H&M Group is using tech to drive positive change commercially, environmentally, and socially. They always look for ways to innovate and explore new opportunities in the world of fashion. This is how virtual fashion is becoming a (virtual) reality for H&M.
H&M’s first virtual showroom
H&M opened its digital doors to its first-ever virtual showroom, in connection with the launch of the Innovation Story Cherish Waste Collection. Inside the virtual showroom, press and media could walk around, talk to other guests, and view the virtual collection, which was showcased as high-quality visuals and photo-realistic 3D rendered cloth materials and garments animated to simulate the movement of the cutting-edge materials.
For H&M, with stores in 76 markets, this pioneering virtual environment has both built and maintained relationships with media, celebrities, influencers, and stylists, as an extension of physical showrooms located all over the world. A virtual showroom allows guests to experience new campaigns at any time, without physically traveling. It also offers the possibility of hosting events for a larger audience.
“The H&M virtual showroom is designed to be a space for brand activations such as fashion campaigns. They will be brought to life in a new and exciting way, by integrating innovation, digitalization, and sustainability. We look forward to exploring its potential in the countries in Region Central Europe (where the showroom is a pilot, editor’s note) and beyond in the future”, says Thorsten Mindermann, Regional Manager H&M Central Europe.
How to get dressed in the metaverse
For H&M, it’s not the first time they have tapped into the virtual world. In January 2022, H&M launched its first virtual garments: A collection displayed through a competition where participants could submit playful, fun, innovative names for the available looks. The virtual looks were only available as a prize for the competition — they were not physically produced or sold in stores. To “wear” the pieces, the winners sent in a photo of themselves, and 3D graphic designers styled them in the digital look as an animated image, which then was ready to be posted to social media.
New technology allows H&M to engage even more with their customers, so they can be more creative and fun. Digital fashion includes everything traditional fashion offers—from T-shirts to ball gowns—but these pieces are not physically manufactured, or tangible. Instead, garments are created using 3D and animation design software. Individuals “wear” digital clothing through gaming avatars, augmented reality (AR), or digitally edited photos.
Virtual fashion as self-expression — for everyone
Just as an outfit in the physical world represents who we are, or how we feel, virtual fashion allows us to dress our digital selves, or avatars, as an extension of, or in total contrast to, ourselves. On gaming platforms players can purchase custom outfits, or “skins,” digitally layered onto their avatars to wear during gameplay.
Likewise, AR technology in Snapchat or Instagram allows users to accessorize and style their digital presence through filters–trying on a flower crown, wearing bunny ears, or dying their hair rainbow colors.
“Virtual apparel makes fashion wearable for all bodies. Garments in the virtual world are not limited by size because virtual fashion has no size. Every garment is custom fit. Regardless of size, shape, or gender, digital garments are size inclusive and tailored for all body types”, says Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor, H&M.
What’s next for virtual fashion?
Digital garments open new creative possibilities for co-creation with customers. In the future, shoppers will be the designer and be able to select the style, fit, material, colors, and more so they can create an entirely customized, personalized wardrobe with new fashion concepts in ways not yet discovered today. Retailers may also create three-dimensional shopping experiences in a virtual store. Customers can purchase items to wear in digital environments or order the same items as physical garments to wear in “real” life.
Don’t stay behind and embrace the future of virtual fashion! Here at CaptivatAR, we can help you to become the next big step toward the world of virtual fashion! Contact us!