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The fashion industry is accelerating its digital transformation by moving into blockchain and the metaverse. A recent report from the investment bank Morgan Stanley shows that digital demand for fashion products could generate around $50 billion in global sales by 2030. Clearly, the metaverse presents an extremely big opportunity for fashion brands, and they’re responding in a number of innovative ways.
One of the smartest ideas we’ve seen so far involves bringing fashion into the world of metaverse games. Within the gaming world, brands have exhibited their latest trends and collections to new audiences, creating immersive experiences and digital events such as fashion shows.
An early adopter was Gucci, which partnered with the hugely popular Roblox platform in 2021 to create a virtual world known as the Gucci Garden. Gucci was smart enough to realize that entering the metaverse means marketing fashion to a new demographic – a world of social gaming where players represent themselves through avatars, which presents an entirely new audience for designers to cater too. These gamers are already fully immersed in the metaverse and their avatars mirror their personality, making them a great target for any brand.
A similar initiative was launched by Balenciaga, which collaborated with Fortnite to create an authentic line of player’s “skins” that could be purchased directly and worn as avatars. These skins were also advertised on 3D billboards within the game itself, creating additional exposure for the brand within Fortnite’s immense virtual world.
Elsewhere in the metaverse, we’ve seen the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Etro and Elie Saab come together to launch the first ever Metaverse Fashion Week, showing off their digital designs to the dwellers of Decentraland. With this experience, those brands were able to use their virtual presence to generate additional traffic for their e-commerce stores, as well as entirely new revenue streams through the sale of non-fungible tokens.
The NFT craze especially holds a lot of promise for fashion designers. Going forward, brands are going to need pioneer creation within the metaverse to build up further momentum. This is where platforms like Fashion League are set to play a key role. Fashion League is a metaverse game that allows individual designers and brands alike to create their own fashion stores and bring their digital designs to life, and then sell them to their fans as tokenized clothes and fashion accessories. It’s one of a number of platforms that’s making the metaverse more accessible, offering brands a way to add value to their digital creations. NFTs are an incredibly innovative technology that can be used by designers to bring their wildest ideas to life, without any restrictions around logistics or materials. Suits made of fire, a miniskirt that’s dripping blood – these are just some of the more outlandish ideas they can bring to life.
Also, the psychology around limited edition or extremely rare NFTs can be an asset too. Dolce & Gabbana has already discovered this through its Collezione Genesi, which was designed in collaboration with UNXD. It’s a luxury NFT collection that encompasses both physical and digital fashion products, while giving holders access to exclusive events. When someone buys one of the NFTs, they receive both a digital and a physical version of the item.
The same brand has also launched its DGFamily NFT community around the NFTs that provides followers with access to further opportunities, such as new limited edition NFT drops and virtual tickets to future metaverse events. In this way, NFT ownership can become seen as a privilege that cultivates a trend-setter mindset.
With blockchain, the benefits extend to proving the authenticity of luxury products too. Brands can use blockchain to prevent counterfeiting and reassure their customers they’re purchasing a genuine item. It provides a system for consumers to track and trace new products from the factory to the shop floor to their wardrobe, ensuring they are indeed the real deal. Some in the industry have already put blockchain to use in this way, with labels like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Cartier leveraging the Aura Blockchain to demonstrate the authenticity of luxury items.
Entering the metaverse might seem like a challenge to an industry that traditionally has never had much in common with the world of technology. Yet, dozens of brands have already shown that it’s easily possible to become increasingly relevant in the digital world.