ons) will be seen as rudimentary.

Flowers for Society drops physical sneaker and an NFT

Flowers for Society blooms both sneakers and NFTs

Flowers for Society drops physical sneaker and an NFT
Flowers for Society // Illustration by Kate Walker

Flowers for Society blooms both sneakers and NFTs

A new sneaker brand called Flowers for Society is dropping both a physical sneaker and an NFT of the shoe in an exclusive drop next month. The NFT is meant to act as a key to the brand’s online community, giving holders access to exclusive drops and content. If successful, expect more mainstream streetwear brands like Supreme or Off-White to dip their toes in NFTs as a way to control limited supply.

Double drop
Flowers for Society stretches across two passionate collecting worlds — sneakers and NFTs.

  • The company will drop its first shoe, the SEED.ONE, as both a physical shoe and an NFT.
  • The NFT will give holders the ability to participate in “future sneaker releases, limited editions, and collaborations.”
  • It also gives holders access to the brand’s “metaverse community,” “The Garden of Comfort,” which has similarities to how Kickstroid is rallying sneakerheads.

The shoe is available for pre-order and will officially drop on November 6.

Community cushion
Flowers for Society’s NFT strategy seems like a way to reward early adopters, giving them exclusive access to the company’s (hopefully) future success. Reportedly, there is only a limited number of NFTs, meaning that these community tokens will rise in value as demand for Flowers for Society grows. It’s almost like a sneaker-buying bot that the company controls instead of an entrepreneurial sneakerhead.

Additionally, Flowers for Society is building an education center in Vietnam, where a lot of sneaker manufacturing is done. It plans on continuing to raise funds for projects like this with each drop.

Adidas and thredUP Team Up to Recycle Your Shoes

adidas and thredUP team up to resell your hand-me-downs

Adidas and thredUP Team Up to Recycle Your Shoes

adidas and thredUP team up to resell your hand-me-downs

The Future. adidas and thredUP are collaborating on something other than footwear — recycling. The new “Choose to Give Back” program allows customers to send in old products in exchange for points toward new ones. As adidas crafts footwear and apparel to be fully recyclable, the new program may be a perfect way to transition its current products into more sustainable items.

Re-box
Taking the time to turn in old clothes can be inconvenient, so adidas and secondhand resale platform thredUP is bringing sustainability to you.

  • The “Choose to Give Back” program allows customers to “extend the lifecycle” of the old products — including those not from adidas.
  • Users receive points for turning in items, which can be used toward new footwear or apparel.
  • It will launch both online and in stores early next year.

Here’s how it works: using the adidas app, users start a “clean out,” they then box up their footwear or clothes and then send it back with a provided pre-paid shipping label. It’s almost as easy as taking out the trash.

Waste waste
“Sustainability” has easily become the hottest trend in fashion, and for a good reason — the fashion industry is a huge polluter. A recent Ellen McArthur Foundation report found that “the equivalent of a garbage truckload of clothes is buried or burned in a landfill every second.” Yeah, that’s not sustainable.

Both adidas and thredUP have been at the forefront of scaling sustainability for the past couple of years. Earlier this year, adidas introduced its first fully-recyclable shoe — the UltraBoost “Made to be Remade” model. Meanwhile, thredUP is one of the market leaders in the Gen-Z favorite secondhand fashion revolution, which saw a 43% jump in its stock when it went public back in March.

kickstroid-app-sneakers

Kickstroid app unboxes sneaker hype

kickstroid-app-sneakers
Kickstroid // Illustration by Kate Walker

Kickstroid app unboxes sneaker hype

The Future. An app called Kickstroid is leveraging community tools and machine learning to create “the smartest sneaker app ever.” By breaking down the components of what makes sneaker-collecting so popular (both the products and the fans), Kickstroid could become the go-to destination for casual sneakerheads to engage with the community at large… creating the first bonafide social platform built around a love of shoes.

Sneak peak
Kickstroid wants to be the cultural hub of all things sneaker love.

  • The app collates curated sneaker news from the community, keeps users updated on upcoming drops, and hosts sneaker battles, where users can vote on their favorite pairs.
  • It also uses machine learning to break down the anatomy of a shoe — brand, type, size, and resale value.

In addition, the app curates a “For You” section for users that surfaces sneaker recommendations based on your interests and activity on the app.

Accessible kicks
Founders David Alston and Nicco Adams catapulted the app into the mainstream earlier this year, thanks to their stint at Apple’s inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers. With the machine learning implementation, the duo compares their “ultimate tool for sneakerheads” to giving Ryan Reynolds the glasses from Free Guy — it breaks down the sneaker world in a whole new, easily digestible way.

That aligns with the stated ethos behind Kickstroid: access. Much has been said about how impossible it feels for normal buyers to cop a pair of hyped kicks, thanks to innovations in bots and sky-high resale prices. Kickstroid knows it can’t fix all the problems of the marketplace, but it does want to help build community.

As Alston says: “Being a sneakerhead doesn’t mean you’re just going after the Travis Scott [shoes]. It’s the love of sneakers entirely…. You just have to be part of the culture in a way you feel comfortable.”

How To Become a Fashion Designer

Being a fashion designer is like being a circus plate spinner; you need to be skilled in multiple areas like business and art at the same time. 

Your Very Own Brand

Creating your own business is difficult enough, but becoming a fashion designer is a whole other animal. There are other creative and ethical challenges that you will contend with and important decisions that will have to be made. 

The Beginnings of Your Clothing Line

The first step is to write a business plan. It will be a roadmap and guide for your business. Business plans are not mandatory, but it’s strongly advised to make one. It doesn’t mean that you can’t change or modify it later on. Improvements and updates are welcome. 

You will have to adapt your business to your local market if you plan on selling locally. Your advertising campaigns will also need to be tailored to the groups you’re looking to sell to. Business is a game of adaptation and evolution. 

It’s important to know what you’re good at and to find a gap in the market that isn’t being filled by another company or brand. Finding your niche starts with identifying your audience first and then developing products for that market. 

There are several things that go into understanding and catering to any particular market. Figure out what types of materials they are interested in, sourcing, and aesthetics. Then, do some research on your competitors and what they’re doing. 

Knowing what your competition isn’t fulfilling for your target demographic is half the battle. The upside to this part is that researching doesn’t require special techniques or skills. Your competition has advertising and social networks to draw data from.  

The next step is to register your business with the state and file the appropriate paperwork. Depending on where you live and want the business to be, you’ll probably need to get a business license and maybe even permits. Lastly, you’ll need to apply for an EIN to pay business taxes to the IRS. 

Then Comes the Designing

Now comes the time to actually start designing your clothing line. Depending on what you want your clothing to cost, you’ll have to figure out what type of material to design with. This is a critically important part of the designing process because your budget is dependent on it. 

Unless you have manufacturing equipment at your disposal, you’re going to need to partner with a manufacturer. Most designers have overseas contracts but if you plan on having a brand associated with ethics and environmentalism, try to work with a domestic manufacturer. 

Later Stages of a New Clothing Line

Pricing is difficult because you want to make a profit, but you also don’t want to make your clothing so expensive that your target audience can’t afford your products. This is a balancing act, and it’s entirely up to you to figure out what your market is willing to pay. 

Where Will You Sell?

Next is to decide where to sell your line. There are a handful of options; brick and mortar, established online retailers, your own online storefront, or any combination of these options. Opening your own physical store with your brand is a monumentally difficult task. 

Most designers sell to established stores and boutiques. Some of the most successful brands start on websites like Etsy and do very well. Amazon is certainly an option, but the margins are not very good on that storefront. 

Consider Marketing

Your market research will come in handy when it comes to marketing. Luckily, the internet provides a flurry of free methods and platforms to advertise your product—namely, Instagram and Facebook. These are truly useful for marketing to particular groups. 

In order to succeed and not hit too many bumps on the road, surround yourself with experts. Hiring a consultant can give you a major head start. Be very careful who you hire, and be sure to run a background check on the previous work they claim to have done. 

Financing

The financing aspect can get a little complicated, but there are some basics to keep in mind. Open a business account with your bank. Keeping your personal and professional finances separate can save a lot of trouble with bookkeeping in the long run. 

While you’re at it, apply for a line of credit for your business. It’s a great way to help finance the business and build your own credit at the same time. If you already have a good credit history, you can even apply for a business loan to get the company off the ground. 

The best way to source materials is through eCommerce sites, where you can buy large quantities for wholesale prices. Try to work out a deal with the manufacturer to get the best deal possible. 

Types of Fashion Design

The world of fashion is vast. There is so much history, culture, and economics at play with every area of it. However, modern fashion design can be broken down into three basic areas; fast fashion, ethical fashion, and haute couture. 

Fast Fashion

Designing fashion that is cheap and trendy is profitable and tempting to pursue. After all, it’s a lot easier to find overseas material suppliers and manufacturers that are cheap, regardless of their methods. 

However, you get what you pay for, and that philosophy and cost-cutting will reflect in your product quality. Polyester is used in over 50% of clothing, and it is terrible for the environment. And it gets worse; it’s not biodegradable. 

Fast fashion companies have intensely large marketing budgets that attempt to constantly convince people to upgrade and change their wardrobes. 

Fast fashion is likely not worth designing, considering the eco-friendly push and demand for ethical working conditions that we’re seeing today. 

Ethical Fashion

Fashion and sustainability have never really gone hand in hand. The fashion industry, as a whole, has been getting better about environmentalism and conservation over recent years, though. Many companies have been adapting to carbon-neutral sourcing. 

If you’re looking into fashion design with an emphasis on sustainability, you need to define what you believe is ethical. Your focus could be on a number of issues, like working conditions at the manufacturer’s workshops, organic material sourcing, and more. 

Eco-friendly materials are not only good for the planet, but they can also be a marketing bonus for your brand. 

For example, Allbirds is a shoe company that has recently been branching into clothing and are known for their ethical supply chains. The company claims to be carbon neutral, and their eco-friendly marketing has worked well in garnering them positive reviews. Most of their product line includes materials like ethically sourced wool, tree material, and even sugar. 

When pursuing ethical design concepts, the first step is understanding where your materials come from and what exactly they are made of. If you don’t know what materials you’ll be working with, you can’t make the designs.

Haute Couture

Haute couture is the highest level of fashion possible in terms of style, construction, and materials. Pricing your garments at extremely high points is not enough to consider your clothing couture. There are rigid standards required to be met. 

In France, there is a trade federation called Federation De La Haute Couture Et De La Mode. The organization sets dates for Paris Fashion Week and is also responsible for setting industry standards. There are three separate bodies within the federation; couture, men’s fashion, and women’s fashion. 

There are specific qualifications to be considered an official couture house: a minimum of two collections per year and 35 pieces per collection. The pieces must be made to order for mostly private clients and usually involve three or more fitting sessions per piece. 

Your workshop must employ at least 15 full-time employees and at least 20 technical workers. The federation does have a famous school that teaches all facets of fashion and the skills required to make them. Studying at this school is not a requirement to work at a couture house, though.  

Each couture house piece takes hundreds of hours to create and must abide by the federation’s strict standards. Pieces from these designers average between roughly $40,000 to $80,000, but they can be less or more expensive depending on the piece. 

Couture clothing itself is not particularly profitable in and of itself. What really makes money is marketing accessorization around the clothing that is shown off in magazines and runways. 

If you’re interested in designing couture, moving to France and designing is your best route. You will likely have to work and design for years before a couture house is willing to hire you. It will also take knowing the right people. 

Getting a degree from a respected fashion school is helpful, but by no means does it guarantee you a position. Showing your experience and skills is what will get you into a couture house. 

The Last Thread

Becoming a fashion designer requires a lot of knowledge, experience, and creativity. With the right vision and passion in your heart, your dreams of becoming a successful designer can come true with the right path. 

 

 

Sources: 

Write your business plan | U.S. Small Business Administration

French Fashion Federation changes name | Fashion Network

Sustainability in fashion | CNBC

Virgil Abloh about

Fashion Chooses Diversity To Influence Pop Culture (And Profits)

In the 1990s and 2000s luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci enjoyed their presence on the public pedestal as the status symbols of fashion couture. Yet the luxury brands of years past were unable to connect with the rebellious millennial spirit influenced heavily by hip hop culture. Recently Louis Vuitton hired Ghanaian-American fashion designer and Kanye west muse, Virgil Abloh to be the Director of Men’s Wear and their cultural savant. This is Louis Vuitton’s first African American artistic director, but not a shocking move when looking at the industry at large. The trend began its upswing when classic French fashion house Balmain had a bright idea: hire a brilliant young black man to guide them into the future.

Olivier Rousteing came on board as the creative director for Balmain in 2011 at the young age of 25. He was the first black creative director of a major French fashion house and as such he came on the scene under a degree of scrutiny for both his age and his skin color. Last year, he told LA times, “Sometimes I feel that racism is something that is not obviously obvious in fashion, but you feel it. You have to prove [yourself] more than the others.” He immediately began to modernize both the aesthetic of the brand and the way Balmain communicated with its consumers. His social media presence aka the ‘Balmain Army’ put the brand at the forefront of a younger audience and his vision has gracefully ushered them into a new era of importance, power, and revenue.

After Balmain’s success other fashion giants began to take notice. Most notably Adidas and its partnership with Kanye West, a mentor and collaborator of Virgil. The Adidas partnership no doubt paved the way for Virgil’s position at Louis Vuitton. As Adidas sales began to languish behind perennial favorite Nike, they were searching for a way to better connect with their customer since their shell toed-heyday in the late 80s and early 90s. As they looked to close the more than $10B annual revenue gap between their brand and Nike, the Yeezy line by West became their catalyst for growth. Soon Yeezy’s were ruling the secondary sneaker market that had long been controlled by the resale of Jordans. A telltale sign that Adidas had yet again become culturally relevant.

Even still, when Rousteing, West and Abloh weren’t even in the game, Harlem’s Dapper Dan was defining the boldness that still embodies streetwear to this day. More than 30 years ago Dap began adorning the VIPs of Harlem from rappers to dope-boys and their style defined an era. After quite the hiatus from the limelight, last year Dap, born Daniel Day, was embroiled in a twitter controversy as Gucci’s current creative director Alessandro Michele unveiled a piece very closely mimicking one that Dap made for olympian Diane Dixon. Whereas once upon a time Dap’s store was raided by lawyer’s seizing his equipment, a young Sonia Sotomayor among them, now he is opening a boutique with Gucci in Harlem.

Streetwear has been at the forefront of the fashion conversation for decades. It even took center stage at Louis Vuitton before Virgil’s arrival with their highly successful LV X Supreme collaboration in spring 2017. In reality, these appointments for West at Adidas, Virgil at Louis Vuitton, Rousteing at Balmain and Dapper Dan at Gucci are only news in the fashion industry. For the rest of millennials, this generation has always looked up to musicians and artists for culture and will continue to do so. The blossoming diversity in positions of power is just proof that the consumer does have the final say. The people have spoken and we want culture, not homogenized luxury. This mindset expands beyond the doors of fashion, diversity influences pop culture in outsized ways. Culture molds brands and brands define our world, so diversity makes good business sense.