What Is Phygital Clothing?

Imagine if the world was able to take the best of the physical and the virtual and combine it into something unique. 

Figital is one of the leading concepts of web 2.5, it describes the process in which reality and digital technologies are intertwined, offering the consumer both material and virtual experiences

How did the phygital develop 

Phygital is a simple neologism: a combination of “physical” and “digital”. In the fashion industry, the concept of Phygital was based on the combination of reality shows with virtual ones and was transformed with the development of the metaverse.

Back in 2020, many fashion publications wrote about the phygital trend and predicted it would be very popular. Indeed, due to the pandemic and lockdowns, fashion brands are faced with the need to reconsider the concept of fashion shows and look for new ways to attract the precious attention of the consumer. 

Then there were experiments with fashion show formats. The idea of ​​connecting the digital and real worlds continued throughout the fall and spring seasons of 2021, with the main theme of Milan Fashion Week being the theme of phygital. At the same time, brands tried to integrate virtual and augmented reality into their shows and events

And one of the most talked about was the completely virtual show of the collection of the Hanifa brand, in which invisible fashion models walked along the digital catwalk. This is an example of a show of phygital clothes, a real-made collection that has been transferred to a digital format. 

Although digital is called the main opportunity for the development of the industry, it is not enough to change only the way the product is presented. Transferring everything to the virtual space is not a panacea. You need to provide a unique experience. Something fundamentally new. And with the help of technology, reach a new level of interaction with the target audience.

Why phygital is perfect for brands

Not all brands can take the risk and go into the metaverse with digital products. When we talk about luxury goods, we mean impeccable quality, excellent service, and, of course, the feel of the physical object in your hands. These are the things that cannot be transferred to the NFT. Therefore, many brands are betting on phygital, a strategy that will combine digital property with a physical product or service. 

Also, phygital clothing is a good way to assess the demand for virtual initiatives: customers purchase NFT and receive a limited edition IRL twin (IRL – in real life, a physical item), which allows the client to get the best of both worlds, virtual and real.

So, quite recently, Tiffany’s CryptoPunks collection of pendants was released for crypto punk NFT drop holders. The entire collection of 250 pieces of jewelry was sold in 22 minutes. And brought Tiffany & Co. approximately $13 million, each NFTiffs was sold for 30 ETH. 

What is Phygital clothing 3Collection NFTiffs

And Nike expanded their NFT apparel line with the RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis Hoodie, the exclusive RTFKT Clone X NFT Digital Avatar Hoodie. In addition to the VR clothing, the customer also received a physical hoodie with a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip that enables wireless communication between the clothing and the corresponding NFT.

Using a combination of trackers and QR codes, wearers can bring their physical hoodies to life in AR with effects like virtual wings.

What is Phygital clothing 4RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis

VR clothing paired with a physical product or service gives a brand a head start and a kind of airbag. In our time of transition, not only are companies slow to integrate into the digital world, but consumers do not fully understand the value of buying an NFT product. And phygital clothing will help both parties to effectively test new features.

However, unless brands develop robust, forward-thinking phygital strategies, it is likely that a flood of digital twin concepts will hit the market with no real intention other than a quick profit.

Brands don’t always need to release NFTs that are exactly identical to the exclusive physical product, but they need to be connected and provide the customer with an incomparable experience, like getting something desired. And also the strategy of phygital clothing should be a long-term story and reflect the ideas of the brand, matching its DNA so that the buyer does not have the feeling that they decided to make extra money on it. After all, phygital is an opportunity to combine the best of both worlds, so that buyers can take everything from the purchase at once. 

Would you rather buy only a well-known brand NFT or a phygital NFT, the digital version of which would be accompanied by a tangible item or service?

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