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Some say we are already in the metaverse. The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in the era of a digital universe where we meet over Zoom, shop online and care more about our online social media extensions of ourselves than the physical world.
The metaverse is creating its own world of opportunity through an immersive virtual realityone in which we can work, play and of course shop. The fashion industry is welcoming virtual clothing with luxury fashion brands like Burberry, Gucci and Balenciaga joining forces with top video game designers to launch digital collections for individualizing people’s avatars in the metaverse.
Just as the runway is filled with over-the-top and outlandish creations, the metaverse can be a place where anything is possible to wear, and people can be as weird and wild as they want to be. Digital fashion serves the need for endless self-expression without harming the environment or producing any waste.
Digital fashion is sustainable fashion
The age of the influencer has caused millions of people to purchase outfits to appear digitally online. Virtual clothes can provide that clout without polluting the environment with shipping, returns and possibly throwing away the garment after only a few wears to end up in a landfill. Digital fashion is environmentally friendly as it is zero-waste and carbon neutral.
Another use case of digital fashion allows consumers to virtually try on articles of clothing in a digital showroom before purchasing their physical item. The application will drastically reduce the rate of online shopping returns, which are currently creating five billion pounds of landfill waste every year.
Metaverse fashion week (MVFW)
This past March, the first-ever digital fashion week took place in Decentraland, a decentralized virtual social platform built on Ethereum. Brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Hèrmes Birkin bags have embraced the metaverse by opening digital boutiques for users to show off their status. Forever 21 recently debuted their collection of wearables for the metaverse. Estée Lauder’s wearable gave avatars a golden glow with their ‘Little Brown Bottle’ serum and was a massive hit with virtual attendees.
Gucci’s first digital sneaker
In 2021, Gucci released its first digital sneakerthe Gucci Virtual 25 to be ‘worn’ on social media or in augmented reality (AR) for the low price of $9 to $12 quite a bargain when their physical sneakers retail for upwards of $1,000. Like a filter, these shoes will appear in an app where users will unlock access to take pictures of themselves wearing them to share online.
Unlike an NFT, these virtual garments do not belong to the buyer through a blockchain certificate of ownership. Still, purchasers are permitted to access or wear the shoes.
This digital sneaker is not Gucci’s first virtual garment, with previous virtual wearables designed for Sims 4 and Pokémon GO. Gucci is also working on allowing shoppers to try on real-life sneakers through their branded app virtually.
NFT hoodie sells for $26,000
The self-proclaimed and prophetically-named world’s first NFT fashion brand ‘Overpriced’ sold the most expensive hoodie ever at auction for $26,000. The artists, whose motto is ‘F*ck your money,’ created a physical hoodie with a scannable QR code to display the NFT, cost and authenticate with proof of ownership.
The actual value of the garment is in the digital token, essentially purchasing wearable art. This exorbitant hoodie is a prime example of how the decentralized virtual space of the metaverse is disrupting the industry and allowing smaller, lesser-known fashion brands to compete with the big names in this leveled playing field of digital fashion.
High fashion is capitalizing on this popular trend of virtual assets in the metaverse with predictions of a large percentage of fashion brands’ revenue coming from digital products within the next five to 10 years. Geared toward Generation Z, these younger consumers are already advocates of sustainable fashion and have a high propensity for self-expression via social media.
In the age of the influencer (with some being avatars themselves, such as Miquela Sousa), people are already showing off online, so the transition is relatively minuscule to using digital fashion as a means of proving clout and status to the world at large.
Anastasiia Ageeva is a PR specialist working in crypto and art projects. Anastasiia has worked in technology, art and digital media for over five years, with a heavy focus on business development and strategy.
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