Metaverse Fashion Week: Fashion settles in the Metaverse from March 24 to 28, 2022
After a tumultuous and hectic fashion month with the return of the four major fashion capitals to a physical catwalk, a new form of Fashion Week 2.0 is making its grand entrance.
Following the Global Fashion Weeks that took place this month in New York, London, Milan and Paris, MVFW will host a series of events, presentations and installations to complement the shows. An official prestigious calendar featuring Paco Rabanne, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Tommy Hilfiger, Dundas, Cavalli and Elie Saab have joined the lineup for the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week hosted by Decentraland from March 24 to March 28.
If you still haven’t heard of the Metaverse or NFTs, it’s time to dig deeper. This phenomenon, which has been going viral for a while, is becoming the new trend in the fashion industry. The announcement of this “Metaverse Fashion Week” – a universe in which users can participate through a combination of technological advances, including virtual reality, augmented reality and video – stems from the desire to reach a wider audience, mainly composed of Gen Z, future (and probably already current) large consumers of new trends.
The first MVFW is a major step forward in the fashion industry’s relationship with the metaverse. The four-day event will focus on digital fashion collections performed daily on virtual catwalks and shopping experiences in Decentraland, a metaverse platform. Participating brands will primarily showcase new collections or new interpretations of existing pieces to a global audience, with ongoing events across all time zones. This is to cater to younger, digital native viewers. Physical brands join digital-first entities, including The Manufacturer, Auroboros and DressX, who will also host runway shows and immersive spaces.
Many of the participating fashion houses have experimented with digital products in the past: In October, Dolce & Gabbana sold a series of NFTs for about $6 million, created in partnership with luxury market Unxd, which also partners with Decentraland to curate mainstream fashion. Dundas also began digitizing the looks and teamed up with DressX to sell a virtual version of the Super Bowl costume Mary J Blige wore as the NFT during the Super Bowl. The Metaverse was also present during Physical Fashion Month, with some brands like Altuzarra and Roksanda sharing NFTs to the beat of the shows. Some, including Maisie Wilen, have introduced AR to complement physical events and others, such as Jonathan Simkhai, show virtual collections alongside physical appointments. Decentraland’s fashion week is turning the tide, with digital experiences taking precedence over physical links. This season, Tommy Hilfiger is one of the brands present at MVFW, but absent from a traditional fashion capital.
To witness the track events being held live in addition to the facilities and shops, everyone can watch and explore as a guest. Visitors can also log in with a digital wallet to buy and carry virtual items in real time. They can receive special attendance benefits, such as giveaways or other proof of attendance, much like Altuzarra and Markarian gave away NFTs to their guests during Fashion Week. Decentraland broadcasts via a Twitch livestream. An upcoming events page allows you to set calendar reminders. Many traditional brands are still looking to translate existing brand aesthetics into a suitable and interesting virtual world, which still has some limitations in terms of aesthetics and technology, not to mention gravity, scale or time. For example, the size of the models is twice as large as life size, giving viewers a view that would be impossible during a physical show.
In their constant quest for revenue growth, the metaverse is a space that also allows brands to offer large volumes of products and possibly do so without the risk of dilution due to market saturation. In other words, this virtual world makes it possible to go beyond the boundaries of the physical world. Given consumer interest in the various seasonal fashion weeks – which are slowly returning to full effect after the pandemic – and brands’ desire to promote themselves and their offerings to consumers in a medium where consumers are actively involved (as evidenced by the speed with brands searching for trademark registrations and in some cases dedicating entire departments to speeding up their metaverse activities), Decentraland may not be the only brand looking to host a week of metaverse fashion and its associated fashion shows. Fashion week’s respective organizers – from the Council of Fashion Designers of America to the French Federation of Fashion – and the brands, are sure to add the virtual to their physical events soon.