Digital dressing: the app to restock your virtual wardrobe
Welcome to your new digital wardrobe! Fashion tech start-up Zero10 lets you buy, wear, and collect clothes in the virtual world
There is no difference between the diligently constructed #OOTD Instagram post you saw this morning and the delicately hand-etched fashion plates common in the late 18th century. They are both two-dimensional records of people in their clothes.
The fashion industry is fuelled by millions upon millions of user-generated images of people wearing all the latest stuff. The live-streaming of shows has upset the hierarchy; fashion has become more about entertainment than a single shirt, skirt or shoe. Yet, the advent of digital fashion and augmented reality continues to find its sceptics. How can the excitement of trying on beautiful clothes be replicated by your phone?
Zero10: ‘Between the traditions of the fashion industry and a new imagined one’
George Yashin pitches his fashion-tech start-up Zero10 somewhere ‘between the traditions of the fashion industry and a new imagined one’. An iOS app fusing 3D body-tracking, cloth simulation and body-segmentation technology, it allows users to purchase, wear and collect digital garments. It is part shop, part social media, part research lab. Yashin says, ‘We talked to many brands, and they only asked us one question: “What will this thing look like?” So we knew we needed our own technology. We don’t use 2D textures; this isn’t like dropping a picture on top of a picture! The idea is to show people that they can own a product without it being physical.’ He adds, ‘This could really help with overproduction, which we know is a huge problem.’
Yashin, who has a background in fashion design and business, began investigating digital after a particularly languid season in Paris in the autumn of 2019. ‘The same clothes, same designers, same problems with samples, same problems with the delivery. Everyone seemed pretty bored – and this was before Covid.’ He gathered a team of developers, engineers, and machine-learning experts to come up with a new proposition. The Zero10 app maps digital garments produced in collaboration with Kseniaschnaider, AV Vattev and Florentina Leitner directly onto your body via your phone camera. Pieces from other designers will be released over the coming months, priced between $1 and $20 and sometimes free.
Yashin’s ambition is to change how we think about our clothes. The same optimism is echoed in the digital atelier set up by London-based agency, Institute of Digital Fashion and the Web3 marketspace The Dematerialised, which sells NFT boots and sneakers. ‘Right now, there is a 50/50 split between those who understand what this is and those who don’t, but those who don’t will later on,’ says Yashin. Many of the designers he speaks to are still fixed on their idea of what fashion is, with its seasons, its physical and emotional gravity and its familiar setting. He says, ‘We don’t want to ruin their world. We just want to be the small step between the old and the new one.’ §