Digital fashion first as Manchester Fashion Institute presents pioneering 3D runway show

22 May 2024

Boundary-pushing runways featured a 3D show with avatar models wearing digital fashion collections that champion sustainability

Guests at Manchester Fashion Institute’s annual runway show got a glimpse of fashion future as final year students showcased fully digital collections brought to life using cutting edge software.

In what is an industry and university first, the digital runway show was beamed onto giant screens at the city’s New Century Hall, featuring photorealistic fashion design worn by 3D avatars.

It was experienced by a front row panel of VIP industry judges who joined a packed audience for the spectacle celebrating Manchester Met’s 200 year anniversary which, this month, is celebrating how it champions creative excellence.

From exploring gaming through digital designs to expressing high-class chic for the metaverse, the students’ influences and themes were encapsulated in dynamic digital form using the latest industry gold-standard fashion design software, CLO 3D.

Enabling the students to instantly create infinite variations of fashion designs without wasting resources, the zero-waste technology also allowed them to choose avatar models which visually represent body positivity and minoritised ethnic groups.

It cements Manchester Met’s status as one of the UK’s top three most sustainable universities, as ranked by the People and Planet University League Tables since 2013.

Image showing MFI fashion show
The virtual on-screen runway show took place alongside a physical runway of real-life models in the same hall

Anita Mitchell, Digital Strategic Lead at the Manchester Fashion Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “This digital runway show represents a paradigm shift in fashion education. Our vast experience in automation, robotisation and digitalisation have enabled us to position ourselves as leaders in digital fashion technologies, implementing cutting edge digital technologies across our courses.

“Switching to fully-digital designs has been a brave move for our students, but it’s one we believe will stand them in good stead as the industry moves to digital techniques to reduce its carbon footprint and encourage more sustainable, efficient and inclusive practises.”

The virtual on-screen runway show took place alongside a physical runway of real-life models in the same hall. It took place alongside an event sharing new business insights and a public exhibition of fashion communication work including fashion imagery, campaigns and publications in Manchester’s Sadler’s Yard.

The event showcased the wealth of talent at Manchester Fashion Institute across all aspects of the fashion supply chain from concept and design through to buying, merchandising, marketing and communication.

Image showing fashion show mdoels

Manchester Fashion Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the largest fashion schools in the UK. Many of the students showcased at the event were selected by Chanel to work at their iconic Metier’s d Arts show which was held in the city’s Northern Quarter in December.

Guests at the event represented other big brands, retailers, manufacturers and public sector companies who partner with the University to drive collaborative innovation through live briefs, research and innovation partnerships, scholarships and job opportunities for graduates.

Head of Manchester Fashion Institute Professor Liz Barnes said: “This event is a real highlight of the academic year and a joyful celebration of our amazing, talented students. It also offers the opportunity to reflect on the successes of the year, and share the outcomes with everyone who contributes - students, friends and family, tutors, technicians and our valued external partners.

“It is particularly special this year as we celebrate 200 years at the heart of Manchester’s creative and economic success.”

Image showing fashion show exhibition
In addition to the runway show a specially curated exhibition is open to the public until 28th May

This year’s event showcases the work of final year students of BA (Hons) Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology, BA (Hons) International Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Art Direction, BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion, BSc (Hons) Fashion Buying and Merchandise, BSc (Hons Fashion Business and Management and BSc (Hons) Fashion Marketing.

In addition to the runway show in the main New Century Hall, the students will be taking over the Sadler’s Yard area outside the building, with a specially curated exhibition open to the public until 28th May.

For more information about the exhibition go to and the live stream of the full show is available to watch again on YouTube. To find out more about Manchester Met’s 200 year anniversary celebrations see

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