Sustainability, Fashion, and the Metaverse

     Tackling sustainability and our ever-changing identity in fashion is, to most, an oxymoron. The question all sustainable brands must consider is “how do we create trends and communities that consumers can continue to participate in while not feeding into fast fashion?” The issue is, for many people fashion is a signifier of who they are in that moment, and fast fashion (whether designer or ready to wear), is the most accessible way to reach that. Since sustainable clothing has a long way to go in inclusion, equity, affordability, and a diverse range of styles, it leaves the majority unable to fully embrace the idea. 

     The answer to this dilemma; is the metaverse and NFT’s. Digital fashion could be the solution to this problem, not only by allowing endless possibilities for identity but reducing more waste in the physical production and design process. Today, we’ll look at a brand called The Fabricant that looks to do just that. They are the first digital fashion house to be created and not only make 3D garments but fashion narratives. The Fabricant’s idea is that “Through our work we harness the power of the digital realm to build an inspiring and collaborative fashion future that operates beyond physical boundaries. We are committed to the creation of a new fashion perspective that revolutionizes industry systems, and makes self expression through digital clothing a sustainable way to explore personal identity.”

     According to The Fabricant’s research on the lifecycle of a single digital shirt (versus a physical shirt), you can reduce water use from 683 liters to 0, toxicity footprint from 12,300 kg to 0.692 kg, and CO2 from 7.8 kg to 0.26 kg. However, there is still the discussion of how the blockchain, minting process, etc actually pollutes as well. Thankfully, because the platform is so new, people are starting to implement and have conversations about sustainability from the get-go. There are articles on the processes and guides you can take that make selling and creating NFTs eco-friendly. The biggest immediate difference is that even though NFT’s may use up energy, they are still just a virtual objects, while actual clothing production will physically pollute the environment for years to come.

     The Fabricant has already worked with brands such as Adidas, Underarmour, Buffalo London, Tommy Hilfiger, and Puma. With so many well-known brands it is only a matter of time before companies make it possible for people to interact with their brands without understanding what NFT’s are (think apple and the lightning port). Though The Fabricant and NFT fashion has a long way to go before becoming truly sustainable or even being carbon negative, nothing is set in stone with the metaverse, which means there are endless possibilities to what it can achieve.