Digital Fashion for Low Carbon Lifestyle

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Digital fashion and virtual try-ons represent a paradigm shift in the fashion industry, leveraging technology to create, showcase, and experience clothing in a virtual environment. Digital fashion refers to garments designed and existing solely in the digital realm, often used for avatars in video games, virtual worlds, and social media platforms. Virtual try-ons, on the other hand, utilize augmented reality (AR) and 3D body scanning technologies to allow users to “try on” clothing virtually, eliminating the need for physical garments in the decision-making process.

Impact on climate action

Digital Fashion and Virtual Try-Ons reduce carbon footprints by minimizing physical garment production and transportation. By promoting virtual shopping experiences, they curb textile waste and emissions associated with traditional fashion cycles. This innovation encourages sustainable consumption habits, fostering a shift towards a low carbon lifestyle in the fashion industry.


  • 3D Design and Modeling: Digital fashion relies on sophisticated 3D design and modeling software, such as Clo3D and Marvelous Designer, to create realistic digital garments with intricate details, textures, and movements.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR technology overlays digital content onto the real world, allowing users to interact with virtual objects, such as digital clothing, through smartphone cameras or smart glasses.
  • 3D Body Scanning: 3D body scanning technologies capture precise measurements of the human body, creating digital avatars that can be used for virtual try-ons and personalized garment design.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is playing an increasingly important role in digital fashion, assisting with garment design, optimizing virtual try-on experiences, and personalizing style recommendations.
  • Blockchain Technology: Blockchain can be used to verify the authenticity and ownership of digital fashion items, creating a new market for digital collectibles and virtual assets.

TRL : 7-9 (depending on the specific application)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Hyper-Realistic Digital Fabrics and Textures: Advancements in 3D modeling and rendering technologies are enabling the creation of hyper-realistic digital fabrics and textures that mimic the look and feel of real materials.
  • AI-Powered Virtual Styling Assistants: AI algorithms can analyze user preferences, body shapes, and current trends to provide personalized style recommendations and assist with digital wardrobe creation.
  • Virtual Fashion Shows and Events: Digital fashion shows and events are becoming increasingly popular, offering immersive and interactive experiences that showcase digital clothing collections and engage global audiences without the environmental impact of traditional fashion events.
  • Digital Fashion Marketplaces: Online platforms are emerging as marketplaces for buying, selling, and trading digital fashion items, creating a new economy for virtual clothing and accessories.
  • 3D Body Scanning Apps for Personalized Fit: Mobile apps utilizing smartphone cameras for 3D body scanning are enabling users to capture precise measurements and create digital avatars for virtual try-ons, ensuring a more accurate and personalized fit.

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • The Fabricant:
    • Technology Focus: The Fabricant specializes in digital fashion design and virtual clothing. They utilize advanced 3D modeling, animation, and rendering technologies to create digital garments that can be worn virtually.
    • Uniqueness: They stand out for their innovative approach to fashion, where physical garments are replaced by digital creations, allowing for limitless customization and sustainability benefits.
    • End-User Segments: Their solutions target fashion-forward consumers, digital influencers, and brands looking to explore virtual fashion shows, digital marketing campaigns, and e-commerce experiences.
    • Technology Focus: DRESSX offers a platform for virtual try-ons and digital clothing. They integrate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to allow users to try on digital garments in real-time.
    • Uniqueness: Their platform enables consumers to experience fashion in a virtual space, offering personalized styling options without the need for physical inventory.
    • End-User Segments: DRESSX caters to fashion enthusiasts, online shoppers, and brands seeking innovative ways to engage with customers through virtual fashion experiences.
  • Replika:
    • Technology Focus: Replika focuses on creating virtual avatars and digital clothing customization. They leverage AI and machine learning to generate realistic avatars and simulate clothing try-ons.
    • Uniqueness: Their technology allows users to personalize avatars and virtually try on a wide range of digital clothing items, enhancing the online shopping experience.
    • End-User Segments: Replika serves consumers interested in virtual self-expression, gaming communities, and brands looking to integrate digital fashion into their marketing strategies and e-commerce platforms.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • London College of Fashion:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at the London College of Fashion are advancing digital fashion technologies by integrating augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for virtual try-ons. They are developing realistic simulations that allow consumers to visualize clothing items virtually before purchasing, reducing the need for physical prototypes and thereby lowering carbon emissions associated with transportation and manufacturing.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The approach at London College of Fashion involves collaborations between fashion designers, computer scientists, and sustainability experts to ensure that virtual try-ons not only enhance consumer experience but also promote sustainable consumption habits. They are exploring innovative ways to replicate the texture, fit, and drape of garments virtually to improve accuracy and user satisfaction.
    • End-use Applications: The research has applications across the fashion industry, including online retail platforms, fashion design studios, and sustainable fashion brands. By enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions through virtual try-ons, the London College of Fashion is supporting the transition towards a low carbon lifestyle by reducing textile waste and carbon footprints associated with fashion consumption.
  • Parsons School of Design:
    • Technology Enhancements: Parsons School of Design is at the forefront of digital fashion innovation with a focus on developing AI-driven virtual try-on solutions. Their research includes the use of computer vision algorithms to create realistic simulations of clothing items on digital avatars, providing accurate representations of fit and style.
    • Uniqueness of Research: The uniqueness lies in Parsons’ approach to integrating sustainability metrics into virtual try-on technologies. They are exploring ways to measure and communicate the environmental impact of fashion choices made through virtual platforms, thereby empowering consumers to make eco-conscious decisions.
    • End-use Applications: The technologies developed at Parsons have implications for e-commerce platforms, fashion retailers, and sustainability-focused brands. By promoting virtual try-ons as a sustainable alternative to traditional shopping practices, Parsons School of Design aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with fashion production and consumption.
  • Royal College of Art (RCA):
    • Technology Enhancements: RCA researchers are advancing digital fashion through innovative use of 3D modeling and simulation technologies. They are developing customizable virtual try-on experiences that allow consumers to personalize clothing designs and visualize them in real-time, fostering a more sustainable approach to fashion consumption.
    • Uniqueness of Research: RCA’s research integrates principles of circular fashion and user-centered design into digital fashion technologies. They are exploring ways to extend the lifecycle of garments through virtual customization and upcycling, encouraging consumers to engage in more sustainable consumption practices.
    • End-use Applications: The research at RCA has broad applications in the fashion industry, including luxury brands, fashion tech startups, and sustainable fashion initiatives. By promoting digital fashion and virtual try-ons, RCA is contributing to a low carbon lifestyle by reducing textile waste and promoting conscious consumer behavior through immersive and sustainable shopping experiences.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Digital fashion and virtual try-ons are being increasingly adopted by major fashion brands and retailers. Companies like Nike, Gucci, and H&M have launched digital fashion collections and are experimenting with AR try-on experiences. While the market for purely digital fashion is still emerging, virtual try-ons are gaining traction as a valuable tool for online shoppers, enhancing the e-commerce experience and reducing the need for physical returns.