Independent brands will dethrone fashion brands in the metaverse | Opinion

Charlie Taylor

From the catwalks of New York and Paris, the fashion world’s next stop is digital: Metaverse Fashion Week, a four-day event at Decentraland that kicked off Thursday (24). The lineup includes global fashion brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Hugo Boss, who will showcase their pieces alongside new designers and digital brands making their debuts. The event will be quite different from a typical catwalk, but it could offer a preview of the future of digital fashion, where brand is less important than aesthetics. In 2021, many traditional fashion and luxury brands have entered the metaverse for the first time. Nike and Vans have created their own worlds on Roblox, where users can dress their avatars in Air Force shoes or branded skateboards. Balenciaga has teamed up with Fortnite to launch an in-game clothing collection, as well as launch “Afterworld”, their own game where fans can try on seasonal collections virtually. Perhaps the biggest headline this year was the Dolce & Gabbana auction of a collection of nine digital and physical pieces that sold for 1,885 ETH (about $6 million). Given the enthusiasm with which consumers embraced non-fungible tokens (NFT) and virtual spaces, it is evident that luxury and haute couture would take their place in the metaverse. But it’s even more evident that digital users would prefer quality, artistic products — regardless of whether they were made by Rolex or Timex. When analyzing fashion as art, it is reasonable to think that digital fashion will follow the trend of NFT art, with original artists and their collections becoming the most desired. In particular, unknown designers and brands that prioritize the metaverse are best suited to this paradigm. In the traditional world of fashion, brands have their charm because of their reputation and resources. Generally speaking, when someone buys from Tom Ford or Chanel, they receive a familiar commodity. There is an expectation for quality material, careful design and perfect production – and therefore it boasts for its very high price. But meeting these high standards costs a lot in terms of sourcing, design and manufacturing, which is why there are so few luxury brands. In turn, these obstacles create an element of scarcity, further enhancing its couture appeal and exclusivity. The metaverse inverts the traditional model, as concerns about production quality, size, or raw materials are irrelevant. At a digital event, what is the difference between dresses made by Dior and dresses made by digital designers like DRESSX? And if appearances matter in the metaverse, wouldn’t you prefer a designer who is native to digital art and familiar with 3D rendering and implementing NFTs? This is one of the reasons fashion companies are acquiring smaller, space-native brands that can operate as digital parallels to their physical brands. Nike’s acquisition of the RTFKT studio was an easy decision considering how similar the NFT sneaker market is to the frenzy surrounding the Air Jordan model sold on Michael Jordan’s GOAT online store. Digital fashion also seems to make room for personal items to have more than sentimental value. Think of your custom cups and hoodie from your college days. Gucci won’t make an NFT or render these collectibles for you, but several independent brands will offer (and do very well) this service in the metaverse. You can easily dress them up or use them to show off parts of your life that would otherwise be gathering dust in your wardrobe. At its core, self-expression is the hallmark of both digital and physical fashion, and now the metaverse serves as another avenue for creating and expressing identity. The difference is that the metaverse offers a range of personal style choices not possible in the physical world. As we enter the age of the Web3 and the metaverse, consumers will turn to anyone who allows them to create the identity they want, regardless of brand. *Article written by Zach Hungate, leader of NFT games on the Everyrealm platform, with input from Coley Hungate. **Translated by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from

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