It’s no secret that the fashion industry has started exploring the crypto-verse, with brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Philipp Plein and Tiffany & Co. finding their way down the Metaverse catwalk. Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week heralded a new fashion wave, while Philipp Plein brought the Metaverse and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) straight to his London store. Innovative technology combined with the ever-changing world of fashion was inevitable, but there’s always room for more. From its inception, the promise of the Metaverse convinced people to pay millions for land in virtual worlds, so why not fashion?
However, as many know, the fashion industry remains one of the whole industries in the world. With Chanel’s bag quota or buying criteria and long waiting lists to get a Hermès Birkin or Kelly, much of the influence in the fashion industry comes from exclusivity, price, outfits and, in many cases, whom you know. And as many fashion enthusiasts understand, there’s nothing quite like opening the box of a long-coveted piece and holding, wearing and loving it for the first time. The idea of luxury is a mix of exclusivity and passion. Why should fashion be any different in the Metaverse?
Keep and grow traditions
Although well-known brands value their traditions, they have to evolve. However, attracting a new user base and maintaining existing ones is not easy. To engage customers and enthusiasts with the brand, Indrė Viltrakytė, a fashion entrepreneur and founder of Web3 The Rebels, suggested “co-developing digital wearable devices with members of their community and sharing commercial rights/revenues or in this Fall.
Viltrakytė told Cointelegraph that digital collectables could help show fashion enthusiasts’ interest in a brand. These would not only be available to influencers or the lucky ones who get PR packages for their large following and interest in a brand; there could be something for everyone.
For example, Maison Margiela could offer a certain number of digital wearable devices by purchasing a pair of Bianchetto Tabi boots. The boots can be worn in the Metaverse and real life for the die-hard fans who don’t necessarily have a following them.
Tiffany & Co. has already done something similar with its CryptoPunk NFT Collection NFTiff, a collection of CryptoPunk-inspired NFTs “exclusive to CryptoPunk holders”. For 30 Ether (ETH), CryptoPunk holders can secure a physical version of their favourite and probably most expensive NFT to use as a status symbol. This is something that would not only be reserved for those with influence and could bring online the new age of the little blue Tiffany box, an iconic emblem of the brand.
Digital fashion items are nonfungible
NFTs, according to the Ethereum Foundation, are “tokens that we can use to represent ownership of unique items.” They cannot be changed or deleted once minted, and “digital assets never expire,” Viltrakyt said. Unfortunately, many assets in the fashion industry, like the Birkin, “outperformed the S&P 500 for 35 years.” ” According to Finty, they can be stolen, destroyed, or worn out without proper care. This is where digital assets stand out because, “like some ultra-exclusive, intangible experiences available today, not everything expensive needs to be “touched” to have value,” Viltrakyt noted. Also, outside of collectors and custodians, it’s almost impossible for enthusiasts to get their hands on an archival piece, especially when preservation might be an issue.
Sometimes brands exhibit their archives in cities like Paris or Milan for a limited time, but in many cases, it is a private matter owned by individuals. However, one-way brands can leverage this exclusivity of a depreciated asset is through NFTs and blockchain-based NFT museums.
Viltrakytė said: “When an NFT gives you direct access to the archives of Chanel or the creative director of Hermès, it signifies the special status that you can have or even improve over time.” The NFT never expires, and there will always be a way to create a luxurious and exclusive experience. Another possibility, he suggested, is to create something like a fashion link where, after some time, the NFT could be exchanged for a luxury item. “For example, if you’re a Hermès customer and you want to buy your daughter a certificate and redeem it for a unique bag on her 18th birthday; you can easily do that as an NFT,” he said, adding, “Paper certificates will be burned; servers crash and lose data; But the blockchain doesn’t lie, and a nonfungible token like this would be 100 times more fluid, verifiable, and durable than any formal document.
Embrace e-commerce and the technology
As exciting as it is to go into the store and try it on, to feel, to walk around and experience the store and its clothes, e-commerce is already on its way to becoming the primary way of shopping. The Metaverse can help make it as luxe and hip as travelling to Paris to shop for a beloved Kelly. A new and creative approach is needed because, as Viltrakytė said, “Now, after COVID-19, 99.99% of brands are selling online, including Hermès.” Brands need to accept what technology can do for their image and clients. Viltrakytė believes that the industry is in the experimentation phase of Web3 and Virtual Reality to see how they impact the fashion industry as “we don’t have any solutions to make a digital garment ‘fit’ can be made “good enough” have depth sensors in the front camera of our smartphones and AR technology that can “fit” any item perfectly to any person, this will be the real dawn of the era of digital wearable devices.
According to Vogue Business, Photogenics, a Los Angeles modelling agency, has already experimented with this technology, “creating avatars by 3D scanning models’ faces while rendering their bodies from scratch.” Models and their avatars are available in the Metaverse as virtual models, adapted to the model’s reality or creative preference. Handheld digital devices can also define who we are online. An identity is just as important there as in real life. In fashion, people use details to express themselves, adding embroidery to pieces and customising them to reflect their personalities.
This concept is going to be as vital online because it is offline, as Viltrakytė suggested:
“Virtual presence can be an extension of one’s physical self and personality, or it can be something completely different than what a person is in real life. I think we’re going to see a mix of these two concepts. The simple fact is that the technology isn’t there yet. But as the fashion industry has repeatedly shown, “Our creativity shows how we can use all this potential in the fashion industry.“
“Virtual presence can be an extension of one’s physical self and personality, or it can be something completely different than what a person is in real life. I think we’re going to see a mix of these two concepts. The simple fact is that the technology isn’t there yet. But as the fashion industry has repeatedly shown, “Our creativity shows how we can use all this potential in the fashion industry.”