Utopian/Dystopian Artwork and Digital Makeup
Artist: Rinjila Pradhan
Although futuristic in appearance, digital makeup has elements of utopia and dystopia.
It allows the fashion industry, and people in general, to be creative without directly impacting our environment. Indirectly, it still contributes to environmental damage; for instance, the components used to build computers and power used to operate them uses the earth’s natural resources.
On an individual level, I can reduce my fashion waste. I can create without using makeup products, which means less chemicals, packaging, and shipping waste.
Some might say, “Don’t use makeup in the first place. If you don’t use it, there is no waste, and we wouldn’t need to turn to technology for a solution.”
To that, I say: “Correct, not using makeup is a solution.” However, for many people like myself, creativity and expression are our reason for being. Creating is a core part of our identity; it is how we function, operate, and make sense of this world. Personally, it’s how I connect to the world and how I stay honest and true to myself. On a community level, we see people in the LGBTQ+ community use makeup for various reasons. For some, it is a political statement; for others, it’s a weapon of resistance, freedom, and celebration. In a nutshell: one size does not fit all.
Therefore, going digital is one of many solutions available to creators.
For reasons outlined above, digital doesn’t mean zero waste. I believe digital makeup and digital fashion will make a prominent mark in the future. In a way, they already have; the use of augmented reality (AR) filters, digital clothing, and digital fashion shows are a few examples.
Social media channels like Instagram use AR filters as a fun interactive tool. However, I believe brands like Dior and Chanel will soon adopt this feature to test cosmetic colour shades.
Digital clothing exists on channels like The Fabricant — a digital fashion house that celebrates creativity without a negative footprint. My prediction for the future is that digital clothing will expand into a try-on simulation tool that we will use to test the feel and texture of clothes. It will require advanced apps, AR, and sensory application, but it is possible, nonetheless.
This try-on simulation tool could help customers make better purchasing decisions and reduce clothing returns. At the moment, 3.5 billion products are returned each year by Americans. Optoro, a technology company that processes retailers returns, showed that 88 percent of consumers believed returns are restocked and sold. In reality, over 25 percent of returns get discarded; the rest, 75 percent, take different paths depending on the condition of the product. A try-on digital clothing platform could potentially help retailers control return rates.
As for digital fashion shows (and I don’t just mean contemporary fashion houses doing online fashion shows for fashion week), they show that everything from digital models to venues might be the norm of the future.
Digital is a new way of tackling sustainability through technology.