E-commerce and virtual try-ons create new fashion trends


TRY IT ON. New metaverse and virtual reality technologies allow shoppers to try on intangible outfits online before buying them.

Welcome to the metaverse where clothes are no longer tangible…

A metaverse is an environment in which users can access the digital game world through virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In 2021, metaverse-related companies raised more than $10 billion — which is double the amount compared to the previous year.

Today, the metaverse and virtual reality have stepped onto another level, influencing current fashion trends as well. “Virtual Try-on” technologies were first developed in 2021 for people to try on real clothes from everyday brand shops such as Nike, Crocs, Adidas virtually through social media filters similar to the ones in Snapchat. After seeing how these clothing pieces fit on customers, they would then be more prompted to buy the product.

More recently, the metaverse has developed new ways for people to purchase high-quality non-tangible clothes through online shopping, in which they submit photos of themselves to have non-tangible luxury clothing directly photoshopped onto them.

According to 3D Look, e-commerce sales reached $4.28 trillion in 2020 and will double in 2022 as people shift towards a lifestyle in which customers buy fewer clothes but with more promising quality.

Beauty standards are constantly evolving and cycling as technology rapidly develops. It is a complex social norm that sets up certain expectations for how people should dress in order to “fit-in.” Blending the virtual world and the physical world, first AI, then Photoshop, and now e-commerce fashion takes it to another level.

Is this new pace of fashion trends good or bad?

“It definitely allows fashion trends to speed up even more than they already have,” senior Becca Richman said. The current fast-paced fashion trend is one of the biggest reasons contributing to so much clothing waste and negative environmental impacts.

“It’s eco-friendly at the beginning and upfront [when people shift their fashion styles to intangible clothing products], but it seems like in the long run, it’s just gonna add to more problems with the clothing industry,” Richman said.

Richman explains that the introduction of the new e-commerce fashion style may contribute more to this negative trend since people can’t forever live in a virtual world.

It definitely allows fashion trends to speed up even more than they already have.

— Becca Richman

“People are still gonna be seeing each other in person,” sophomore Cerena Karmaliani said. Thus, instead of helping the environment, e-commerce fashion trends may raise the overall demand for fashion higher — encouraging people to purchase more luxurious and quality-demanding products altogether.

On the other hand, Karmaliani believes that this fast-paced fashion industry will introduce more job opportunities, especially by widening the available jobs for talented artists.

“A lot of artists are very talented. So many books, so many great ideas, and sketches, but it’s really hard to make money off of that art. Especially with fashion, you have to be able to have a big supply of fabrics. And then make it a price that people are gonna pay while still making a profit off of it. [E-commerce] creates an industry of [online] shops and I think a good way to start and maybe get that publicity and get those earnings without having to spend all the money [for tangible materials.]” Karamaliani said.

With every newly developed technology in everyday life, there’s change. While humans can’t always resist change, the effects of these changes may be haunting us faster than we know it.

What’s next? In-tangible shoes?