The concept of Metaverse, especially in the fashion world, became particularly popular during the Pandemic, when people could not go out and shop. But what is the Metaverse? “A three-dimensional space within which individuals can move, share and interact through personalised avatars”.
What can we expect in the future from this?
Balenciaga, Gucci, Moncler, Ray-Ban and Nike are just some of the fashion brands that have given in to the charms of the Metaverse. The fashion & luxury world sees great opportunities to collaborate with consumers in the Metaverse, a collective and “persistent” virtual reality that some experts believe will radically transform the way people shop.
Morgan Stanley’s forecasts show that the Metaverse and NFT will make up 10% of the luxury goods market by 2030, with a profit opportunity of ?50 billion, confirming the new trend that sees consumers increasingly involved in entertainment that combines digital experience-gaming-purchasing. The shopping experience can be personalised, offering the customer the possibility to interact with their favourite designer or physically attend fashion shows.
The growth rate of the Metaverse in the fashion world motivates the emergence of new specialised professions. Vogue India, for example, points to a new phenomenon: the emergence of agencies that enable them to digitise collections, to prepare everything needed to debut in the Metaverse.
How could the Metaverse revolutionise the fashion industry?
Fashion has always been a spokesperson for the social changes taking place and the role of the fashion designer is to present the market with the new contents and the transformations taking place, using an aesthetic language, made up of shapes and materials and now also of “immaterial” goods, that go straight to people’s emotional sphere.
For some brands in the fashion world, the Metaverse represents more than just a marketing opportunity, it is a greater possibility to express their creativity fully and without limits, and above all a good opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of fashion.
The development of these technologies, in fact, could allow the production of digital fashion shows, where guests feel like they are attending in person, and offer personal shopping appointments where customers meet remotely with the designer to ‘wear’ the latest collections without getting on a plane.
For example, Fashion Week takes place in several cities around the world, twice a year, with a significant environmental impact, as demonstrated by a 2020 Research Project, which measured the carbon emissions of the journey undertaken by shoppers and designers to attend just the four major fashion weeks (New York, London, Paris and Milan). The study found that total emissions amounted to 241,000 tonnes of CO2e, equivalent to 51,000 cars on the road or lighting the Eiffel Tower for 3,060 years.
What kind of advantages can fashion brands seize from the metaverse?
The Metaverse, in the fashion world, is an excellent opportunity to translate one’s value system into an even more universal form: this interconnected reality offers the possibility of making the brand known, of transmitting the values, principles and above all the products of a brand to an enormous and almost unlimited universe, giving the brand a contemporary and technological mood.This new reality is also a chance to connect with the future luxury audience, Generation Z, which has a sectoral language that traditional fashion brands struggle to understand.
Another advantage is the possibility of becoming an open, accessible and democratic space, where anyone can express their creativity. Even young designers could make their work known, without having to enter the armoured calendars of the official Fashion Weeks. This is the case of the designer who won the British Fashion Award for Metaverse Design, cSapphire, who as well as creating personalised outfits for the platform’s players, has a store that has sold over 2.5 million items, making only digital clothes.
Is gaming the future of fashion?
What is now closest to the Metaverse are gaming platforms, such as Fortnite. An example of this is the collaboration between Balenciaga and Fortnite, which has made it possible to buy clothes inspired by various Balenciaga designs, within the game. Most of these joint ventures offer buyers the chance to get their hands on a limited edition physical garment, such as the one featured in the game.
The combination of the video game and fashion industries offers unlimited opportunities for creativity that will go beyond the physical constraints of the fashion industry, avatars being of any shape you wish.
Roblox is another platform where several maisons have experimented their entry into this interconnected future. Consumers can create their own virtual user (customising their avatar in terms of style and accessories), socialise with other users and buy goods and products with the platform’s currency. Many brands, such as Louis Vuitton, have used these spaces to find new forms of promotion. Louis Vuitton collaborated with Riot Games and created original skins for League of Legends and even created a fashion collection from the game.?
Gucci launched a digital version of its Dyonisus bag on Roblox, which was made available on the platform for 48 hours in limited quantities. The result was explosive: the price of the bag far exceeded the initial price, reaching 350 thousand Roblux, translated into 4 thousand dollars.
On the same platform, Stella McCartney sold sunglasses, duvets and tote bags, while Vans created a skatepark, and a virtual shop in which to buy and customise their trainers. Valentino and Marc Jacobs customised Animal Crossing wardrobes.
Maison Dior has also partnered with the Ready Player Me platform to work on the launch of an interactive experience that its customers can only enjoy in the metaverse: each user can create their own digital avatar and bring it to life in brand-inspired environments, buy Dior fragrances and connect to video games and apps integrated into the platform.
How will fashion be perceived in the Metaverse?
United Colors of Benetton completely revolutionised its Corso Vittorio Emanuele shop during Milan Fashion Week, adapting it to the new store in the Metaverse that will open at the same time with the same experiential look and feel. The metaverse signifies a new generation of virtual reality, in which new technologies will make online interaction increasingly similar to the real thing. Visitors will not buy clothes but participate in gaming experiences that will allow them to accumulate QR codes to make purchases in the physical store. A choice that creates a further touchpoint with the consumer in the brand’s omnichannel strategy.
From the 24th to the 27th of March, the first Metaverse Fashion Week will take place through “Decentraland”. Participation in the fashion week is free of charge and does not require an invitation. During the days of the event, you will be able to take part in shows, presentations, concerts and after parties organised by the participating brands, as well as buy special outfits for your avatar and real items with Mana cryptocurrency.
Digital fashion is not an alternative to real fashion, but another face of it. The Metaverse is opening up endless possibilities for brands, who are aware that they have to interact with consumers in both virtual and physical reality, building a single reality.