Fashion and Metaverse
Is the fashion industry moving towards the metaverse? What exactly is the metaverse? No one is entirely sure yet, because no one knows exactly how it will turn out. “What we’re really talking about is the future of the Internet,” says Cathy Hackl, the CEO (and Chief Metaverse Officer) of the consulting firm Futures Intelligence Group, often referred to among cohorts as the “godmother of the metaverse.”
The metaverse is opening up endless possibilities for designers, brands, retail and consumers, reshaping reality as we know it towards a future defined by new social relationships and sensory experiences. Due to the pandemic, the virtual world has firmly established itself within the fashion industry, and thanks to digital showrooms, consumers can now interact virtually with any garment and are able to see, touch and experience products as if they were in front of them.
The metaverse can be understood as two major, separate factions: the combination of physical and digital, where clothing can either be worn with augmented or virtual reality, as well as being fully digital, where items are sold directly to avatars.
For designers and brands, learning to blend the real with the unreal will soon become a necessary skill as we transition into the future; the digital fashion revolution is really here, and 2021 is only the beginning. While luxury brands such as Balenciaga have led the way so far, it is only a matter of time before everyone – from the large haute-couture fashion houses to small emerging designers – dip their toes into the vast expanse of the metaverse. What will happen when they do?
Gucci has made its official entry into the metaverse with “Gucci-Vault”, purchasing a virtual plot of land on The Sandbox, a virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain. The purchase allows Gucci to create a virtual concept store and shopping experience within the metaverse with an eye on Gen Z, which is the most active demographic on the ever-expanding metaverse.
From March 24-27, the decentralized blockchain-based Ethereum platform will host a full-fledged Metaverse Fashion Week, the first fashion event in the metaverse dedicated entirely to clothing: four days of full digital immersion with shoppable shows and collections, featuring pop-up stores, events, concerts and after parties. Confirmed brands include Dolce&Gabbana, Etro, Tommy Hilfiger, Dundas, Cavalli, Nicholas Kirkwood and Elie Saab.