As someone who very much can’t afford the clothes presented at Paris Fashion Week (or any other city’s fashion week) I wasn’t paying much attention to the shows. But among the highlights from reporters and fashion influencers, I spotted some pieces that absolutely thrilled my brain, even though they made my eyes question reality.
At its show this past weekend, the fashion house Loewe turned heads when it sent two models down the runway in pixelated-style clothes that looked like something out of Minecraft. When I first saw the looks in photos, I thought they were fake, a post-production illusion or an intentionally obvious Photoshop. Then I thought that they might be new fashion offerings in the metaverse, something akin to Meta feverish to make digital designer clothes happen. Based on the company’s offerings so far—collaborations with Balenciaga, Thom Browne, and Prada—they’re not happening, although there are some outliers like Gucci bags in Roblox that are worth thousands.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that Loewe’s clothes weren’t part of a digital campaign, but rather real pieces from its Spring 2023 collection you could touch with your hands—and wear on the street.
With the pieces’ rendering of pixels in 3D space, Loewe successfully managed to throw the internet’s role in our lives into relief. Consider the materiality of the pixel, what it would take for pairs of human hands to create so common in online spaces. So far, fashion fans on social media seem to be digging this idea. Many were also flipping out like I was over whether the clothes were real or fake, which made me feel seen.
As for how Loewe managed to make the clothes look like Minecraft IRL, when it comes to the top and hoodie, the key seems to be in the outer edges, which are stiff and use a jagged pattern to create a pixelated effect. Minecraft clothes and costumes often look similar, though with less craftsmanship. The pants, meanwhile, seem to be a more traditional, baggy silhouette filled with a pixelated print. Together, they create an effect of the model’s body dissolving. The company hasn’t released prices for the items yet.
Overall, I think Loewe managed to do something metaverse fashion hasn’t been able to do yet—get people excited about digital-style clothes. In this case, the clothes are real, but their connection to the digital world is undeniable. And unlike clothing in the metaverse, people seem to want to wear these clothes and spend time in them.