With digital fashion on the rise, consumers are presented with more opportunities to express their sense of style onto virtual avatars. By being able to curate their image and surroundings, a new way to build confidence and express oneself emerges.
With the pandemic resulting in a 30% increase in reported anxiety issues in young adults, many have turned to virtual worlds as a coping mechanism. A study conducted last year at the University of Glasgow discovered that 71% of respondents have increased their gaming time during the lockdown, and 58% of them indicated that gaming has improved their well-being.
Both mobile, digital games and the metaverse provide the ability to be whatever one wants using an avatar, in a location where they have complete control over what they look like, who they interact with, and how safe they feel.
Research has shown identification with the avatar boosts intrinsic motivation, which may impact how players act. One example is that users behave in accordance with the behavior they stereotypically connect with their avatar’s appearance, such as bargaining more vehemently when represented by a taller avatar.
As a result, virtual platforms that allow users to create a technologically enhanced self-image could lead to higher confidence and lessen consumption rates.
Designers and developers hop on the trend
“The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the main driving factors for virtual clothing. In the absence of social interaction, many people turned to video games as a form of distraction and self-development,” said Viktoria Trofimova, CEO of Nordcurrent, an international developer and publisher of mobile games.
“This came as a newfound opportunity for the fashion industry, as production lines halted and runway shows were canceled over restrictions. Consumers could still interact with their pieces in the confines of a virtual world,” she continued.
For example, Louis Vuitton released a League of Legends capsule collection featuring character skins (outfits worn by playable characters). At the same time, Moschino created a collection for The Sims that could be bought and worn in the game.
However, the trend has not disappeared with the lifting of pandemic restrictions. Character customization has become a crucial aspect of an immersive experience in video games, which has continued this trend. Pocket Styler, for example, allows the player to completely modify their avatar’s appearance with real-world clothing and accessories.
With over 10 million users in just a few months, the app allows users to try on clothes and develop their distinctive styles without straining their wallets. Players participate in limited-time events, where they show off their take on a given theme or style outfits around specific items. It also provides a slow-paced atmosphere, removing the tension that comes with trying on new clothes.
The psychological impact of experimenting with virtual clothing
Styling a virtual avatar — a stand-in for one’s real self — enables users to discover their sense of style. Digital clothing eliminates the excessive financial means and constraints of physical reality needed to do so.
“By experimenting with their avatar’s look, players can feel a strong sense of empowerment. On the one hand, a person may come to understand themselves, their interests, and personality better by making their character reflect what they feel inside,” noted Trofimova.
“On the other hand, items they have tried on may fuel their wardrobes in real life. As users buy items they fell in love with digitally, they may become more confident in their overall appearance,” she explained.
In addition to a diverse range of digital style choices, virtual clothing also helps to save roughly 3300 liters of water and emit 97 percent fewer carbon emissions for each item.
Nordcurrent is the biggest Lithuanian video game developer and publisher, known for such games as Cooking Fever, Murder in the Alps, Airplane Chefs, Sniper Arena. Focusing on freemium and casual games, the company created over 50 games since 2002, attracting more than half-billion players worldwide.
This article was sourced from a media release sent by Lukas Pereckas of blueoceanspr.com