How is the Metaverse Revolutionizing the Fashion Industry?
The pandemic, disrupted. The fashion industry was interrupted. People started living and looking inward. Pajamas and loungewear defined the ready-to-wear arena. With that came a hyped-up use of the internet. People flocked to the cyber-world to unleash their need for community, entertainment, and creativity. As a result, the gaming industry took center stage. Gamers would spend an average of eight hours per day online. Luxury brands paid attention and jumped onto the cyber bandwagon and created digital fashion. Fully immersing themselves in digitalizing their creations.
The metaverse became fashion’s 2021 buzzword and brands raced to claim their position in the fast-paced virtual world. The “meta-world” is the Web’s evolution of “social-connection” through a three-dimensional portal. It is where people from all over the world connect in virtual reality. A virtual world that allows us to share spaces, experiences, play and shop.
Immaterial yet real, a parallel existence to our physical certainty, both freaky and fascinating.
The fusion of technology and fashion that came to be within the gaming community. Initiated by action packed games like Fortnite and Minecraft. They created ‘skins’ worn by their online avatars. Gamers have access to these skins through which they define their gaming persona. Balenciaga was one of the first luxury brands to collaborate with gaming platforms in the creation of Balenciaga skins. The power fashion house Gucci also jumped into the metaverse by collaborating with Roblox creating the Gucci’s Garden Archetypes. Also bringing to life a Gucci Tennis styled avatar in the game Tennis Clash. Luis Vuitton and Burberry are similarly tempting younger consumers by entering the virtual spheres. While Nike recently bought RTKF Studio, a design house that designs NFT collectable sneakers solely for digital closets and Zara signed with a South Korea-based fashion house Ader Error to announce its AZ Collection in the metaverse.
Why are people interested in clothes they cannot wear?
Roei Derhi founder of Placebo Fashion, a digital fashion house, explains “the best part of digital fashion is that there is an escapism effect in it. Digital fashion is bigger than reality and makes people not only wear clothes, they wear fantasies.”
This new platform allows for innovation and limitless creativity. With the fashion industry’s need to keep in vogue; it is through digital outlets that designers are re-writing the industry’s rule book, one look at a time. Identifying the meta-virtual space as a new realm to extend their inspirations and influences. They style, the self-inspired avatars by using digital fashionable trends to flaunt their personal flairs and express individuality. This fusion allows for creative expressions in ways that are not possible in our three-dimensional world.
Sustainable fashion is another driving force that is motivating brands into the digital world. The fashion industry causes a great amount of pollution and waste. Propelling many companies to move toward more environmentally conscious means of manufacturing. Consumers also shying away from fast fashion are moving toward a more environmentally responsible way of shopping, resonating with Vivienne Westwoods motto, “Buy Less. Choose Well. Make it Last.”
H&M is a great example of the marriage of innovation, inclusion, and awareness. The Swedish fashion house collaborated with DressX, a digital virtual clothing platform, to launch a virtual fashion collection. It has been presented as a competition on its webstore “where customers can submit a fun and innovative name for one of the three looks in the range with a chance of winning a look which will then be digitally fitted to them.” Their aim is to make virtual fashion more accessible to customers, also contributing to their “values of being an inclusive retailer as the looks fit all bodies no matter size, shape and gender.”
Additionally, the H&M Foundation created a virtual fashion collection, The Billion Dollar Collection, with a tagline “designed to make the planet last.” It’s intended to raise the necessary funds to revolutionize the fashion world by seeking innovation through sustainability. Each garment in the collection has a price tag that estimates the financial support each start up needs to scale their environmentally conscious mode of production, what they call “their disruptive innovations.”
Fashion houses are betting on the metaverse and the digital fashion platform as the future of e-commerce. Future generations will embrace it, since it allows for limitless creativity, fantasy, sustainability, and inclusion.