Virtual reality and its half-brother, augmented reality, have plenty of potential for enhancing daily life. Both could offer future benefits that no one is aware of yet. But all is not well in the virtual reality arena as evidenced by an emerging fashion trend known as ‘contactless fashion’. This trend does nothing but lower the bar for virtual reality.
The owners of Salt Lake City’s The Stockist explain that contactless fashion is a retail concept that invites people to purchase digital garments they can’t actually wear. In fact, they do not even receive a printed photo for their money. All they get is a digital photograph of themselves doctored to make it appear as though they are wearing the piece they purchased. That’s it.
A Huge Profit Margin
Tribute Brand is a Croatian label that has embraced the contactless fashion trend, according to a recent piece by Fox News. One of the company’s more recent articles is a short sleeve blouse in neon red or green that sells for $699. Yes, you read that correctly. Tribute expects its customers to pay nearly $700 for a digital image that looks as generic as any piece of clothing you might purchase off a retail rack.
What is so stunning here is the sheer amount of profit the company will make off every single purchase. Anyone who has used photo manipulation software knows just how easy it is to superimpose one image on top of another. Tribute Brand can ‘dress’ their customers in expensive clothing in a matter of minutes and with very little effort. It is almost unimaginable to think about it.
Kudos to whoever came up with such a formidable profit-making venture. It might not last, but contactless fashion has its buyers right now. Perhaps there will are enough paying customers to make the Tribute Brand owners independently wealthy.
Expensive Clothing for the Narcissist
If you are wondering why this post began with the assertion that contactless fashion has lowered the bar on virtual reality, think about what it means to people who purchase virtual clothing. Contactless fashion is essentially expensive clothing for the narcissist.
Why would a person spend $699 for a digital blouse superimposed on his or her photograph? You can bet that person will not keep the photograph private. It will be shown to friends and family far and wide. It will be posted on social media. And through it all, the buyer will look for validation from all those who see the image.
This is not the point of virtual reality. Virtual reality is a great tool for providing digital entertainment. It can be deployed to educate, inform, facilitate scientific discovery, and so on. But when it is deployed just to feed the narcissistic habits of a selfie-obsessed generation, virtual reality has ceased to be useful.
Get Something for Your Money
Making contactless fashion even more absurd is the fact that you are not getting a tangible product for your money. Does that make sense? If you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a new piece of clothing, why not get something for your money? You can still take selfies and post them to all your social media accounts. Better yet, you can actually wear the clothing in person – which is the point anyway.
A $200 dress from The Stockist is still a better deal than a $100 virtual dress from an overseas company. At least your boutique dress is real and wearable. It actually covers your body and offers warmth and protection. Try to wear your virtual dress outdoors and you are likely to get arrested.