Who hasn’t watched ‘Clueless’ and envied Cher’s ability to try on her clothes via her digital wardrobe? With today’s new technologies and the notion of the metaverse growing, we are heading towards this fantasy becoming a reality - a virtual reality.
In March 2022, the world was introduced to the very first Metaverse Fashion Week. Hosted by ‘ Decentraland’: a software run on Ethereum that gathers groups of users together to share experiences within a virtual reality. During the event, a number of fashion brands also took the opportunity to showcase their new virtual clothing collection.
But what exactly is the Metaverse Fashion Week?
This year, the virtual event takes place between the 28th and the 31st of March. Over four days, participants will see digital runways, be invited to music sessions as well as after- parties and take part in immersive experiences. Fashion house Republique and retailer Monnier Paris will set up a virtual store where digital accessories from Coach, Ester Manas, Eytys, Axel Arigato, Wandler and Osio will be available.
With younger generations living increasingly within the confines of the Metaverse – we use platforms such as iMessage and Whatsapp to communicate and share creativity via apps such as Instagram and Tiktok - it only feels natural to some to expand these confines and create a physical identity within the virtual world. This has brought about a shift within the fashion industry as designers and brand managers discovered that ‘virtuality’ is a modern way to reach consumers. Enter the Metaverse Fashion Week. Last year’s MVFW, attracted over 108,000 people eager to explore ‘the world of wearable and digital fashion’. As the founder and CEO of The Business of Fashion Imran Amed put it « screen wear is the new streetwear »
How did Metaverse Fashion Week become a reality?
The Metaverse’s Fashion Week’s keywords are all about innovation and immersion. The Covid-19 pandemic brought along massive changes to our consumer habits. With people confined to their homes, artistic outlets had to find new and innovative ways to capture the attention of consumers.
And the fashion world was no exception. The industry had to re-invent itself to adapt to changing consumer habits. Without audiences to attend fashion shows, brands stepped into a virtual new world to showcase their collections.This has become a milestone for the fashion industry as it enables us to literally step inside the Fashion Desinger’s world and observe the workings of the creative process.
But that’s not all. The expansion of fashion into the metaverse has also brought along a change in the online shopping experience. Through the creation of avatars, designed around our own physical traits, shoppers can try on items of clothing to see how they look from the comfort of their own living room.
Through the immersive experience - consumers have found a fun and modern way of mixing styles through a cutting-edge retail experience. For brands, the fashion metaverse is a game changer. The interactive nature of virtual reality has helped generate a sense of loyalty and community amongst users. It’s noticeable with Nike’s ’Nikeland’, for example, which has to date had over seven million visits.
It’s important to state however, as we move slowly into this virtual reality : there will always be a need for physical clothing. According to Gary McQueen, nephew of Alexander McQueen the Metaverse is « something totally different from what traditional thinkers understand as fashion (...) it’s more about self-expression and identity, as well as a way to connect and communicate within a platform that is totally community driven without the infringement of hierarchy. »