During the late 1970s, technological advancement allowed for the development of the virtual economy, where digital goods are sold for real money. This phenomenon originates in e-sports, as gamers purchase skins to aesthetically personalize their avatars. In 2019 several brands introduced digital collections with garments that only exist in cyberspace.
Purpose: The aim of the research paper is to investigate the effect that competitive gaming has on digital fashion as well as the opportunities and threats that come with the implementation of virtual garments in contemporary fashion practices. Highlighting the link between the two industries, it is questioned, how can the technologies and dynamics of e-sports influence the development of digital fashion and do they allow (or not) transcending the physical body?
The research objectives are the following:
1. To outline the integral components that make up the phenomenon of e-sports and digital fashion.
2. To analyze qualitatively and quantitatively the virtual fashion’s impact on fashion practices and the environment from both digital fashion and e-sports’ perspectives.
3. To evaluate consumer behavior theories and apply them to the market of virtual goods.
4. To establish the impact of e-sports on the fashion industry in terms of transitioning from the physical into the digital world.
5. To assess future opportunities and threats of the implementation of digital fashion technologies into contemporary society.
Design: In the methodology the paper adopts the philosophy of interpretive epistemology and uses qualitative and quantitative data collection methods to generate the results. Following the inductive approach, the research is seeking patterns and evaluates various pieces of evidence, exploring the context, origins and the human factor. The research design features three main primary data collection techniques: interviews, case studies and a survey.
Findings: We discovered that the large, digitally interconnected, and established community of e-sports fans could potentially be the most suitable target for integrating digital fashion. The findings of the quantitative survey showed that the customers who are not gamers are not ready to spend money on virtual clothes, while interviews with e-sports adepts revealed that gamers are native consumers of digital goods. Furthermore, the paper illustrates that to a certain extent digital fashion does transcend the physical body. However, people will still need to wear some sort of clothes, so this phenomenon rather adds a new dimension to the fashion industry. On one hand, the benefits of digital fashion include sustainability, limitless creativity, inclusivity, cost-effectiveness, the attraction of younger audiences, and the possibility for the customers to experiment with their fashion. On the other hand, however, the threats are the necessity for designers to adopt new skills, risk of addiction to cyberspace, lack of transparency, the loss of the exclusive image of luxury brands, and security concerns regarding users and their avatars.
Limitations: The study encountered several implications such as restricted time frame, limited sample size and possible interview bias. Moreover, at the moment of writing the paper, the amount of previous academic studies on digital fashion was very limited. Consequently, the research explored this potentially disruptive phenomenon through the lens of virtual reality and video games. Nevertheless, although partly limited, the firm conclusions drawn in the academic paper are based on an extensive number of sources. Further studies could explore different variables more in-depth, such as geographical area and the effect of gender.
Value: The research paper conceptualizes and explores a unique opportunity for the fashion industry, offering an innovative approach on integrating digital fashion in the contemporary fashion practices. Expanding on the theoretical framework, we illustrate that e-sports and their audience is the key to a seamless inclusion of the digital fashion. The study sheds light on how technology allows these two industries to transcend the physical body and provides a critical evaluation from both practical and philosophic points of view.
Keywords: digital fashion, virtual garment, e-sports, skins, avatars, virtual reality, cyberspace, transcendence, hyperreality.
Full report available on Amazon : https://urlz.fr/eVJ4