The rise of the Metaverse has led to a new digital economy that is all about virtual experiences and interactions.
Metaverse ecosystems with avatars, on the other hand, are also becoming more common, allowing people to show off their personalities through digitally customizable 3D characters.
This idea was recently made public when Facebook’s parent company, Meta, came out with a series of inclusive avatars.
It may seem like the Metaverse is something from the future, but new research from Gartner says that 25% of people will have spent at least one hour a day in the Metaverse by 2026.
Marty Resnick, a vice president at Gartner, has also said that 30% of businesses around the world will have products and services in the Metaverse by 2026.
Fashion NFTs are the next big trend
There’s no surprise that digital fashion made for metaverse environments is also starting to happen, given this.
Founder Lokesh Rao of Trace Network Labs says fashion has always been a way for people to show off and carry themselves in the real world. This is why he thinks the Metaverse is a great place for people to show off and carry themselves.
Even though more people are splitting their time between the real world and the Metaverse, Rao thinks there will be a rise in demand for virtual luxury goods.
Rao said that digital fashion in the form of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, is becoming more popular with big brands and high-end designers.
“Fashion NFTs are simply tokenized outfits, accessories, textiles and other wearables that have been created to exist in virtual worlds. Their purpose is quite straightforward. They provide a way for us to express ourselves in the Metaverse.”
To Rao’s point, it has become clear that big brands are paying attention to NFTs.
In December 2021, Nike announced that it had bought RTFKT, a company that makes virtual sneakers and collectibles. This was the first step toward making the metaverse more accessible.
Founder Dani Loftus told Cointelegraph that the acquisition shows that traditional fashion brands will soon have to adapt to digital models. This Outfit Does Not Exist is a digital fashion platform.
It will be important to pay attention to things like the Metaverse and digital fashion in the future, says her.
It’s also important to note that high-end luxury brands, like Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo, made their own NFT collections last year at New York Fashion Week 2021, which was held in New York.
Designers and curators at UNXD came up with Dolce & Gabbana’s nine-piece NFT collection. UNXD is a boutique that works with well-known luxury brands.
Founder and CEO of UNXD, Shashi Menon, told Cointelegraph that fashion and NFTs play a huge role in people’s identities and how they interact with the world around them.
“Part of UNXD’s thesis is that fashion is going to be one of the first killer use cases in the Metaverse. What’s in your wallet says something about who you are, how you want to be perceived and what you can do on Web3 platforms or even in the real world.”
Keeping this in mind, Menon said that UNXD is working hard to make not only the best visuals that can be enjoyed as art, but also experiences with the world’s best brands for the people who buy UNXD’s art.
“NFTs make this possible,” he said.
Fashion NFTs hit the runway in 2022
NFTs have already had a big impact on the fashion world, so it makes sense that digital designs are now being shown in metaverse environments.
As “Metaverse Fashion Week” events come to fruition, the worlds of fashion and Web3 come together for the first time.
Everyrealm, a group of people who invest in and develop metaverse ecosystems, held its Metaverse Fashion Week on February 14, 2022, which was the same day as New York Fashion Week 2022.
It was organized by Blueberry entertainment, a company that makes digital clothes. The show took place in the Second Life Metaverse, a virtual world that started in 2003 and has been around for a long time now.
Jonathan Simkhai, a high-end women’s fashion designer, was a big part of the show.
Co-founder Julia Schwartz told CoinNewsDaily that the goal of Everyrealm was to show that digital fashion has a place in the general business by giving digital wearables a runway in the Metaverse.
People were able to experience fashion in a new and immersive way because the event took place during New York Fashion Week. Schwartz said this was because COVID-19 didn’t have any rules about how people could experience fashion.
When Metaverse Fashion Week opened to the public in Second Life, there were more than 40,000 people there.
She said that Everyrealm worked with Jonathan Simkhai to make ten styles for the Metaverse for Fall and Winter 2022.
“For the first time ever, digital NFT wearables made their debut in the Metaverse before their physical counterparts, demonstrating a dramatic shift in the way people consume and experience fashion and culture.”
Everyrealm’s fashion show was new and interesting, but it’s important to point out that it was made up of wearable fashion NFTs and not just digital fashion designs.
People can wear digital fashion in social media posts or on 3D avatars. Schwartz said that the Metaverse makes it possible for people to not only participate in culture but also own a piece of it through the purchase of nonfungible tokens.
As Schwartz said, Justin Banon, the co-founder of Boson Protocol, a platform that lets brands sell physical items in the Metaverse, said that using NFTs in digital wearables gives people strong property rights because they own an asset that is long-term.
A piece of fashion history or an heirloom that can be passed down through the generations is made when it is worn.
These property rights are driving the value of NFTs because people want to be able to own something.
That said, Schwartz said that six of Jonathan Simkhai’s designs were made into NFTs for Everyrealm’s fashion show. One of them was a one-on-one piece that sold for about $3,000 dollars.
Schwartz: “The owner of the 1/1 NFT will get a real piece from Jonathan Simkhai’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection.”
NFTs take fashion to new heights
Even though Everyrealm’s metaverse fashion show took place during New York Fashion Week this year, another NFT fashion line came out during Paris Fashion Week.
New York-based designer Terrence Zhou told CoinNewsDaily that he plans to launch his first NFT collection on March 3, 2022. It will be sold on the digital fashion market The Dematerialized.
Zhang Zhou, better known as INFINITE, is the designer of the NFT collection. He describes it as a fashion experience that is more about the mind than the body:
“This collection reimagines and elevates the potential of wearable art in the virtual world. When people see fashion, they often think it’s a commodity, but I see fashion as art. This is why I find it empowering to create NFTs, so people can collect and own these as art but can also wear them virtually or in real life. This is a gamechanger.”
He says there are six NFTs in his INFINITE collection, three of which came out during Paris Fashion Week.
He said that the unique NFTs are an extension of his physical designs, but they also help in areas that can’t be done in real life.
Fashion is a fantasy that I can’t make come true in the real world. But in the digital world, these clothes come to life and can tell stories.
It gets a lot more poetic.”
Zhou, for example, said that the INFINITE collection tells the story of how the idea of love and intimate relationships changed. It invites people to a diorama of emotions that were caused by such an exceptional human interaction.
It took Zhou a while to explain:
“Inspired by The Little Mermaid and the Greek mythology of sirens, three NFTs explore sexual fantasies in an illogical way by fusing anthropomorphic structures with absurd representations such as bulbous forms and fishtails. The balloon shape with a beating heart unifies the collection, accompanied by two distinct mermaid tails representing both unrequited love and bodily sacrifice.”
Fashion NFTs allow designers to be more creative, but they also help them connect more deeply with their customers.
Zhou said that from a designer’s point of view, NFTs are empowering because they let him talk to his audience right away.
Another thing Jonathan Simkhai, the first designer to work with Everyrealm Fashion Week, told Cointelegraph: An NFT collection is a great way to connect with a bigger group of people.
“The future of fashion exists in the Metaverse alongside in real-life garments and activations. To me, it‘s more about accessibility and community building. Activating in the Metaverse allows us to reach a customer who maybe isn‘t familiar with the brand but allows them to create a digital identity using the clothes.“
Simkhai made the point that someone at Everyrealm’s Metaverse Fashion Week said that she would like to wear one of the white NFT pants suits that were on display because she “would never be able to pull them off in real life.” Schwartz agreed with Simkhai.
According to Schwartz, “These platforms give us the freedom to explore and escape without fear of being judged or social pressures.”
NFTs will continue to hit the catwalk this year
It’s likely that digital designs will keep making their way into the Metaverse because of how well NFT fashion is doing right now.
When the Decentraland platform announced that it would be hosting one of the biggest digital fashion week events in 2022, it backed up this idea even more. The event will take place from March 24-27, 2022.
People who work for Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week told Cointelegraph that the four-day event, which will feature some of the best-known names in the world of fashion, will be held in the city.
When Casimiro said that Selfridges, a London retailer, will open its flagship metaverse store on March 23, he said that this will start the Metaverse Fashion Week on March 23.
The event will also have a futuristic runway where famous fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Dundas, and Etro will show their clothes every day.
Other digital fashion brands, like The Fabricant, and new designers will also show off their digital clothes.
“Fashion is its own business.”
We are having Metaverse Fashion Week to bring together people who make things in the community with people who make clothes.
The goal is to make physical and digital fashion work together.
So, we’re bringing in big brands and new artists, says Casimiro.
Casimiro also said that Metaverse Fashion Week will be a mix of NFTs and digital fashion, noting that some designs will be linked to NFT markets.
Casimiro thinks that Decentraland’s Fashion Week will be popular with both Web3 and traditional fashion fans:
“Brands want to learn more about how to reach old and new customers by going into the Metaverse.”
We think a lot of people who have never been to Decentraland will come to this event.
Reimagining the future of fashion with NFTs
Even though it’s becoming clear that NFTs are the future of fashion, it’s also important to note that this field still needs both technical and mental growth.
There are so many options and sizes in the Metaverse, Casimiro said that the biggest challenge for fashion brands is getting them to understand that.
The Metaverse is a place where brands think they can do the same thing as traditional catwalks. But brands can be much more creative.
The process of making something is becoming more collaborative.
It can be hard for traditional fashion designers to move into Web3, but Simkhai said that it was interesting to learn about how to make real-world clothes into digital designs.
The clothes and fabrics I work with in the real world are so important to me as a designer.
It took a lot of time to do “virtual fittings” for this project so that the clothes would match the real thing.
People who work as curators also have to think about this. Menon said that UNXD’s job is to capture a designer’s spirit and extend it into the Metaverse in the most meaningful way.
“For high-end brands, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting that right, and we work very closely with the designers to do so.”
It’s a very high-touch way of doing things, but one that a lot of money needs.
Finally, there are still technical problems to be solved to make sure that high-end digital wearables look good in metaverse environments.
Banon, for example, said that one of the biggest problems with digital fashion right now is the quality of resolution in some virtual worlds, like Second Life.
Many people don’t have the resolution to make fashion items look as good as they should.
When it comes to quality, though, “everything gets better over time.”
Indeed, as the future of fashion moves forward, things will get better.
Managing Director Megan Kaspar told Cointelegraph that the need for industry standards and interoperability in all metaverse environments is now necessary to ensure a better quality of products. She is also a member of Red DAO, a fashion-focused DAO.
As a good thing, this problem is being worked on.
When Marjorie Hernandez, the founder of a blockchain infrastructure called LUKSO, spoke to Cointelegraph, she said that the platform wants to bring together both the physical and digital worlds by creating a seamless ecosystem with blockchain technology.
“Both digital and physical garments can be authenticated on-chain as NFTs allowing for proof of ownership, proof of authenticity and multiverse interoperability and utility. With our new standards and NFT 2.0, digital fashion garments could even be upgraded based on seasons, trends, between owners or to mark special moments in a brand‘s history.”
Hernandez, as well as other people in the fashion industry, thinks that the future of fashion is in NFTs that are both interoperable and dematerialized.
“With the help of technology, the fashion industry and even new designers can be as creative as they want to be,” she said.
Schwartz said that “as brands look for new ways to connect with customers, the Metaverse will give them the chance to try new things in the form of digital/physical activations and merchandise.”