For most of us, having an identity on social media is crucial. We use these channels to express our thoughts, ideas and opinions to the world. The metaverse can be considered an upgrade from our current digital lives to a hyper-interactive meta-existence that mirrors, better yet, enhances, our physical experiences.
By creating a hyper-interactive space where expression transcends into a virtual world, the metaverse opens doors for a more comprehensive representation of users. It means that people have a chance to widen their scope of expressions beyond the conventional ways. They can inherit ideas that have not found their way into the virtual space in Web2. Fashion has always been a medium to express yourself. However, the fusion of fashion with the Metaverse seeks to revolutionize how we use fashion to express ourselves.
We’ve All Done it: The Ubiquity of Digital Fashion
Virtual/digital fashion might seem far-fetched, but its presence in the industry is undisputed. Whether dressing up your character in Fortnite or giving a new look to your avatar on Snapchat, digital fashion has existed in various shapes and forms. The only difference is until now we didn’t have the fundamentals to consider it an extension of our fashion sensibilities.
With the Metaverse becoming a part of our daily discussions and notable fashion brands striking alliances with these platforms to galvanize users, we are gradually sinking our teeth into the various possibilities of digital fashion. Balenciaga’s association with Fortnite, Ralph Lauren’s collaboration with Roblox, or Lacoste’s partnership with Minecraft point to the fact that fashion houses see digital fashion as a lucrative market.
According to Deloitte, the metaverse fashion market may increase to a whopping $55 billion by 2030. As the pandemic drove industries online, fashion brands adopted online channels to sustain their business, and the Metaverse is a more immersive
Why are Fashion Brands Turning to the Metaverse?
The numbers speak for themselves, and we’ve seen luxury brands like D&G fetch $5.6 million for their NFTs. According to a recent report compiled by crypto analytics platform Dune, the fashion industry’s top NFT projects have surpassed brands like Time magazine, Budweiser and Pepsi by revenue across both the primary and secondary markets. Among them is Nike’s Rtfkt, which cashed in $185.3 million — its CloneX collection of avatars being the top performing NFT project.
The success of fashion brands is anchored by marketing of course, but there are other factors facilitating the shift from Web2 to Web3.
Gen-Zs are taking a liking to Digital Fashion and NFT-wearables
Robert Triefus, chief marketing officer at Gucci says, “There are more and more ‘second worlds’ where you can express yourself.” Now if you’re wondering who these people are — well, It’s the majority of gen Zs and a lot of millennials.
In 2020, Gen Zs spent an average of eight hours daily online. Discussions about the Metaverse, and Web3 are rampant on every Web2 media platform. So, they will be more likely to adapt into new digital cultures than their preceding generations. To top that off, according to studies, for Gen Zs, having a digital identity (often pseudonymous) is second to none. For them to decorate their avatars in stylish clothes is not really far-fetched, as they see it as an extension of their physical identity. We are also talking about an audience that values freedom of expression as well as sustainability, and NFT-wearables seem like the perfect missing link between the two.
Revenue Opportunities for Fashion Brands in the Metaverse
Fashion firms have a business reason to invest in virtual worlds, according to metaverse pioneers. It is true that due to technological limitations, a fully developed metaverse that mirrors and augments physical reality is not yet feasible. However, brands experimenting with concepts of the Metaverse such as extended reality, gaming, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), shows there are opportunities to be had. By 2024, it is anticipated that the global market for virtual goods, which was worth about $110 billion in 2021, will have grown to be worth at least $135 billion.
Metaverse and Fashion: Why Should You Get Involved?
The easiest answer to this question is, it is imminent. Haute couture is moving from IRL stores in Paris and Milan to the URL of the Metaverse. Fast fashion brands like Zara and Mango are exploring NFT wearables, and soon you will probably see your favorite home-grown clothing brands also entering this space. However, beyond the trend, the more important factor is that owning an NFT fashion garment can unlock more value than owning physical garments.
- Metaverse projects seek to blur the boundary between the physical and digital
With fashion finding its way into the metaverse, the expressive quality of tone is bound to appreciate, not only in value but also in utility. We must understand that digital fashion gives rise to innovations. Eccentric ideas, which are unrealistic for production, may find their way into the metaverse. People can use digital fashion to channel even their most extraordinary and surreal visions — conjure their own Xanadu.
- Digital Fashion is more customizable than physical fashion
Some businesses employ augmented reality (AR) to let users edit images and videos, and they also make digital skins to customize a user’s avatar. Digital fashion start-up XR Couture collaborates with indie 3D fashion designers to release digital wearables thus creating a platform for independent artists to showcase their talent whilst offering consumers unlimited style choices.
On online gaming sites like Roblox, gamers frequently update their avatars with fresh skins.
- Digital Fashion has the potential to generate more in Revenues
The potential for in-game clothing and accessories to generate substantial amounts of money is prevalent. On Roblox, Gucci offered a digital replica of their Dionysus bag for the equivalent of $6 which sold like hot cakes upon launch.
But that’s not even the fun part. The story reached its climax when the same bag eventually sparked bids of more than $4,000 when resellers came into the picture. We are talking about almost a thousand dollars jump from the actual Dionysus handbag price, which originally retailed for US$3,400 (S$4,511).
Other benefits of NFT wearables are:
- The ownership of NFTs are verifiable since they are recorded on blockchain, and, therefore, indisputable. Yes, you own your physical clothes too in a way, but unlike NFT wearables that ownership is not exactly provable.
- You will never wear out your NFT wearables. So, they will never depreciate in value. On the contrary, a rare piece may even appreciate in value to become a “modern heirloom” of sorts, and since NFTs have active secondary marketplaces unlike physical items, off-ramping will never be a hassle.
- Since developing a digital garment is way more cost-effective than physical garments, they are not only more sustainable, but also affordable. A physical Versace bag could be way beyond your budget. But you can definitely satiate your thirst for owning designer clothes and accessories by buying their digital items instead. The best part? Well, you can still click a picture in it and show it to real people, thanks to virtual fittings.
A New Hype among Influencers
Influencers are monumental in getting the word out; fashion brands have been collaborating with them for a while now. But promoting a digital clothing line could definitely churn out better value for their efforts. Here’s why:
- Traditionally, a brand has to sample and ship the product to the influencer in order for them to try on the outfit and shoot. Digital fashion offers a better approach by removing downtime, shipping costs and other paraphernalia in that samples can be sent and tried on in real-time. In short, digital wearables reduce the environmental footprint of shipping and speeds up the process.
- Digital fashion is also a lucrative option for influencers since there is no need to try every new product physically. After the influencer selects their preferred look, they can send their images and other details to a digital fashion house for virtual tailoring. After the products are successfully rendered, all one needs to do is post a picture. When it comes to inclusivity, digital clothing sets the bar way higher than physical clothes.
- Influencers can see an increase in engagement rates as this is new, so they might get more queries and likes. Not to mention they are wearing clothes that have completely different aesthetics than what physical clothes can ever represent. In short, the transcendental quality of digital clothes brings in more likes.
- Wearing digital versions of clothes reduces waste, allows influencers to optimize their time and business deals, and enables even brands with physical stores to speed up promotions. Since CGI has reached sufficient maturity, it also helps the consumer get a fair idea of the product creating a win-win situation for all parties.
Where Fabrics fail, Pixels take over: Be a Part of The Fashion Revolution With XR Couture
XR Couture is one of the world’s first international digital fashion collection platforms. The platform showcases a surrealistic collection of digital clothing, footwear, and accessories that, until now, could only reside in one’s imagination. Thanks to XR Couture’s advanced technology, one can digitally wear these clothes in AR/VR environments, metaverses, AR games, and photographs.
XR Couture anchored its place in the metaverse in 2022 when Decentraland invited them to participate in the Metaverse Fashion week held in March. The brand’s Web3 journey started with XR Couture Meta Drip, where it collaborates with a filtered pool of multidisciplinary Digital/3D fashion designers to bring NFT wearables that you can own and virtually wear in the metaverse.
Thomas J. Peters, an American writer on business management practices, published The Tom Peters seminar in the 90s, in which he wrote,
“I don’t know what it means to manage the human imagination, but I do know that imagination is the main source of value in the new economy. And I know we’d better figure out the answer to my question-quick.”
As revolutionary as the statement seemed in the 1990s, in 2022, we have the answer. Platforms like XR Couture are leading the paradigm shift from the frontline, making the source of value for couture evident in the new decentralized economy.