Pixelated Street Fashion: Hyperrealism In The Digital Age

Kristina Akhrarova

The era of hyperrealism has begun.

The digital era has revolutionized technology, impacting fashion design and giving rise to hyperrealism. While exploring hyperrealism, we see that the line between reality and simulation is blurred. Simulated experiences are embraced as substitutes for genuine encounters, blurring the lines between the authentic and the artificial.

Loewe SS 2023Photo byLoewe

The rise of AI-powered content has made it difficult to distinguish genuine authenticity, even in imaginary realms. TikTok creator @thealgorythm suggests that this has created a virtual reality within the fashion industry, blurring the line between the metaverse and physical existence. Fashion designs that evoke the virtual realm challenge our perception of reality. Brands now produce cartoonish apparel that looks more suited for a digital avatar than a real person.

Loewe SS 2023Photo byInterviewmagazine

Loewe's Spring/Summer '23 collection exemplifies this with pixelated elements and Minnie Mouse-inspired heels. It merges Minecraft glitches and Disney cartoons, paying homage to our ever-changing world. Creative director Jonathan Anderson acknowledges fashion's transformative power, as seen in MSCHF's vibrant Big Red Boots. Described as an escape from reality, these boots playfully elicit an exclamation of "BOING" when kicked.

In 2018, Calvin Klein's Fall-Winter campaign introduced the fashion industry to Lil Miquela, an AI-generated model and influencer. Miquela quickly gained traction, attending Prada's SS18 show and collaborating with various streetwear and high-fashion brands. Despite existing solely in the digital world, brands pay Miquela to wear their clothing. The appeal of digital models lies in their versatility and freedom from physical limitations. They can be designed to fit any style and interact with fans in ways that align with the brand's image. However, concerns have emerged regarding the ethical implications of using virtual influencers. Utilizing AI models may enable brands to bypass controversies surrounding real, imperfect humans, potentially displacing real models and perpetuating unattainable beauty standards.

Lil MiquelaPhoto byFashionista

Fashion houses have embraced the trend of creating their own "hyper-real" virtual sales showrooms. Notably, prominent brands such as Diesel, Marni, Margiela, and Viktor and Rolf, which are all affiliated with the OTB group, have recently incorporated this innovative feature into their Spring/Summer 2021 sales campaigns. These virtual showrooms present brands with exciting possibilities for customer engagement and personalized shopping experiences. Utilizing high-quality 360° images, videos, and detailed 2D close-ups of new collections, customers can gain a comprehensive and lifelike glimpse into the clothing they desire to purchase. Moreover, this cutting-edge approach helps to minimize the need for physical samples, thereby reducing production costs and environmental impact. The burgeoning realm of technological experimentation in the fashion industry, exemplified by visual showrooms and other tech-driven trends, enables brands to establish novel avenues for customer interaction while simultaneously lessening their ecological footprint.


The fashion industry embraces the digital age, e.g., JW Anderson Pigeon clutch worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on "And Just Like That..." AI-driven campaigns are rising. These trends blend whimsical fashion and hyperreality, blurring reality and fiction. They explore technology's impact on our perception of the world. The emerging trends offer a recognizable yet peculiar experience, challenging the role of fashion in art and culture.

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