How Web3 Could Change The Fashion Industry
Virtual fashion, NFTs, and digital objects linked to physical products.
Demand for luxury goods in the metaverse could reach $50 Billion USD by 2030 according to a recent report from KPMG. As everyone speculates on what the Metaverse may bring to the online experience, the fashion industry has several power players entering the fray. With this new blockchain-based version of the internet emerging, consumers are being thrown a blizzard of buzzy brand projects — but can these brands deliver on the promise of Web3 and all it entails?
What is Web3?
So, what is Web3? It's a vision for the next iteration of the internet. This next phase of the world wide web, known as Web 3.0 or Web3 [a term coined by Gavin Wood in 2014], is based on the idea of decentralization and relies on blockchain technology.
In an effort to help brands prepare to leverage the Web3 in their business, The Council of Fashion Designers of America [CFDA] announced its first metaverse and NFT partnership with creative consultancy 5Crypto. Working alongside The Sandbox [a virtual world where players can build, own, and monetize their gaming experiences in the Ethereum blockchain] and Polygon Studios [a media hub that provides NFT gaming investment, marketing, and developer support] this CFDA partnership aims to establish a Web3 blueprint for American fashion in the metaverse.
“This is a remarkable opportunity for the CFDA to guide the American fashion industry into the future of commerce and creativity,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. “Our mission is to position our members as leaders in the global innovation of fashion and retail via digitally-led strategies to support growth and expansion.” The Sandbox co-founder Arthur Madrid added, “We believe the metaverse is the new frontier of expression, where avatars will be an extension of our digital identity. We are excited to offer new creative tools for fashion designers to create NFT collections with digital ownership and scarcity that will be playable in the metaverse.”
Fashion NFT Projects
Louis Vuitton partnered with digital art pioneer Beeple to create its first-ever NFT game. “Louis: The Game” was released on April 8, 2021, to commemorate the 200th birthday of Louis Vuitton's founder. The game features 30 NFTs and players follow the Louis Vuitton mascot, Vivienne, to search for 200 collectible candles. While players are able to collect the NFTs, they are not able to resell them. The game is available on the Google Play store or the Apple app store.
Blankos Block Party is an NFT-based game that includes an exclusive Burberry character named "Sharky B". The game also features a collection of in-game Burberry NFT accessories for Sharky B to wear, including jetpacks, armbands, and pool shoes. Other in-game characters are able to wear the Burberry accessories as well. This game, developed by Mythical Games, is available on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
Gucci Garden on Roblox
The Gucci Garden on Roblox makes use of the unrestricted metaphysical nature of the virtual world via multiple themed rooms that pay homage to Gucci campaigns. Visitors enter through the virtual lobby where their avatars can try on and purchase digital Gucci products. Inside the themed rooms, avatars are transformed into blank, genderless, humanoid-like mannequins — in stark contrast to the standard Roblox rectangular toylike figures. As avatars progress through the garden, they absorb visual elements of each space.
Metaverse Fashion Week
The first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week took place from March 23 - 27, 2022 in Decentraland, a virtual game world owned by its users, for PC & Mac browsers [running Chrome or Firefox], using blockchain [Ethereum], NFT & cryptocurrency [MANA] technology. Amongst the 70 brands that participated were Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Tommy Hilfiger, and Selfridges — either presenting virtual runway shows featuring digital clothes or pop-up shops offering NFTs. The clothes were very lo-fi and the entire experience left much to be desired.
The Internet Unbound
What we are currently witnessing is a handful of massive companies creating walled-off virtual products that are being marketed as "Metaverse" yet wilfully being constrained to the pre-existing metaphysical and business parameters of old. While the capabilities of Web3 may have only reached a surface level, the storytelling aspect of Web3 is getting ahead of our current reality.
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