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Crisis creates opportunities. Fashion’s digital shift in 2020 became a necessity as distance and restricted mobility became the biggest barrier for many people in 2020. Fashion shows, retail stores, and even R&D faced great challenges as the nature of the fashion industry required a collaborative work style.

Some fundamental changes took place to make room for significant advancements and exciting innovations appropriate for the “new normal”. It wasn’t long after the first series of lockdowns that stakeholders in the industry came up with new, dynamic ways to entice their audience. Technologies has been securing its place in the fashion ecosystem slowly and its forever changing how we think, shop, wear, and dispose. Here is a quick recap on fashion’s digital shift in 2020.

Fashion’s Digital Shift in 2020

Rise of E-fluencers And Virtual Fashion Styles

Credits / Liam Nikuro, Imma, Noonoouri, Bermuda, Lil Miquela, APOKI

Insights: 3D design studies is becoming a popular higher-education choice among many young creatives. Instead of applying their skills to game design, film post-production and industrial design after graduation, many of them chose to experiment with virtual fashion and virtual influencer design to meet the urgent technological demands of the fashion industry. 

What Are We Getting Out of This? Virtual influencers and fashion items are computer-generated fictions designed to mimic real-life scenarios, stories and characteristics, or in some cases, it could go the opposite way. Virtuality gives innovators the liberty to realize their imaginations without much restrictions that are posed in traditional design processes.

The results of this new technical approach delivers a more dramatic, vibrant and hyperreal aesthetic which we’ve never seen before. Behind the virtual models and 3D fashion, we’ve also seen many 3D design collectives, studios and marketers surfacing in the industry, creating a new career category for the future. Some notable mentions are virtual influencers Lil Miquela, K/DA, APOKI; notable virtual influencer studios Digital Maker Collective, Klubbvisuals , The Diigtals Agency; and digital fashion brands Hanifa Official , Crop Digital, Happy99, The Fabricant, Replicant Fashion.

Form Follows Function

Credits / acronym

Insight: Since social gatherings and events are restricted, we dress for “survival” instead of “vanity”. Comfort and functionality are the new priorities when shopping for new fashion items. Wearables, high-tech fabric workwear and protective-wear structures, and utilitarian details becomes the new hype in fashion. 

What Are We Getting Out of This?  The market has continued to blossom with new and exciting consumer products that are integrated with technology. From durable and weatherproof fabric innovation, to biometric accessories, to electronic foot-wears, wearable techs are becoming more ubiquitous. Cyberpunk and street-style still remains as the undertone of many new innovations. Since many design houses and technology teams are pairing up, we have seen many new designs in the making and some are already out on the market. RTW examples of this trend would be Pangaia, Lululemon, Uniqlo , Nike Adapt , Ministry, ADAY, Oura, and luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Prada


Gamified Experiences

Credits / Balenciaga Afterworld


Insight: What has once been crowded seats at fashion shows, or fighting with shoppers for limited edition pieces in a retail store has changed its course. Both Luxury and digital-savvy emerging brands explores mixed reality environments to reduce the proximity between the brand and shoppers. Digital game’s is the perfect solution for fashion brands to fast adapt and promote.


What Are We Getting Out of This? A lot of games and AR try-on filters. The virtual experiences for the year have been nothing but DIGITAL DIGITAL DIGITAL, starting as early as March when designers took on various online platforms to share their collections in whole new novel forms. However brands like Balenciaga’s Afterworld and Cactus Jack x Fortnite concert collaboration took many steps further for brand education and story-telling.

The two brands brought a more holistic and interactive viewing experience for users to engage with instead of just watching a video. AR try-on filters on the other-hand is seen available on social media platforms instead of independent sites. It gives users a quick “play” of the products by trying on virtually before purchasing.


3D Printing and Fashion Platforms For Sustainability

Credits / Good On You


Insight: The digital shift in fashion sustainability excelled even more after the breakout of the pandemic. It provided the perfect opportunity for everyone to slow down and reflect the meanings behind consumerism, culture and values. Organizations, scientists, researchers, technologist and designers are frequently seen partnering up to come up with ethical circular solutions. The sustainable fashion community is slowly but steadily gaining the spotlight against disposable fashion.


What Are We Getting Out of This?  Uprising sustainable fashion resources and platforms for everyone that values good for all.  Just like HYBRID RITUALS, there are many new platforms that helps people to discover, learn and shop more sustainably. To name a few, Good On You, Poshmark, Yooxgen and ASOS are some of the top sustainable fashion shopping platforms. Whereas Techwear.Intern and Textile Reuse are known for their services dedicated to exclusive textile and manufacturing dead-stocks which could’ve end up as landfill. 3D printing.

On the other-hand, there is another type of technology that extends capabilities of producing products that are too complicated to be manufactured by hand or traditional factory machineries. The advancements of 3D printing does not only give us unseen structures and functionalities, such as SCCCCRY and his soft-soled alien-like shuttle shoes, but it also eliminates textile waste created during the process.  


The unexpected arrival of a virus has affected us deeply from every aspect of life, and it has certainly made a mark on the history book. It is beyond exciting to see the fashion industry has been fast responsive with technology and innovation. Though there are many other great innovations for the behind the scenes of fashion that we haven’t covered here, but these are the 4 trends that are hard to avoid as a shopper. Stay tuned or check out our other articles for more info.

We hope the digital shift of the fashion industry will continue to see growth in the next few years so we can experience more hybrid innovations in the future. Now, pat yourself on the back for getting through this chaotic, revolutionary and absurdly interesting journey, ALIVE. We wish you an optimized new year ahead, and hope to seeing you soon!

Much love,



Mo Zhou

Founder of Hybrid Rituals. #AlwaysCurious

Founder of Hybrid Rituals. #AlwaysCurious