June 3, 2022
 min read

Exploring Fashion in the Metaverse

Imagine a world where you can own and actually wear virtual clothing—a world where you participate in fashion week from the comfort of your couch

Written by Guest Blogger: Luciana Villarroel

We've witnessed the metaverse turn into the next big tech platform in recent years. Bloomberg reports that the global metaverse revenue opportunity could reach $800 billion by 2024. Similarly, in 2021, NFTs reached a staggering trade volume of $24.9 billion. With statistics like these, the potential success waiting to be tapped into is immense. Whether art, music, or gaming, blockchain technology has revolutionized brands. Most recently, the fashion industry has begun making its virtual strides. 

Digital clothing is no new concept, it's been ingrained into our online experiences for ages, with the most common form being customizing avatars. Today's digital fashion transcends this simple concept, taking e-commerce to a new level. Imagine a world where you can own and actually wear virtual clothing—a world where you participate in fashion week from the comfort of your couch. Or even better, explore the endless possibilities of making your virtual clothing. The metaverse makes this futuristic concept a reality. It completely changes how we understand fashion as a whole. 

Considering this concept, the mainstream fashion industry has already begun transforming itself to fit the digital era. In March of 2019, history was made when digital couture house, The Fabricant, released the first NFT fashion item. Available on the blockchain, it sold for $9,5000. Shortly after, the first NFT-driven fashion brand, Overpriced, released hoodies ingrained with a scannable code made to show off NFTs. Even Nike joined in on the action by acquiring sneaker brand RTKFT and selling 600 pairs of NFT sneakers. 

Fast forward to March 2022, the very first Metaverse Fashion Week debuted. Taking place in Decentraland, a virtual platform on the Ethereum blockchain, users could view luxury runways, enjoy concerts, and have fun at after-parties. This event featured fashion powerhouses like Dolce&Gabbana, Guo Pei, Estée Lauder, and more. Attendees could buy featured digital runway clothing for their avatars and in some cases, receive a physical version of their purchase. The best thing about the experience is how convenient it is. There's no need to pay expensive fees or use VR gear to get fully immersed. Decentraland is an entirely free, browser-based platform, meaning as long as you have a computer, engaging in MFW is easily accessible. With such a successful launch, there's no telling where MFW could go, maybe even rivalling the likes of New York fashion week. 

The first Metaverse Fashion Week shows that an industry shift is happening. What could once only be enjoyed through VR headsets is becoming much more accessible. Rather than having the metaverse as a means of escaping reality, it's integrating itself in a way that enhances reality. As a result, it's quickly becoming possible for anyone to appreciate fashion virtually through things like AR, NFTs, and internet browser platforms, as seen with the new generation of brands. 

While established brands have started to capitalize on these digital opportunities, the fashion industry has evolved to introduce a whole new kind of brand. One that focuses exclusively on producing digital clothes. 

A pioneer in this field is Dress X, a service where customers can shop online and choose virtual garments. Options range from a regular t-shirt to otherworldly outfits reminiscent of sci-fi. Customers can then purchase the item, send in a picture of themselves, and receive a photoshopped version wearing their item. They also offer the ability to purchase pieces as NFTs or wear them as an AR filter through their app. A service such as this is perfect for influencers and social media content creators, who can engage their platform by showing off these unique pieces. 

If buying clothing NFTs doesn't sound like your thing, then maybe creating your own will be! MOD Studio offers a web browser-based platform where users can create their own wearable NFTs using AI technology. They can then publish the item to the blockchain or sell them through a personal VR and AR shop. These shops then connect to metaverse games where they can be bought and worn directly. Profit can be made, crypto can be won, and a successful brand can be established. All of this is an attempt to make the fashion industry more accessible and help young designers fulfill their dreams. 

All of this may sound interesting, but I'm sure many people are left wondering what the point of all this is. Why should you buy a virtual version of something over a tangible item? Well, mainly because digital clothing offers a unique set of benefits, namely, sustainability and creativity.

As everyone knows, fast fashion is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage. This unethical process of mass production results in cheap but trendy clothing. Sadly, these clothes make their way to a landfill when trends pass. A prominent role of metaverse fashion brands like Dress X and MOD Studio is sustainability. When using a carbon-neutral process, the production of digital clothing produces 97% less Co2 than physical clothes. In addition, it reduces waste in landfills, and lowers water consumption and microplastics. Thanks to the metaverse, saving the planet has never looked so stylish.

Another huge benefit is the sheer amount of possibilities digital clothing offers. As London-based designer Scarlett Yang says, "There's more creative freedom in the digital realm, there's no constraints, no gravity." Here, NFTs are given a functional and interactive purpose. Why settle for regular-looking clothing when you can have the fantastical outfit of your dreams? It's common for virtual clothing to feature wings, animated fabrics, water, and even rotating planets. The sky's the limit for your self-expression. 

With Metaverse fashion offering so many unique experiences, whether it be shopping, designing, or fashion weeks, its success will only continue to thrive. Online, clothes are no longer simply a commodity. Instead, they are a work of art, a sense of community, and an enabler for positive environmental change. So next time you're thinking of going to the mall, consider going shopping for NFTs instead. 

As CMO, Brenda wants to offer the platform to everyone, everywhere, to engage fans and grow their business.

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