In an ever-evolving fashion landscape, trends and innovations are no longer coming from solely brick-and-mortar stores. The modern shopper now demands a personalized experience that provides convenience and accessibility, whether online or offline.
The combination of physical and digital elements has been transforming the way people shop for their clothing, allowing shoppers access to unique products and gaining an enhanced in-store experience through technology.
Fashion brands worldwide have taken note of this trend, eager to capitalize on its potential benefits, but what exactly is phygital fashion? Read on to learn more about what it means and why it’s important for brands today!
What is phygital fashion?
Phygital fashion refers to the fusion of physical and digital elements in the fashion industry. This can take many forms, such as using virtual or augmented reality technology in fashion shows and retail experiences, integrating wearable technology into clothing and accessories, and blurring lines between online and offline fashion consumption.
Phygital fashion represents a shift towards a more immersive and interactive approach to fashion, breaking down traditional boundaries and allowing for new possibilities in how we engage with fashion. It is an exciting development shaping the industry’s future and changing how we think about fashion and technology.
The meaning of Phygital is quite simple to understand. The word “phygital” is simply a compound of the words (phy)sical and di(gital). It originates from the Web3 community, which believes in the evolution of the internet as we know it today into a decentralized and even more interactive and usable tool.
But even in the scene, the word is a rather controversial one. The term phygital didn’t originate in the fashion industry and is not only related to it. It just describes the fusion of the physical and digital worlds. Concerning our topic: Merging physical and digital worlds of fashion.
How do you merge the physical and digital worlds of fashion?
Phygital fashion is all about blending the physical and digital worlds of fashion. But how do you merge these worlds, and why should you even bother? The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Just like the term “phygital” itself is not yet widely recognized, there is no specific formula for creating phygital fashion.
The key is to find ways to incorporate elements of the digital world into physical fashion items or vice versa. Many tools are available to help you achieve this, and it’s up to you to decide which ones to use and how to use them. In the following sections, we’ll explore some of these technologies and showcase how major fashion brands are already utilizing them.
If you want to dive deeper into the topic, the Phygital Design Agency is an agency whose website gives you a good overview of the different tools.
Tool 1: AR filters
We assume that AR filters are nothing new to you. You’ve probably used them many times to send funny pictures of yourself to your friends and family. You can use it on various social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok.
And guess what? The fashion industry has also discovered AR Filters for itself. Fashion companies like Gucci have already designed AR filters in which you can wear shoes digitally.
Amazon also recently entered into an exclusive partnership with Snapchat to virtually try on sunglasses offered on Amazon.
It will be a while before the technology works as a virtual try-on for all kinds of clothing, but should we tell you a secret? The fashion companies already working with AR filters do so mainly because those filters offer a huge organic reach and are a great way to let the community interact with the label.
Tool 2: NFC chips
We like to lean far out the window and describe NFC chips as the most thought-after technology to create phygital fashion. First, a small description of NFC (Near-Field Communication) chips: You certainly know NFC chips from contactless payment with your bank card in the supermarket and hotel key cards. In short, these are chips on which stored data can be read out with a terminal device such as a smartphone.
Now you are probably wondering how NFC chips should be used in fashion. Quite simply, you can store any kind of data on these chips, and they can be sewn onto your clothes in the form of clothing tags. The chips can serve as a certificate of authenticity for clothing, be used to communicate with the garment owner, or simply contain information about the garment. One of the most famous projects using NFC chips is a hoodie from a Nike x RTFKT collaboration.
Tool 3: Metaverse Wearables
You’re probably thinking, “Oh no, that eternal Metaverse topic again. I already get enough ads about it on my social media.” And we must admit, we are seeing more and more ads of this type too.
Maybe that’s why more (in particular) high fashion brands are collaborating with Metaverse projects. A number of collaborations have been announced in the last few months: from Burberry x Minecraft to Ralph Lauren x Fortnite.
Various virtual worlds, so-called metaverses, are clearly in vogue among fashion brands and will remain so, according to the Roblox 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends Report. The reasons for this are obvious: young people like to present themselves in their digital selves, and fashion labels use this to tap into new markets.
It’s hard to predict the future of fashion, but it’s safe to say that digitization plays a big role in its evolution. As more and more labels embrace this new technology, we expect to see even bigger changes in how we shop for and consume fashion. We’re already seeing brands experimenting with innovative ways to merge the physical and digital worlds, and it’s exciting to think about all the possibilities yet to be explored.
There are already quite a few signs of this, and agencies such as the Phygital Design Agency are making a major contribution to training traditional fashion companies in the specialist field of phygital fashion.