Fashion in the Metaverse: Up Next in the Digital World

Image Source: New York Times

Being the avant-garde industry it is, fashion has been ready since the very beginning to leave an impact on the metaverse as we discover and explore the next frontier of the digital world. But to understand how fashion has been revolutionizing this new concept, it’s crucial to understand what the “metaverse” really is.

Think of the metaverse as a 3D version of the internet. It’s a digital place parallel to the physical world, where people can shop, socialize and do anything else they can do in real life. To put it simply, the metaverse is a place where digital, physical and augmented realities converge. Similarly, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital items such as art and music that have information regarding their ownership stored in a blockchain; it’s like a one-of-a-kind trading card. Although it’s still a work in progress, many are diving into it with high expectations and interest.

Fashion brands are hopping on the metaverse trend one after another. In August 2021, Burberry sold their first NFT character, “Sharky B,” for $300 each; the 750 sharks sporting the brand’s monogram sold out in 30 seconds.

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Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton created a mobile game, “Louis,” that allowed players to discover the world while looking for 30 hidden NFTs.

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In September 2021, Balenciaga partnered with Fortnite to create skins for game avatars alongside pickaxes, gliders and backpacks inspired by iconic Balenciaga products.

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In January 2022, Balmain and Mattel collaborated on a collection of virtual Barbies and Kens wearing Balmain’s designs, with the physical clothes being sold on their website.

Image Source: New York Times

Beginning February 2022, Gucci released “SUPERGUCCI,” a collection of NFTs with characters inspired by virtual artists dressed in Gucci prints.

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The future of fashion in the metaverse seems to be bright, but these successes do not come without controversies. In December 2021, artist Mason Rothschild sold 100 NFTs inspired by the iconic Birkin bag for $3000 each. Although these items claim to have no affiliation with Hermès, Rothschild received a cease-and-desist order from the brand; he, however, chose not to comply and, in an open letter, stated that his NFTs are artworks protected by the First Amendment. “It should not be my job to educate you on advancements in the world and the culture of art,” he writes. “There is a moving tide of innovation and evolution, and it is your role as a fashion powerhouse to amplify young creatives and artists rather than stomp them out.”

Image Source: Art Net

Nevertheless, the metaverse is a highly anticipated concept that is becoming closer and closer to reality with every passing day, and fashion is bound to play a crucial role in its development. Designers are experimenting with ways to mesh their designs together with NFTs and digital concepts, and events such as the Metaverse Fashion Week show that there is more to the metaverse than video games and PNGs of monkeys. When the digital world becomes a reality, you’d have these brands to thank for your avatar’s OOTDs.