We Attended The First Metavers Fashion Week (And Everything Didn’t Go As Planned)

(ETX Daily Up) – In place, set, go! Yesterday, Thursday 24 March, the first Metavers Fashion Week was kicked off in Decentraland. A unique event, which both the fashion world and the public are waiting for. And of course we – so did we – wanted to try the experience and attend this virtual fashion week. Conferences, art galleries, fashion shows, special events, after parties… that’s what a Fashion Week looks like… in the other world.

Fashion has made the metaverse its new playground, going so far as to offer a first Fashion Week with no less than 70 brands, designers and artists associated with the event. And it is on Decentraland that it happens, far from the four fashion capitals we are used to exploring to discover the new collections of the greatest houses. So on D-Day, I was on the starting blocks, ready to jostle down to see the Tommy Hilfiger, Etro, or Dolce & Gabbana parades, and see what Anna Wintour’s virtual twin brother looks like. She must be there, right?

desert land

First step, the connection. Not glamorous, but essential. I am facing a first problem – and not the last – I was trying to connect to my phone. Impossible, Decentraland tells me. Metavers Fashion Week can only be accessed via a computer. Okay, let’s start over. So I connect to Decentraland through my laptop, not state-of-the-art, but strong enough to support a Fashion Week – I thought so, experience will show me that it is better to be perfectly equipped to the den of the metavers. But we’ll be back…

I don’t have a wallet or account, so I log in as a guest. Admittedly, it’s quite simple. I name and personalize my avatar. The locker room isn’t crazy, so I’m doing my best. It’s Fashion Week after all. I think a T-shirt, a skirt, black sneakers and an impressive necklace… A bit too casual for the event, so I decorate everything with a space bun. Slightly better, but it will do. I validate, and here I am propelled into the other world, to Genesis Plaza, in the heart of Decentraland. And there… Nothing. Nothing. A few avatars – much better dressed than me – but nothing at all. Endless space, yes, but the impression that you feel alone in the world, without doing anything.

It takes me a few minutes to master the controls, but I don’t see any events on the horizon. So I press the ‘X’ key, as recommended by the platform, to bring up the list of current events and go there. While Metavers Fashion Week should be in full swing, I realize the only upcoming events won’t be until late afternoon. Awesome ! So I decide to wander around and go to a place dedicated to Estée Lauder, partner of the event. I’m greeted by ultra-relaxing music, but again, nothing happens at all. I’m no longer alone, and I’m also discovering some rather surprising avatars flying over my head – I’m jealous, I want to fly too – but there’s nothing for it but to survey a huge, lightly landscaped plot. I must have missed something – somehow I hope… I don’t give up and teleport to where the parades will be held.

And there, impressive! Dozens of avatars. We kick each other, but no one yells – it’s a change from the real Fashion Week. The ringtone announcing the arrival of messages on the “chat” never stops ringing. And there I see messages scrolling through different languages ​​complimenting each other’s outfits. Not mine of course. The decor is also magnificent: a brand new circular stage surrounded by a space intended to welcome the guests (us!). You can’t sit – technically I mean – but it’s surprising. Still, the first parade will take place in a few hours… No problem, I’ll be back.

A real parallel world

Second day, second try, and this time it’s the right one. I don’t need to change my avatar again, I’m linked to the one selected yesterday. And there I go straight to the Luxury Fashion District. There I discover the shops of the largest fashion houses, including Guo Pei’s, which I like to visit. Inside, a grand decor. No – or few – possible interactions, but sublime and imposing dresses to discover. Finally something to do! I admire, I approach each model, then I come out and discover a red carpet – it’s Fashion Week! – but for once I can pose myself, and I do.

For me, the imposing structure I was in yesterday, always meant to host shows. I go for it! Barely entered, the projectors go crazy, the music kicks in – strong and ultra-rhythmic – and here’s the first model bouncing on stage. I realize that I am at the fashion show of the brand Etro, which presents a virtual collection full of peps, between everyday clothes and evening dresses. The show doesn’t last long and – it must be said – I miss a lot of silhouettes because my computer freezes regularly, but I am quite impressed with the quality of the scenography. I don’t feel like disconnecting at all… The metaverse is addictive.

I decide to change ‘place’ and teleport myself to another universe associated with this new kind of Fashion Week. I find myself between two buildings: one is dedicated to conferences, the other turns out to be a gallery where art and fashion become one. I choose the second, and I run – yes, I didn’t have to activate the ‘loop’ function because I spend my time running in Decentraland – to an animated figure representing Karl Lagerfeld. I get the offer to click on it; What I do. A new page opens, I arrive at the dematerialized platform on which I am offered to buy the NFT ‘Ikonik Karl’ for 77 euros. I let myself be tempted, but I soon see that it is (already) ‘sold out’. Magnifying glass ! I go back to Decentraland, meander around, find myself in a room spewing ultra-loud electro music, with no one on the horizon, and decide, after the fifty-third frozen screen, it’s time to disconnect.

Impressive, but (too) anticipating use

This first experience was enriching. There’s no denying that this virtual world is disturbingly real. Shops, a red carpet, a stage, a gallery, a museum, meeting rooms… We quickly get caught up in the game. All interrupted by a large number of messages, and thus the opportunity to establish many social relationships without leaving his couch. Really impressive, and above all addictive. We understand (now) that teenagers can spend hours there, not counting on the opportunity to decorate their avatar’s locker room and to indulge in a multitude of games alone or in the community.

Still, the metaverse also shows some of its limits. This Metavers Fashion Week was supposed to be in full swing, but without a certain event, not much happened. First negative point. The interactions offered (NFT purchases, trying on virtual clothes, teleportation) are not always clear; that requires a certain dexterity – and habit – not given to the greatest number. It is indeed a world made for gamers, or at least for an informed – and young – audience. Not to mention that it’s essential to have a powerful enough computer to be a part of the game. Suffice it to say that these points – for now – significantly limit access to these new worlds.

Ultimate observation and last but not least, it will take time for our digital twins to come to terms with all the new uses offered by the metaverse. My avatar wasn’t the most stylish, but it never occurred to me to spend money to make it more ‘trendy’. The same observation for events, shows and after parties accessible through the purchase of NFT. Only the statuette depicting Karl Lagerfeld could have brought me to action (purchase)… Suffice it to say that we will have to wait for these new habits to become firmly entrenched in our daily lives. For now, there’s no denying that Fashion Week – the real one – has nothing to envy to its virtual counterpart… on which Anna Wintour didn’t even put on a stiletto. We’ll talk about it in ten years…

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