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Fresh Couture issues climate challenge with DIGITAL FLEX screenwear collection

A streetwear brand says it is “forging the new era of fashion” through a move that promises to tackle the industry’s environmental impact while smoothing the path from physical to digital style.

Fresh Couture is working with MetaverseMe, Venly, Global Designer Network and Unity, to deliver digital-only garments.

Bosses say the move, which comes in the wake of the recent Earthshot Prize and the run-up to the COP 26 climate conference, aims to raise awareness of the fashion’s industry’s relatively slow action on climate change.

Initially released in three different scarcity levels to gauge demand, the ‘screenwear’ collection – DIGITAL FLEX – will showcase consumer appetite for digital fashion, as well as establishing a clear framework for brands that want to take concrete action on sustainability.

Founded in 2016, Newcastle’s Fresh Couture found itself producing more waste than its founders were comfortable with across its sampling and prototyping processes, and in consumer returns and end-of-life disposal.

It began to adopt 3D design and simulation tools to reduce its reliance on physical sampling.

However, in recognition of the severity of the climate crisis facing the fashion industry, Fresh Couture decided to go a step further and create a collection that eliminates emissions entirely by being conceived and sold digitally.

It plans to pivot 50 per cent of its seasonal collection to digital-only non-fungible tokens (NFT) by the first quarter of 2022.

Dale Parr, Fresh Couture’s chief operating officer, said: “Fashion is at a turning point when it comes to sustainability.

“The industry is still stopping short of taking the bold action it needs to if it’s going to address not only the moral questions of how brands want to do business – and at what cost.”

According to research from McKinsey, the fashion industry globally generates 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases every year.

To meet a target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, a billion tons of CO2 will need to be cut from the industry’s operations before 2030.

Dale adds: “Decisive change is needed on decarbonisation, and at the same time the industry needs to be making a big shift towards digitization.

“We believe the two go hand-in-hand, and alongside Unity, MetaverseMe, Venly and Global Designer Network, we have set out to demonstrate that taking bold action on climate change is not only possible, but that it can be joined to the kind of step change the industry needs to also truly embrace digital fashion.”

To be sold as NFTs, Dale says Fresh Couture’s DIGITAL FLEX ‘screenwear’ collection will take the form of 20 garments designed to be worn digitally, on different social media channels, and, over time, in a range of different interactive/unlockable experiences – from shared worlds to videogame franchises.

He adds each garment is fully animated and rigged for use in games and augmented reality, aimed at giving the NFT holder maximum experiential benefits from ownership.

To strengthen its offer further, Fresh Couture is working with its partners to help consumers obtain additional value from their assets.

It says MetaverseMe will add portability to each NFT item, allowing customers to bring their screenwear from one interactive experience to another, with Unity Technology’s real-time engine providing the framework for that portability.

Furthermore, Venly adds an intuitive, user-friendly layer on the process of wallet creation and crypto transactions.

Marina Psaros, Unity environment and sustainability lead, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of the solution that is accelerating digitization and moving the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction.”

Martyn Hughes, chief executive at MetaverseMe, said: “Digital fashion is a game-changer in many ways.

“We see digital fashion able to assist with combating climate issues and physical waste. Digital fashion and design allow better prototyping, better design exploration and better control of physical resources.

Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee, Digitalax founder, added: “Digital alone is not enough to overcome the unsustainable extraction of resources, the burning of fossil fuels in transportation, the growing and creation of prototyping materials and fast fashion.”

You can view early previews of the 20 garments at