What’s the future of fashion brands in the metaverse?
Some say we are already in the metaverse. The Covid-19 pandemic brought us a new era in which we meet on Zoom, purchase online, and are more concerned with our online social network extensions than with the physical world. Through immersive virtual reality, the metaverse provides its own universe of potential, one in which we can work, play, and, of course, shop. Luxury fashion brands like as Burberry, Gucci, and Balenciaga have teamed up with leading video game producers to launch digital collections that allow individuals to personalize their avatars in the metaverse.
The Metaverse, like the runway, may be a place where anything is possible to wear, and people can be as strange and wild as they like. Digital fashion satisfies the desire for limitless self-expression while causing no environmental harm or waste.
Digital fashion is sustainable fashion
The influencer’s age has prompted millions of people to buy outfits to appear digitally online. Virtual garments can provide that weight without polluting the environment with shipping, returns, and the possibility of discarding the garment after only a few wears, resulting in a landfill. Digital fashion is eco-friendly since it produces no waste and is carbon neutral. Only recently Marc Zuckerberg and Meta teamed up with Balenciaga and multiple other designers and created outfits for the avatars.
Another application of digital fashion is allowing customers to virtually try on garments in a virtual showroom before making a physical purchase. The program would drastically reduce the number of returns from online purchases, which presently result in five billion pounds of waste being dumped annually.
Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW)
Decentraland, a decentralized virtual social platform based on Ethereum, hosted the first-ever Digital Fashion Week in March. Dolce & Gabbana and Hèrmes Birkin bags, for example, have embraced the metaverse by building internet boutiques where users may flaunt their status. Forever 21 has just released a line of wearables for the Metaverse. Estée Lauder’s wearable, which used their “Little Brown Bottle” serum to give avatars a golden glow, was a big hit with virtual attendees.
Dolce & Gabana has unveiled 20 complete metaverse outfits that they designed especially for Metaverse Fashion Week. The brand used cat face avatars to showcase the collection.
Following the show, the entire collection was on display at a Dolce & Gabbana pop-up store in Decentraland’s fashion area. Decentraland’s key partners for this event were UNXD and Vogue Arabia. D&G recently sold a collection of NFTs for $6 million as part of a collaboration with UNXD. The creation of the DGFamily community marks D&G’s next step into the metaverse. This MVFW collection will include airdrops for DGFamily NFT holders.
Etro, on the other hand, decided to present a real-world collection for his first fashion show in the metaverse. The “Liquid Paisley” collection, which has ready-to-wear garments worn by 20 meta-models and honors one of the design house’s iconic motifs. It also comes with a number of accessories – bags, hats, and shoes are all available. Etro has also put up a pop-up store in the UNXD Luxury District, which is home to other designer boutiques, in collaboration with UNXD.
Gucci’s first digital sneaker and not only
Gucci debuted its first digital sneaker, the Gucci Virtual 25, in 2021, to “wear” on social media or in augmented reality (AR) for $9-12 — a steal considering their original sneakers sell out for over $1,000. These shoes will display in an app, similar to a filter, where users will be able to unlock access to shoot images of themselves wearing them and share them online.
These virtual clothing, unlike NFTs, do not have a blockchain certificate of ownership attached to them. Buyers can still look at and try on the shoes. Gucci has already produced virtual clothes for The Sims 4 and Pokémon GO, so this isn’t the first time they’ve done so. Gucci is also developing an app that will allow customers to virtually try on actual footwear.
For the occasion, two more Italian companies, Hogan and Giuseppe Zanotti, launched NFT collections. Hogan debuted the NFT “Untraditional” line of the brand’s first sneaker in cooperation with Exclusible. During the event, they also set up a pop-up shop in Decentraland. Giuseppe Zanotti, an Italian designer, has also released a line of NFT sneakers for MVFW. “COBRAS,” a collaborative effort with DeadFellaz, was released as a digital-only limited edition. In addition to the COBRAS, Deadfellaz sells apparel through the Boson Protocol.
NFT hoodie sells for $26,000
The most expensive sweatshirt of all time was sold at auction for $26,000 by the world’s first NFT fashion brand, self-proclaimed and prophetically dubbed “Overpriced.” The artists designed a tangible sweatshirt with a scannable QR code to display the NFT, cost it, and validate it with evidence of ownership. Their motto is “F*ck your money.”
The real value of the garment is in the digital token, essentially buying wearable art. This sky-high hoodie is a prime example of how the metaverse’s decentralized virtual space is disrupting the industry and allowing smaller, lesser-known fashion brands to compete with the big names in this equalized fashion playground.
With predictions that digital products will account for a substantial amount of fashion firm revenue in the next five to ten years, high fashion is cashing in on the metaverse’s popular trend of virtual assets. Aimed towards Generation Z, these young customers support sustainable fashion and have a strong desire to express themselves through social media.
People are already exhibiting themselves online in the age of the influencer (some of them are avatars themselves, such as Miquela Sousa), so the transition to adopting digital fashion as a means of establishing its influence and status to the entire globe is rather small.