There is absolutely no doubt that we are undergoing an overwhelming “virtual-digital” revolution with the inception of NFTs, digital avatars, mixed reality, and cryptocurrencies among others. And while we can choose to ignore most of these innovations, they appear to be becoming more intrusive with each passing day.
The recently held Metaverse Fashion Week, which also marks the first of its kind, is yet more proof that we can’t ignore the ongoing virtual digital revolution. If not for anything else, virtual reality is growing more popular, and it’s time to start learning about fashion in the virtual world.
Being the first edition, the Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) was hosted from March 23 to March 27 in Decentraland, a decentralized virtual social platform on the Ethereum blockchain. Notably, the five-day long event featured premium labels, household names, and digital-native designers, who added color to the event.
Unlike traditional Fashion Weeks, MVFW presented an immersive shopping experience, thanks to an exclusive new innovation that turns 2D product photos into 3D experiences. Also, attendees who patronized virtual apparel in Decentraland got to receive a physical twin dispatched for their actual wardrobe, making the event an all-encompassing one.
That said, this article will examine the Metaverse Fashion Week, and how it stands to transform the way we look at the fashion business in the future. We’ll go through five key takeaways from the MVFW and what each signifies, as well as what the future holds for the realm of NFTs and the Metaverse.
Understanding Fashion and Metaverse Mergence
As it enters the metaverse, fashion may be categorized into two types: hybrid physical-digital, where items can be worn in augmented or virtual worlds, and entirely digital, where things are sold directly to an avatar.
As such, learning to merge the real and the unreal will become an increasingly important skill for fashion designers and businesses as they advance in the future. Similarly, because digital design is projected to generate a flood of creative output, designers and businesses must understand how to reach their target customers while also understanding the underlying technology.
It is also important to keep in mind that physical collections are frequently accompanying these digital collaborations. In 2019, Louis Vuitton collaborated with Riot Games to produce original skins for League of Legends, as well as a fashion line based on the game, with prices ranging from $170 for a bandeau to over $5,000 for a jacket.
In the same vein, Balenciaga published their Autumn collection into a video game this year, collaborating with Fortnite to create products that would be available both in-game and in walk-in outlets. So far, this has already been a big success, to the point that digital versions of goods outnumber their physical counterparts.
Also joining the trend, Gucci teamed with Roblox to create a “Gucci Garden,” and their famed Queen Bee Dionysus bag sold online for 350,000 Robux (about $4000), significantly above the bag’s real-world worth. That said, below are the major takeaways from the first edition of MVFW.
Major Takeaways from MVFW
With the MVFW coming to an end and creating a worldwide ripple effect, what does this mean for the metaverse and the world at large? Here are five takeaways from this year’s MVFW.
There Is No Going Back
NFTs are all about collecting, much like in the worlds of fashion and art. NFTs now add a new degree of uniqueness to digital designs and collections, as well as the ability to transform them into very expensive, elegant, and unique collector items.
Users’ self-expression used to be limited to the physical realm, but it is increasingly blending with the virtual realm as well. And one of the most basic examples of this approach to NFTs is when an asset is a digital replica of a physical product with its own value.
When it comes to particular clothing lines, NFTs were among the first to be adopted by the sneaker and streetwear industries. Gucci, for example, has already declared that it will create its own NFT. Until recently, the idea of perhaps buying or making money from virtual clothes seemed…far fetched, to say the least.
However, as the times change, this mindset is gradually fading. You would think that this trend is exclusively popular among Gen-Z, but you’d be mistaken because millennials and generation alpha are also entering the luxury market. You’d better believe people will soon flood social media with 3D photographs of themselves wearing 3D apparel.
People do not buy another pair of expensive shoes or a pocketbook because they truly need these items, as all luxury manufacturers understand. They shop for expensive items in order to be a part of the elite culture, tradition, and one-of-a-kind story that a particular brand has built. NFTs, like social assets, may offer customers a certain amount of status as well as a new market for market participants.
The future of art and design is quite mixed, mixing traditional tangible representations of originality and creativity with more digitized approaches and ways of selling art. Wearable NFTs based on digital designs are now available for purchase. This is a clear case of the digital world infiltrating the material world.
While fashion companies are sometimes perceived as conservative, several of the industry’s greatest brands are rolling the dice this season by participating in MVFW. Of course, this isn’t meant to be a replacement for their actual runways, but rather a vehicle for reaching a whole new audience.
Over the course of four days, 50 businesses of all sizes showcased virtual collections in Decentraland’s new “Luxury Fashion District,” which is said to be fashioned after Paris’s iconic Avenue Montaigne.
Some of the largest names stepping into the metaverse are Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, Elie Saab, Roberto Cavalli, Coach, and Etro, as well as digital-first rising companies like The Fabricant and CSM’s Scarlett Yang. In the digital movie theater, Chanel and Lanvin are playing films.
The only beauty brand taking part is Estée Lauder. The cosmetics stalwart has hired Alex Box to create a trademark style that MVFW participants can wear electronically on their avatars, thanks to a collaboration with Decentraland.
This move by larger brands will undoubtedly inspire more brands throughout the world to engage and explore the metaverse as a platform for expansion, assuming they are not already doing so as you read this. However, it is dependent on whether the metaverse is worth the risk and whether this brand show was a success. From what we have seen, it was, don’t you agree?
Corporate Brands Are Paying Attention to Technology Trends
Blockchain and NFTs aren’t going away, and numerous major brands have already dipped their toes into the water and demonstrated their ability to promote true engagement. Corporate brands are constantly looking for new strategies and technologies to gain a competitive advantage, therefore it’s no wonder that NFTs and blockchain technology have been highlighted frequently in projections for the coming year.
The digital landscape now includes 3D AR and VR experiences. This is why Meta (the tech giant firm formerly known as Facebook) introduced the development of a networked metaverse.
Rather than chasing the latest flashy gimmick, marketers must outline clear objectives and targets while considering all options. They should not, however, ignore the present trend in various marketing channels toward blockchain and virtual worlds.
NFTs can help companies increase brand value and affection in a number of ways, but as virtual souvenirs, they make the digital object more personal to the customer. It’s not a Burger King crown that any BK fan could buy at a store. Instead, it’s a one-of-a-kind object obtained by a customer through a series of hoops, and they can authenticate it on the blockchain.
Blockchain vendors who mint NFTs and provide digital wallets and trophy cases for consumers to retain them have already established an environment in which customers may brag about their NFTs.
However, while functioning in a virtual environment, those NFTs may track a user’s every move. This makes NFTs fundamental to the VR experience, and it is one of the reasons why they will become more important as a VR metaverse emerges. And for companies who understand this significance, they are hot on the heels of the Metaverse and drinking up whatever they can in preparation for the journey ahead.
The Metaverse Represents the Future of Broadcasting
Although experts believe we’re still a decade away, here’s a taste of what the metaverse means for broadcasting.
The majority of us now interact with the “metaverse” through consumer-facing, interactive, and immersive virtual platforms such as video games, augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, and social media.
Likewise, the social gaming sector is paving the way for new forms of online and offline interactions, providing huge opportunities for TV brands and assets to grow their presence online and reach a larger and more active audience.
“We know the world is headed toward the metaverse,” said Lady PheOnix, the creator of Crypto Fashion Week. “We know that in the future, everyone will have an avatar. Those who desire to look well in real life also want to look good in the metaverse.”
NYX Professional Makeup debuted their first NFT (non-fungible token) for the Met Gala as part of the official “Met Gala red carpet” event including virtual fashion and beauty styles. Mimi Choi, a special-effects makeup artist, produced the NYX Cosmetics look in real life, and a digital replica and avatar were created using holographic capture.
The cosmetics look was digitally minted into an NFT in the form of an AR filter, which Met Gala site visitors could enter to win in a giveaway. The fashion presentation included a computerized version of Choi modeling the cosmetics look while dressed in a Rebecca Minkoff garment.
MVFW Is a Major Shot at Democratizing Fashion
Every time their work is sold or shared, NFT creators get paid royalties. Previously, secondhand marketplaces struggled to attract the most sophisticated consumers and collectors. Because NFTs are meant to last forever, they have the potential to forever alter the rules of the luxury game.
In our opinion, NFTs will have an impact on digital advertising and storytelling as people grow more interested in the stories behind the products they buy. NFTs will help in the democratization, decentralization, and demystification of art and design aspects.
Up-and-coming businesses in the fashion and art industries should pay attention to NFT updates and other analogous trends. Collaborations with well-known fashion designers and artists might be a good way to break into this sector.
Launching a couple of distinct NFTs to measure interest might also be a good approach to gauge early uptake. If properly produced and promoted, several forms of creative work can be made into collector objects. This way, users may acquire one-of-a-kind digital artwork and digital collectibles from firms that currently use NFTs, such as music, concert tickets, fashion, original forms of art, and even one-of-a-kind experiences.
The most crucial thing for companies to do in this situation is to open up a new domain of customer interaction and digital communication. Using memorable items might help to enhance customer loyalty.
Notably, one-of-a-kind events and moments in time can now be captured, traded, and remembered, which is something that all businesses can use to establish a far closer link with their consumers. Ephemeral things fade away, but a collector piece has a far stronger link to a certain brand.
“Life has no value the moment you lose the idea of immortality,” stated French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. NFTs are without a doubt a new instrument that is bringing us closer to eternal life.
This is the question on everybody’s mind right now, and while it’s difficult to predict how the real world will react to the virtual, the metaverse looks to stand a strong chance of survival.
GCD Vice-President Morten Grubak, who designed the world’s first digital clothing collection for Carlings in 2018 and was behind Coca-Cola’s first-ever NFT, which sold for $575,883.61, and his Virtue Worldwide team conducted a study on the potential of virtual fashion, and one-third of respondents stated that they are already using it.
Even more astounding, 82% said they have purchased a virtual item, and 94% thought digital fashion would become popular. Within the next five years, these respondents estimate 46% of their clothing will be digital.
So, whether you “understand it” right now or not, it appears that keeping an eye on the world of digital wearables is worthwhile.
NFTs and the Metaverse began as notions in a science fiction novel and eventually appeared in films such as Tron and Judge Dredd. The concept isn’t new to us: we’ve seen similar ideas in movies and literature throughout the years, and now what we’ve envisioned is becoming a reality.
We started with money, then art, and now fashion: what will come next? The metaverse is here to stay, but the question is how much it will change our real lives.