What will the future of fashion be like after the first edition of Metaverso Fashion Week? To delve into the benefits and drawbacks of a virtualized environment, first of all, we must know how we begin to welcome these terms. When the red social Facebook changed its name to ‘Meta’, few imagined that after that milestone some transcendental events would be unleashed that would mark a before and after in the fashion industry. Since the pandemic broke into our lives, the use of new communication channels willing to unseat those ruled by more conventional codes.
And I place special emphasis on ‘encouraging use’ because they exist, they already existed beforehand. It was in the year 2019 when Moschino collaborated with The Sims, launching its first NFT –Non-Fungible Token, for those who still do not know its meaning – and selling it for approximately 10 thousand dollars. In the year 2020, everything accelerated. We enter a heavily digitized universe in which the presentations of the collections and the services launched by the firms belonging to this industry began to be presented to the world in a completely virtual way. Were we prepared, however, for the beginning of an even more uncertain era in the sector?
How will the metaverse affect the fashion industry?
According to Forbes, Morgan Stanley claims that the metaverso it could help luxury brands expand their market more than 10% by 2030, which would equate to an additional $50 billion in revenue. Even so, is it possible that the interest in these concepts diminishes at the same speed with which it arose? It’s possible. We are faced with an extremely difficult concept for older generations to understand. Even for a servant, finding himself in a kind of transition between generation Z – a group that, supposedly, empathizes more easily with these contents because they carry with them the label of digital native– and millennials.
I must admit that I have always felt a special devotion for technology and its influence on the fashion sector. When I decided to project –some years ago– a catwalk for a company with a classic style such as Ralph Lauren, made by means of immersive technology, the same company revealed to be in the process of experimentation. Two years later, Ralph Lauren is considered one of the first companies to sell products for avatars in Robloxa virtual platform with more than 43 million daily users, according to the company itself.
However, there are still firms that currently seem to be taking firm steps towards a commitment that ensures – even – a more sustainable industry, since with a digital article it is not necessary to purchase raw materials or spend resources to distribute the products. , it seems that even the connoisseurs of the sector are expectant before the demand of the non-tangible tokens and the metaverse. Vogue Mexico and Latin America talks with the Mexican designer Alfredo Martínez about the vision of the creative around the influence of digital on the future of fashion weeks.
Martínez He assures that something curious happens in the presentation of his collections. ‘In my case it has gone very well when these have been face-to-face, on the other hand, when they have been carried out digitally, something happens and they fail to reach the next level.’ Likewise, he points out that the appearance of the firm in Vogue.com after the celebration of the last edition of Mexico Fashion Week caused data to be reached a priori unthinkable. However, he confesses that a season before, when they produced a fully digital paradealmost no one – except the lovers of the trends– understood the collection.
‘People love to live the experience around the parade. It’s what’s working for us. When it’s digital, the public doesn’t experience it the same’. Even so, the Mexican admits that the digitization yes, it has helped the firm in terms of sales and considers that the ideal future must go through finding the perfect balance between virtuality and the face-to-face. Likewise, he affirms that in any video produced around the collections –unlike the catwalk– the public tends to have access to more information. It is possible to observe details that in physics not everyone is able to visualize.
How was the first Metaverse Fashion Week?
Do you navigate in that balance you speak of Alfredo Martinez the future of fashion weeks? On March 24, the Metaverso Fashion Weeka first delivery carried out by the Decentraland platform. Firms such as Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger and Etro were present at a fully immersive experience. What has been observed in this virtual space throughout the conference? First of all, the Fashion District of the metaverso of Decentraland, an area in which neighborhoods have been designed in which to visit parades and pop-ups. Second, the Luxury Fashion District. A recreation of Avenue Montaigne in Paris where luxury brands can be consumed. Meanwhile, on Rarible Street, inspired by the urban streets of New York, pop-ups from specialized brands such as Placebo Digital Fashion House or The Fabricant are installed.
The Community Precinct has also been promoted, a space to play and watch musical performances in which digital parades on the rooftop. Likewise, art lovers will be able to be satisfied with the art gallery Cash Labs Gallery in which, for example, digital models of Karl Lagerfeld are witnessed in collaboration with the digital fashion marketplace The Dematerialized. Or Fashion Eden, a temporary showroom where you can find Haute Couture fashion creations and pieces of art in NFT.
On the other hand, certain users will dive into permanent Flagship Stores and the Threedium mall. In addition, conferences and talks -led by experts in digital fashion, NFTs, Web3 and metaverso such as the photographer and creative Nick Knight or the designer Alexandre de Betak– will be promoted with the aim of investigating in greater depth a concept that is still unattainable for many.
It was the year 2007 when firms such as Armani or Calvin Klein had their first immersion with digital fashion in Second Life. In 2012, Diesel was the fashion house that started selling in The Sims. In 2019, instead, Louis Vuitton took it upon himself to develop a method to change the appearance of League of Legends players and, in 2021, Dolce & Gabbana released the first Haute Couture collection in collaboration with the UNXD platform, digital assets that were sold for 6 million dollars at auction. Meanwhile, Balenciaga created Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a video game created by the Unreal Engine, and Gucci also got on board creating a virtual garden for Roblox. And so it has been (and continues to be) with numerous companies seeking to carve out their own path in the virtual universe.
What is the future of the metaverse in the fashion industry?
Are they perhaps the metaverse platforms What Fornite or Zepeto the formula for success in bringing luxury brands closer to younger generations that they cannot afford in a physical world? In them, in addition, the designers have greater creative freedom, since they have no limit. They are offered the possibility of test products to collect opinions and then make them tangible with greater security. However, it will be necessary to leave behind the experimental phase in which we find ourselves today, in order to be able to enjoy the real benefits offered by the metaverso.
There are pending issues that must be resolved in order to achieve the perfect balance – if it is possible – between real life and digital life. Will users be able to use the online fashion on different platforms at the same time? This is one of the most talked about questions around this topic, since it may become crucial for an assured victory of the metaverso within the industry. It will also be necessary to face the active costs when preparing 3D products of high quality to guarantee that the consumer invests in distinguished products and services.
As Mark Zuckerberg advanced when he was presenting Meta, in the metaverso we can be whoever we want or do anything that is within the reach of our imagination and that is just the promise of virtualized universe. As observed in Metaverso Fashion Weekis a place where there are no dress codes. The same woman can be dressed by Ralph Lauren and, seconds later, by Gucci or Versace. Will we stop being ourselves as a consequence? What price are we willing to pay to live immersive experiences of this caliber?