How excited would you be if I told you that you can not only have as many new clothing items as you can afford, but that you wouldn’t be using any material resources, they wouldn’t take up any room in your home, and you would still look fabulous on Insta?
Unbelievable? Thanks to the new virtual fashion brand Republiqe, it is available right now.
So, how does it work?
Have you ever played Animal Farm? You can buy your online avatar clothes and accessories from all sorts of international designers, for a fraction of the cost of the real things. That’s how Republiqe works; only instead of buying stuff for a cartoon character, you are buying them for yourself.
You just visit the Republiqe site, buy an item you like - so far, so similar to all online shopping - but then what happens is you send an image of yourself to the team, and they ‘dress’ you in the clothing item. It’s sent back to you, and then you can use that image of you in your cool new outfit for all your social media posts. So cool, right?
You will ‘own’ the new outfit, and be able to ‘wear’ it, just not IRL (in real life). This way you experience the thrill of buying a new item, you have something unique to post on your social media, and you don’t have to worry about never wearing it again or adding more clothing to landfill. Win-win!
Republiqe was founded by international fashion insider James Gaubert and is described as being a “sustainable digital wardrobe” designed to be used for “social dressing”. Gaubert has over 22 years working in the luxury fashion industry with brands like Chanel, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Tiffany’s, just to name a few.
Gaubert’s reason for launching Republiqe was to be able to offer cutting edge fashion that makes the most of technology while reducing fashion’s impact on the environment.
“The fashion industry is currently at breaking point with regards to sustainability issues. Furthermore, the world is turning to tech for answers! We have had FinTech, EduTech etc., I am a firm believer that we are now on the cusp of a whole bunch of innovation around FashionTech,” explains Gaubert.
“I have been in the fashion industry for just over 20 years and have seen first hand the pollution, wastage etc. that happens around the world, furthermore as consumers we are far better informed and now look for sustainable companies when looking to make a purchase.
Fast fashion that doesn’t damage the environment
“It certainly isn’t slow fashion! If anything, I would describe it as fast fashion on steroids! We can turn around complete collections in a matter of days, far quicker than when producing a physical product,” says Gaubert.
However, because the clothing items are never physically produced, the speed of production doesn’t impact the environment in any way.
“When it comes to issues such as sustainability and ethical production, these are a byproduct of creating digital garments. There is huge wastage in the fashion industry, at every element of the supply chain, we can eliminate all of that with digital clothing and the fact that we essentially have zero physical inventory,” Gaubert explains.
“The other issue is with end consumers themselves and our ‘wear it once’ society. The amount of clothing that ends up in landfill each year through consumers just binning old items is horrendous; again, we can eliminate that through digital-only clothing!
“Essentially, our clothing is created on iMacs; therefore, there is zero wastage, and they are ethically produced. I guess you could call it sustainable, ethical, digitally created fast fashion!”
But isn’t it just a waste of money?
Since you are paying for nothing more than some pixels on a virtual image, is a product like Republiqe just a waste of money? #firstworldproblem anyone? Or is it more like a service like say Netflix that you get enjoyment out of, and don’t actually ‘own’?
“We are focussed on supporting Gen Z who are natural-born content creators, all about the ‘gram. From the research we have done, and early sales align with this, spending money on ensuring they look good on social media is not a waste of money at all,” says Gaubert.
“Granted, our digital clothing doesn’t keep you warm in the winter, but the emotional aspect of looking good on social media is priceless to some!”
And if you take into account the fact that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while, with many people around the world still not being able to leave their homes, having something nice to post surely can’t hurt.
“I think Covid19 has completely changed how we shop and behave and doesn’t look likely to go away anytime soon. All around the world, high street retail has been hit hard by COVID-19,” says Gaubert. “Whilst I expect that to pick up again, I do firmly believe that online and digital/virtual clothing will pick up as consumers become educated [about] the creative possibilities.
“Essentially you can order our clothing, be digitally tailored and show your outfit off to the world without leaving your living room! Ideal for times when social distancing is something at the forefront.”
Republiqe’s virtual fashion items are available at republiqe.co