Digital Certificates can serve as interactive memories with a futuristic depth. Naturally, digital ownership comes with the ability to show and know if products are real and where they have come from, to attach details about warranties, insurances, or repairs, and to prevent them from being stolen through traceability. But most of all, they allow us to add new layers of meaning to a product – its individual history and journey are what make each item unique. This holds true for both physical and digital-only goods: What collection does it stem from? Who has owned it before? Where has it been showcased? Which prized artisans contributed to its creation? If the owners choose to, they can attach all possible milestones and characteristics to their Digital Certificates, thereby breathing a new digital life into them and refining their individual value.
OWN: Digital Collectibles
The TRIPLE P blockchain supplements the hyper-real virtual fashion experiences of digital-only lifestyle capsules with a much-needed infrastructure for handling ownership. It allows for real scarcity, accessibility, P2P-transferability, storage, display, and permanence of these new items that are used to clothe digital selves. As fashion has ever more moved from the streets to social media, online environments “are now virtual runways for millions of people that are expressing themselves in the most unimaginable ways. [They’re] pushing fashion-forward at the speed of light.” (Morten Grubak, Creative Director of Virtue Nordic). Creative work is increasingly capable of blurring and transcending the boundaries between physical and virtual realities.
On Instagram, computer-generated super-models have amassed millions of followers and taken lifestyle influencing by storm. Purely virtual models such as Lil Miquela48 or Noonoouri49 are presented with lifelike profiles, posing with real-life stars and powerfully advertising fashion brands in large-scale collaborations [-> Key Principles, Virtualization]. Creators of such models often state that they attempt to redefine the boundaries between fiction and reality. In this discourse, one could argue that filtered pictures with airbrushed portrait shots can seem hardly more authentic than hyper-realistic imagery that was created on computers in the first place.
The emerging genre of digital-only fashion collections has now become another major manifestation and further advancement of the digital (re-)presentations of digital consumer identities. Broadly speaking, digital collectibles are unique, scarce, and transferable items, which owners buy, use, and sell exclusively in the digital space. In this highly promising arena, creative technologists have been pioneering new channels for human connection and self-expression through virtual fashion. From their design to eCommerce and virtual fitting, these lifestyle items live exclusively in the digital space with no intention of ever entering the physical. They become expressive, valuable, and fashion-able digital collectibles that can be worn in digital and virtual realities, both on the photographed bodies of customers and by their avatar characters. When designers use nothing but data to create fashion collection and imagery, they finally achieve to incorporate fashion itself as a part of our landslide shift towards general digitization and to push forward the major mixed reality movement building momentum across design and display.
In November 2018, Scandinavian clothing retailer Carlings launched their first digital-only capsule collection, ‘Neo Ex’50. After users have uploaded a picture of themselves to Carlings and placed their order of items, Carlings designers skilled in 3D rendering then fit the clothing to the image and make it appear that the user is wearing the pieces IRL.
The resulting images blend real people with digital-only couture and can be shared online. Carlings CEO Ronny Mikalsen explained that, through this collection, the label hopes “to challenge our- selves and the whole industry to take the next step to explore how fashion can exist in the not-so-distant future.”
As the first exclusively digital fashion house, The Fabricant52 aims at pushing the creative industries further towards the arising and promising sector of digital-only clothing. By applying tools from the film visual effects industry, such as motion capture, 3D animation software, and body scanning, the Amsterdam-based production studio creates online-exclusive collections that shall provide their consumers with hyper-real digital fashion experiences. In 2018, Hong Kong fashion conglomerate I.T commissioned The Fabricant to digitally create an exclusive collection to celebrate its thirty years at the forefront of fashion in China, with garments designed by labels including Alexander McQueen, Marques Almeida, and Helmut Lang. This collaboration marked a pioneering premiere: It was the first time a retailer of this significant scale and reach favored representing an entire collection in a purely digital firm and signaled an industry game-changer away from product photography. The triggering factors for digital-only lifestyle production is blending into the broader context of a changing lifestyle arena. On the one hand, hyper-real digital fashion experiences have only been made possible by recent techno-logical developments in motion capture, 3D animation, and body scanning. On the other hand, they stand in direct reciprocity with those changing lifestyle consumer cohorts and mindsets that are recurring throughout this paper. Bloomberg found that in 2019, members of Generation Z outnumbered Millenials for the first time. Millenials do not only make up the mainstream consumer base of the near future but they form a large portion of the lifestyle clientele already today. Representing individuals born after 1997, they constitute the world’s first generation of true digital natives, are strongly tech-savvy, and show very different attitudes to the notion of ownership. Based on a large-scale survey of their relatively young readership, Highsnobiety referred to this change as “The New Luxury” and stated: “We get it: Millennials and their younger Gen Z cousins prefer experiences
over material goods”53. Here, ownership becomes a symbol of membership to certain brands, communities, or sets of values; it becomes a tool for participation