This year, mainstream designers have settled in the Metaverse, launching their first NFT collections, depicting new trends in the future of fashion.
The rise of the Metaverse has led to an entirely new digital economy, one defined by virtual experiences and interactions. In turn, Metaverse ecosystems of avatars are emerging, allowing individuals to express their individuality through digitally customizable 3D characters. More recently, the idea spread to the mainstream when Facebook’s parent company, Meta, launched a series of inclusive avatars.
While the Metaverse may sound futuristic, recent findings from technology research and consulting firm Gartner predict that by 2026, 25 percent of people will spend at least an hour a day in the Metaverse.Gartner vice president Marty Resnick also predicts that by 2026, 30 percent of the world’s organizations will have products and services in the Metaverse.
Fashion NFTs will be the next big hit
In light of this, the rise of digital fashion aimed at the Metaverse comes as no surprise. Lokesh Rao, co-founder and COO of Trace Network Labs, told Cointelegraph that fashion has always been a way for people to express themselves in the physical world. However, as it becomes more common for people to split their time between the physical world and the Metaverse, Rao believes that demand for virtual luxury lifestyle goods is growing. Rao specifically mentioned that digital fashion in the form of NFTs is beginning to be favored by major brands and high-end fashion designers.
“In simple terms, fashion NFTs are tokenized clothing, accessories, textiles, and other wearables that are created to exist in a virtual world. Their purpose is straightforward. They provide us with a way to live in the Metaverse. way of expressing yourself.”
From Rao’s point of view, the attention of big brands to NFTs is already obvious. In December 2021, sporting goods maker Nike announced the acquisition of virtual sneaker and collectibles brand RTFKT as a first step toward the Metaverse. Dani Loftus, founder of This Outfit Does Not Exist — a digital fashion platform — told Cointelegraph that the acquisition shows that traditional fashion brands will soon move towards a digital model, “in the future, the Metaverse and digital fashion will have to be taken seriously. treat.”
It’s also worth noting that high-end luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo launched their own NFT collections during New York Fashion Week 2021 last year. Dolce & Gabbana’s nine-piece NFT collection was designed by UNXD, a boutique that provides creative and curation for iconic luxury brands.Shashi Menon, the Dubai-based publisher of Vogue Arabia and founder and CEO of UNXD, told Cointelegraph that fashion plays an incredibly important role in identity as well as NFTs.
Part of UNXD’s thesis is that fashion will be one of the first killer use cases for the Metaverse. What’s in your wallet says who you are, how you want to be seen, and what you can do on a Web 3 platform or even in the real world.
With this in mind, Menon added that UNXD is not only focused on making the best visuals that can be enjoyed as art, but also unlocking experiences for the world’s top brands for UNXD’s community of collectors. “It’s all possible because of NFTs,” he said.
Fashion NFTs hit the runway in 2022
Given the impact NFTs have had on the fashion world, it seems logical that digital design is now being showcased in the Metaverse. Specifically, with the realization of the “Metaverse Fashion Week” event, the fashion world and the Web 3 really collided.
For example, Everyrealm — a group of investors and developers of an active metaspace ecosystem — hosted Metaverse Fashion Week on February 14, 2022, to echo New York Fashion Week 2022. Everyrealm’s Metaverse fashion show was produced by digital wearables brand Blueberry Entertainment and took place at Second Life Metaverse, a virtual world launched in 2003. The show featured designs by Jonathan Simkhai, a high-end womenswear designer and a staple of New York Fashion Week.
Everyrealm co-founder Julia Schwartz told Cointelegraph that the company aims to illustrate that digital fashion has a place in the wider business by giving digital wearables a runway in the Metaverse. Schwartz added that the event echoes New York Fashion Week, allowing people to experience fashion in a new, immersive realm that’s also free from Covid-19 quarantines. “When we opened up Metaverse Fashion Week to the public, we had over 40,000 people in attendance,” Schwartz said. She elaborated that Everyrealm worked with Jonathan Simkhai to create ten Fall/Winter 2022 styles for Metaverse Fashion Week.
“For the first time ever, digital NFT wearables debuted in the Metaverse ahead of their physical counterparts, marking a dramatic shift in the way people consume and experience fashion and culture.”
Although innovative, it must be noted here that Everyrealm’s fashion show consists of wearable fashion NFTs, not just digital fashion designs. While digital fashion can be overlaid on photos, worn on social media, or worn on 3D avatars, Schwartz points out that the Metaverse creates opportunities for people to not only participate in the culture, but also own a piece of it by purchasing NFTs. Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol, told Cointelegraph that, like Schwartz, incorporating NFTs into digital wearables gives individuals a strong property right because they own a permanent asset. “It becomes a piece of fashion history or an heirloom that can be passed down from generation to generation. These property rights drive the value of NFTs because people value truly owning an asset.”
NFTs take fashion to new heights
On the one hand, Everyrealm’s Metaverse fashion show runs concurrently with New York Fashion Week.On the other hand, an NFT fashion collection was launched at this year’s Paris Fashion Week. Terrence Zhou, a New York-based designer whose work has appeared on the covers of magazines including Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire, told Cointelegraph that on March 3, 2022, he passed the digital fashion marketplace. The Dematerialised launched his first NFT collection. Known as INFINITE, Zhou describes his NFT collection as a fashion experience built for the mind rather than the body.
“This collection reimagines and elevates the potential of wearable art in the virtual world. When people see fashion, they tend to think of it as a commodity, but I think fashion is art. That’s why I feel empowered to create NFTs , so people can collect and own these as art, but also wear them in virtual or real life. It’s a game changer.”
According to Zhou, there are six NFTs in his INFINITE collection, three of which were released during Paris Fashion Week. He explained that these unique NFTs represent an extension of his physical designs, but complement areas that cannot be achieved in real life. “All my fantasies about fashion can’t be fulfilled in the physical world, but these fashion pieces come to life and tell a story in the digital world. It becomes more poetic.”
As an example, Zhou shared that the INFINITE series speaks of transformative experiences about love and intimacy, inviting people into the emotional perspective presented by such a special human interaction.
“Inspired by The Little Mermaid and the siren from Greek mythology, the three NFTs explore sexual fantasy in illogical ways by fusing anthropomorphic structures with absurd representations such as spheres and fishtails. With a beating The balloon shape of the heart unifies the collection, along with two distinct mermaid tails, representing unrequited love and physical sacrifice.”
In addition to expanding creative possibilities, fashion NFTs also allow designers to have a deeper connection with consumers. Zhou explained that from a designer’s point of view, NFT has potential because it allows him to interact directly with his audience. Jonathan Simkhai, the launch designer for Everyrealm Fashion Week, further told Cointelegraph that the NFT collection is an exciting way to reach a larger audience.
“The future of fashion exists in the Metaverse alongside real-life clothing and events. For me, it’s more about accessibility and community building. Having events in the Metaverse allows us to reach out to people who may not be familiar with customers of the brand, but allow them to create a digital identity using these garments.”
To Simkhai’s point, Schwartz mentioned that at Everyrealm’s Metaverse Fashion Week, an attendee commented that she wanted to wear the NFT’s white pant in virtual because she “will never be able to wear it in real life. “. “These platforms allow us to explore, escape and be present without fear of judgment, stigma or social pressure,” Schwartz explained .
NFT will continue to deeply occupy the fashion industry
Given the current success of fashion around NFTs, digital designs will likely continue to make their mark in the Metaverse. This concept is being reinforced by the Decentraland platform, which recently announced that it will host one of the largest digital fashion week events, which will take place from March 24 to 27, 2022.
Decentraland’s head of Metaverse Fashion Week, Gigi Graziosi Casimiro, told Cointelegraph that Decentraland will host four days of runway shows, fashion experiences, pop-up shops and sideshows featuring some of the biggest names in global fashion. London-based retailer Selfridges, for example, will kick off Metaverse Fashion Week on March 23 with the opening of its flagship store.
The event will also feature a futuristic track featuring daily performances by iconic fashion brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Dundas and Etro. Other purely digital fashion brands like The Fabricant and new designers will also debut their digital wearables. “Fashion is its own economy. We host Metaverse Fashion Week to connect community creators with the fashion industry in one place. Our mission is to connect physical and digital fashion. So we connect big brands with newcomers The authors brought in together,” explained Casimiro.
Additionally, Casimiro mentioned that Metaverse Fashion Week will consist of a mix of NFTs and digital fashion, noting that some designs will be connected to the NFT marketplace. Casimiro believes Decentraland’s fashion week will likely appeal to both Web 3 and traditional fashion audiences. “Brands want to better understand how to reach traditional audiences and attract new customers by accessing the Metaverse. We expect to see a lot of newcomers coming to Decentraland for this event.”
Reshaping the future of fashion with NFTs
While it’s becoming increasingly clear that NFTs are the future of fashion, it’s also important to point out that the field still needs to evolve both technically and spiritually.
For fashion brands entering the Metaverse, Casimiro explained that the main challenge is getting them to understand the infinite possibilities and scale of virtual environments. “Brands are coming in thinking they can do the same thing in the Metaverse as a traditional runway, but brands can be more creative. The creative process is becoming more collaborative.”
As far as traditional fashion designers go into Web 3, it can be challenging initially to translate real-world clothing into digital designs, but Simkhai shared that it was an interesting learning process. “As a designer, I spend a lot of time working on real-world garments and fabrics. For this project, a lot of time was spent on ‘virtual fittings’ to make sure the garments were consistent in real life .” This aspect also remains a concern for curators, as Menon explained that the role of UNXD is to capture the spirit of the designer and extend it into the Metaverse in the most meaningful way possible. “Especially for a luxury brand, there’s a lot of detail involved in doing this, and we work closely with designers to do it. It’s a very difficult approach, but it’s what luxury needs.”
Finally, technical challenges also remain to ensure that high-end digital wearables are properly displayed in a Metaverse setting. For example, Banon mentioned that one of the biggest challenges facing digital fashion right now is the resolution quality of some virtual worlds. “Many people don’t have enough resolution to render fashion items, which is what people want. However, as we’ve seen in all other aspects of information technology, when it comes to quality, everything goes over time and get better.”
Indeed, improvements are sure to follow as future fashions unfold. Megan Kaspar, managing director of Magnetic Capital and member of Red DAO — a fashion-focused decentralized autonomous organization — told Cointelegraph that industry standards and interoperability are now needed across all Metaverse environments to ensure better product quality . Fortunately, this challenge is being addressed.
For example, Marjorie Hernandez, founder of LUKSO — a blockchain infrastructure that provides standards for physical and digital goods — told Cointelegraph that the platform is planning to merge by creating a seamless and interoperable ecosystem with blockchain technology Physical and digital worlds.
“Both digital and physical apparel can be certified as NFTs on-chain, allowing proof of ownership, proof of authenticity and multiverse interoperability and utility. With our new standard and NFT 2.0, digital fashion apparel can even be Trends, between owners or to mark a special moment in the brand’s history to upgrade.”
Given this, Hernandez and other industry players believe that the future of fashion lies in interoperable and dematerialized NFTs. “With digitalization, the creative opportunities for fashion and even emerging designers are limitless,” she said. Schwartz added, “As brands find new ways to engage with their customers, the Metaverse will provide a platform for digital/physical events and Experimentation in commodity form provides an opportunity.”
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