Futuristic fashion enters the virtual sphere with AR, VR, and virtual accessories

A rising trend in the fashion industry since COVID hit is to use Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as more immersive solutions for virtual shopping. For many items, they offer a way to “try on” without actually being present in a fitting room.

What’s more, brands like Gucci and Burberry are popping up inside video games and other virtual spaces with futuristic fashion for players’ skin models or avatars.

Modern apps and non-traditional platforms like gaming are a means of introducing high-end brand names to newer, wider audiences. But is it working? And is it the new normal?

gucci off the grid the sims 4

Augmented Reality Revolutionizing Online Clothes Shopping

What’s the biggest pain point for online shopping? Knowing that what you see on a screen will look the same once it arrives, and that it looks good on your body. Many are attempting to tackle this with plugins and solutions that mimic the in-store fitting room mirror.shop heron preston on italist

Off-White and Snapchat recently launched a collaboration that allows users to style their Off-White face masks, and also add their mask to their Bitmoji. From Gucci, you can buy a pair of virtual sneakers and try them on in AR, or wear them in gaming settings—a way to enjoy the Gucci experience at a significantly lower cost, and “consume” fashion in a more sustainable way.

off-white face mask bitmoji

prada AR app VR runway show futuristic fashion

Prada is working on ways to bring the in-store experience to users wherever they are with 360° runway show videos and boutique walk-throughs. In the future, the average shopper may visit a Prada boutique virtually, to survey the inventory or “try on” virtually before ever stepping foot in a store IRL.

IKEA and Warby Parker are non-luxury names addressing AR at scale. With an AR app, the former allows shoppers to see what a piece of furniture might look like in their home, and Warby Parker’s AR app allows users to “try on” different eyewear frames using the front camera on their phone.

Designer Brand Names Hijacking The Gaming World

It’s not just about making shopping easier. It’s about gamifying the shopping journey. The Star recently covered the top video game fashion trends, most notably the Honor of Kings Burberry skin, which allows players’ avatar skin models to wear Burberry’s iconic check print on an appropriately-themed garment. This builds positive brand awareness for Burberry, but also encourages players to match their game personas to their real life selves with real Burberry pieces.

burberry honor of kings skin model futuristic fashion

Another fascinating crossover is seen with Gucci’s Off The Grid collection—a capsule collection of sustainably-produced bags and accessories—which debuted as a component of The Sims 4 game. Digitized by creator Grimcookies, it’s the first digital recreation of a sustainable fashion line, and paired with the lifelike appearance of Sims characters, is one of the most realistic, lifelike digital crossovers we’ve seen.

jane fonda the sims 4 gucci off the grid sustainable luxury collection

2021 Fashion Trends Influenced By New Technology

The pandemic may have accelerated an already-trending movement, but it’s clear that augmented and virtual reality will be a new fixture in online clothes shopping. And, we believe it will begin to also influence futuristic fashion in the physical world.

Already, many designers are thinking about the next frontiers of futuristic fashion, using robotics and AI to produce runway shows and presentations unlike anything we’ve seen before.

dolce and gabbana fall winter 2021 cyberpunk fashion glam rock runway presentation

The virtual world, often designed as an escape from reality, is also driving physical fashion, encouraging designers to think more broadly about fabrics and fabrications, integrating different elements and materials, and allow their users to embody their fantasy worlds in real life.

Discover more futuristic Fashion Trends coverage.

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About the Author

Alex English is the Head of Content Marketing at italist.com, building on a lifelong passion for fashion and luxury. After publishing a lifestyle blog for nearly ten years and obtaining an MBA in Milan at SDA Bocconi, one of Europe’s top business schools, he joined the italist team in 2019. His work since then has focused on upper-funnel messaging, brand storytelling, establishing italist as a thought leader in the space, and enriching the customer experience on the platform. Find him on LinkedIn.