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The fashion sector may look completely digital in 50 years. What opportunities does this open up for the fashion industry and who will be the winner in this huge shift affecting the €700 billion global market?

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The Fabricant is a digital fashion house leading the fashion industry towards a new sector of digital-only clothing. It collaborates with global brands and retailers helping them to deep dive into the unlimited possibilities of digital fashion. We talked to the Finland-native founder, Kerry Murphy on what happens in the future of fashion and how it affects the business.

Hi Kerry! What are you up to right now at the Fabricant?

The Fabricant is building a digital business model for physical fashion brands. We do this from two focus points. Firstly, we onboard physical fashion brands who need innovation, to our platform where we establish a branded storefront for them selling digital products that connect to wearing on video calls, AR lenses and playable in games.

Currently, we have an ongoing partnership with a premium physical brand called Guild. They are a bespoke artisanal fashion company with a need to expand to virtual products with the same craftsmanship approach. They utilise AI tools and Photoshop to craft their collections, and The Fabricant supports them by producing 3D assets, AR lenses and community building. We have a multi-drop planned where the looks will be implemented in multiple different games.

As for the short-term future, we have a very innovative project launching in Q1 with one of the most high-end Parisian luxury brands which is entering the virtual space with one of their most iconic fashion items from the 80’s, essentially connecting the past with the future. 

It’s a project that will onboard younger audiences to an older heritage brand, and their existing buyers into the new and innovative virtual space. With this project, we are implementing this fashion item in as many games as possible, and are on the lookout for gaming ecosystems who want to feature this product. We already have several and want to expand as wide as possible.

Beyond Q1 this year, we will be onboarding more premium brands, and also future-forward musicians and artists with a new digital-merchandise business model. As you can imagine the physical merchandise business model is a necessary one for all artists, but not an easy one to manage with production, logistics, distribution, quality control, managing stock, and travelling with stock. 

There are so many value propositions to digital, as it caters for the same emotion. Fandom and memorabilia are what merch essentially is for. Artists now have a new channel and experience to cater for their fans allowing them to get closer to the community at scale. We are always on the lookout for more innovative future-forward fashion brands and artists who want to expand to this new industry.


Why should we move towards digital retail and when will that happen?

The vision of The Fabricant is that one day everyone will have one garment that keeps us warm and covered, overlaid with a virtual layer of identity where people can download and instantly change outfits to the occasion. Regardless of when this future is reality, this is our guiding north star. We aim to reduce physical clothing in the world by giving a superior digital experience.

We are not naive enough to understand that it’s early days. But looking at the speed and scale of physical production is not sustainable. Some reports say that within 50-60 years we will have exhausted natural resources to keep producing new materials. 

The industry as a whole produces more than 100 billion new items every year, where 80% ends up as waste. There is a clothing pile so big in Atacama desert in Chile that can be seen from space. It is known as the second most polluting industry after the oil industry. But sustainability is not the only reason why they need to move towards this space (although a very important one as 3D processes can contribute to a lot less waste in the design and manufacturing process). 

One of the main reasons why fashion brands need to move into this space is the fact that their consumers are already living digital lives in social media and gaming. Most people don’t even consume fashion physically anymore, but through content on socials, and interactivity in virtual platforms.

Anyone not jumping into this space right now will be quickly left behind.

Roblox is the winning platform of today generating more than $700M in revenue from digital fashion in Q3 2023. Fortnite since its inception in 2017 has generated more $26Bn in digital assets, 66% of that being digital fashion.

Fashion brands need to move into this space, for connection to new audiences, give a new experience and establish a new revenue stream focusing on scalability, sustainability and growth. This is already happening. The front runners are Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Diesel and the list goes on. Anyone not jumping into this space right now will be quickly left behind.

What is your vision of tomorrow's design company and its customers/fans? How will it be different from traditional design companies?

It’s easy to predict who will be the winners of tomorrow. It is the ones who will be able to move faster, produce better quality and be cheaper than the current competitors. Digital transformation of every industry proved this to us. With AI tools many companies can be looking at how to elevate their product. 

At The Fabricant, we build on this every day, as some 3D processes are still very slow. Our CTO has a PhD in AI which helps us a lot to build tools to speed internal creativity and quality of visual assets. 

With AI tools many companies can be looking at how to elevate their product.

One of my favorite physical fashion brands at the moment is Guild who are on our platform. They are a small team of three who are capable of producing physical clothes and are moving fast towards digital products with the help of AI tools. Within ten days they were able to put a whole new collection narrative, photoshoot and product together with amazing results.

The photos have models, horses and clothing in them that depict a superior narrative that speaks directly to the imagination. And they did this practically for free, when in the traditional world this would have taken months to set up and cost tens of thousands.


The difference is that they can already be selling a product with a so-called digital-first approach without having to produce samples. Currently, the way this is happening with innovative brands like Nike, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, G-Star and a few others is that they’ve replaced the physical sampling process with 3D rendering. 

These 3D renders can be used in the B2B sales process as well as consumer-facing imagery on online channels. With the help of AI tools, these brands have been able to generate marketing campaigns with increased speed, high quality and connection to new audiences.

It’s of course important to direct communications in a considerate way as not everyone cares for these techniques or innovative approaches. For some brands, it might be too disruptive to change fast, as their consumer base might be more conservative or older. So, it’s important to take them by the hand and make the transition as little disruptive as possible. Many people’s jobs are on the line. The way I see brands managing this is that they start small with proof of concepts with a company like The Fabricant.

Can you tell us about the new business models that design industries could utilize in the digital worlds?

My favorite example of this is our collaboration with Weekday from last year. They sold physical glasses, and we sold the digital versions. We ended up selling three times as many digital versions with a price point of €5 (physicals were €120). And we increased the revenue for Weekday with a double-digit percentage. 

A fashion brand's challenge always is to sell items for small profits, and we were able to scale that for them simply by introducing a digital item connected to the physical one. EU is introducing a so-called Digital Product Passport (DPP) across multiple industries. Every garment will need a DPP, meaning that there is an opportunity to create an engaging experience to beyond the informative nature of the DPP.

Which digital fashion creators we should keep our eye on?

There are many to name, but Stephy Fung, Draup, Syky, Guild, Maison Margiela, Dressx and of course The Fabricant are top of mind for anyone operating in this industry. It keeps growing despite the criticism there is to metaverse, crypto, NFTs, and AI. 

These are the tools of the future and designers and companies of the future embrace them with open arms and keep building relentlessly regardless of the challenges. The main locations where digital fashion is growing the fastest are Seoul, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. 

Even though Europe is the leader in fashion, other regions are embracing new technology such as NFTs, Metaverse and AI and will be ahead of the curve in adoption. We have amazing talent here, and it is a great place for start-ups to be situated, but there is more support needed by the VC ecosystem, and EU innovation grants.

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