Beyond serving the purpose of personalization in the virtual world, Metaverse Fashion is becoming an attractive new form of investment. Obviously, virtual fashion cannot replace physical fashion, which offers more sensory experiences. But we also cannot deny the novelty and potential that the metaverse brings.
When being in reality is not enough
As we all know, fashion is basically everyday wear to make you feel beautiful, confident, and express your personal style… Nothing will change if we don’t have one another virtual exist, where each person can appear to be a different version of themselves in the freest way.
The first people to get this experience is gamers. The development of game graphics brings about increasingly realistic characters, and being able to change their appearance at will is a way to attract players. Like childhood dollhouse games, the first virtual reality game The Sims allows players to create new lives with homes, daily activities, social relationships and, of course, even fashion.
In the form of a survival RPG like PUBG, the characters also have a variety of costume choices that are constantly updated. The game becomes more surprising and interesting when big brands shake hands with mobile games, not to mention the closet of Louis Vuitton in League of Legends and Balenciaga at Fortnite. It is worth mentioning that gamers are not only cheated on the game but also in real life when the two collections mentioned above also have real clothing versions.
But the key here is not just fashion on the game but a platform, a virtual world for us to freely transform and the game is not the only virtual market that fashion wants to target.
The idea of a virtual world with a parallel society is not new when it has appeared in cinema through a number of famous films such as The Matrix, Tron Legacy, Ready Player One, etc. possible when the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, forcing humanity to find a solution so that people could communicate face-to-face in a non-physical way. Mark Zuckerberg introduced the idea of the virtual world Metaverse at the end of 2021, in which the personalization of appearance and metaverse fashion was highlighted by Mark as a promise of its potential power to the future fashion.
How does Metaverse Fashion “WORK”?
Let’s first talk about NFT (Non-Fungible Token, meaning a non-fungible digital asset, displayed on a blockchain). Fashionable NFTs can be jpeg, png, mov or 3D file formats with limited release, circulation in a given virtual market, and payment in the virtual currency used in that market.
The pioneer of this trend is none other than Gucci. To celebrate the 100th anniversary, Gucci not only released a collaboration with Balenciaga, a Hollywood show, but also released fashion items for the first time in a short film format called Aria. Unexpectedly, that 4-minute clip was auctioned for a huge amount of $ 25,000 and only accepted payment in virtual currency Ethereum.
And then the virtual Fashion Week was born, which promises to be an NFT “wonderland” of brands. In March 2021, the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Association linked up with the French high-end digital fashion exchange Arianee to bring digital experiences to all guests at fashion weeks in Paris. The first is Menswear Spring-Summer 2022 and Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2021. Jonathan Simkhai is the first brand to launch a virtual fashion show at Metaverse Fashion Week developed by Everyrealm and Blueberry Entertainment, taking place at the same time as New York Fashion Week last. NFTs are sold at OpenSea and only accept payments in virtual currencies Ethereum, Solana, USD Coin and DAI.
Present not long after, but Decentraland Fashion Week has been recognized as the first Metaverse Fashion Week bringing together many brands and fashion events in many days. Organized in the virtual world of Decentraland to consume MANA coins, virtual fashion week has big brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Dundas, Estée Lauder… However, there are still disadvantages, that is, few people use it, besides that the graphics are not excellent, there are also technology errors… Perhaps the organizers themselves have foreseen these difficulties. As Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, head of Metaverse Fashion Week, said: “It’s only just begun. We need to take it one step at a time.”
New Method of Access to Customers, New Form of Money
September 2021 is a historic milestone in virtual fashion with the release of 777 NFT Karl Lagerfeld selling for 77 Euros each and selling out in just 33.77 seconds at The Materialized virtual market. This phenomenon shows two points: Either the buyers have the “FOMO” sign (Fear of missing out), or they see the investment potential of this new fashion. For brands, this is both an opportunity to reach more customers and an opportunity to increase sales.
As a leader in the movement to explore the virtual land, Gucci continuously launches activities for the field of digital fashion. Having just purchased virtual real estate at Sandbox to build the Metaverse Fashion world, the company continues to launch the SuperGucci limited NFT collection, and collaborates with 10KTF to produce the huge project “Gucci Grail”. It can be seen that both Gucci and Creative Director Alessandro Michele have a trendy vision when seeing the potential of virtual fashion in particular as well as the Crypto world in general and are investing quite thoroughly.
Dolce & Gabbana is no less competitive. Collaborating with the floor UNXD, the company launched the first NFT collection called “Genesi” including three high-end fashion lines for men, women and jewelry. NFT buyers will receive the real version for free. Prominent among them is the Dress from a Dream dress priced at $ 500,000 (equivalent to 164,402 Ethereum). With this NFT collection, Dolce & Gabbana is not targeting the young audience or the crypto game market, but its loyal rich customers.
The NFT playground is increasingly bustling when welcoming more big names in the luxury goods industry: Louis Vuitton and Burberry release NFT about games. Kenzo launched a limited 100 NFT BST right after the brand introduced NIGO’s launch BST. Tiffany & Co. turns the NFT Cyptopunk icon #3167 into a real piece of jewelry made of rose gold and precious stones. Japan’s SoftBank bank heavily spends $150 million on Korean metaverse fashion platform Zepeto, which has collaborated with major brands such as Gucci, Dior and Ralph Lauren.
Virtual currency is the only thing used to pay for NFTs and each virtual market has its own currency. The currency volatility of these Coins increases or decreases depending on the amount of real money being poured into that market. As the value of a coin increases, so does the value of an NFT in that market, making NFT ownership a form of investment.
Some startups in the virtual fashion world can be mentioned with initial success. Overpriced has released a real hoodie with a scannable code that sells for $26,000 on BlockParty. RTFKT, which was born in 2019, only specializes in selling virtual sneakers, has also called for an investment of up to 8 million USD in the latest funding round. Fabricant sold the virtual dress “Iridescence” for $9,500 through Portion. It can be said that the fashion industry found a new market but at the same time found new competitors.
Unlike physical fashion, NFTs do not require fabric and labor to create. They sound like green fashion, but they rely on basic cryptocurrencies that consume a lot of energy and emit significant amounts of CO2. For example, the amount of electricity just to operate Bitcoin is classified in the same group of countries that consume the most electricity in the world, not to mention that each Bitcoin transaction via Visa costs 148.63kWh, equivalent to hundreds of thousands of transactions via smart cards (according to Statista) and emits 1,212.38kg of CO2 (Digiconomist data).
Some NFTs have potential for copyright infringement, for example, the 3D Baby Birkin video by artists Mason Rothchild and Eric Ramirez sold at auction for $23,500 at Basic.Space. Overwhelmed with victory, Mason continued with the NFT series “MetaBirkins” featuring colorful fur Birkin bags. Hermès immediately sued the NFT owner for copyright infringement. The French fashion house believes that Mason deliberately imitated the classic Birkin bag and called his work “MetaBirkins” to get around. Although the wave of virtual fashion has only just begun, there is already a case study for NFT creators as well as virtual players to study to avoid the risk of losing money.
Metaverse Fashion – End
Is joining the metaverse a fad in fashion? Probably not, because the fashion industry has also begun to make more strategic moves besides releasing NFTs (CFDA is working with Sandbox and Polygon Studio to produce a training program on Metaverse for US page), in order to fill the gap between fashion and the virtual currency world, as well as creative thinking in the digital era.
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