The Metaverse is an immersive simulation of the real world that is powered by cutting edge technologies like Blockchain, AI, Digital Twins, AR, VR, and Machine Learning. As the fashion industry accelerates its digital transformation, the metaverse promises a cultural and behavioural revolution. Learn more in this new video by Dinis Guarda and produced by citiesabc.com and openbusinesscouncil.org.
The Metaverse is a real-time alternate reality that holds a promise to bind together all the versions of the virtual worlds where users can:
• socialise with friends and meet with work colleagues.
• travel around the world using VR and AR technologies.
• create and share content.
• and of course, shop for clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories to enhance the appearance of your digital avatars.
The Metaverse offers a unique opportunity for the fashion industry, especially as an innovator driver for designers, brands and consumers. From new ways to create clothes, new virtual spaces to buy/sell, to creating an engagement between brands and consumers never seen before. All of it under a more democratic, transparent and sustainable metaversive universe.
Designer Anifa Mvuemba, of the curve-inclusive brand Hanifa, presented a collection of 3D rendered clothes in 2020.
So, while designers can create customised products based on the specific demands of their customers, these customers can also select from the limitless designs, fabrics, and prints with the help of their digital identities or avatars based on their needs and comfort, creating a more personal interaction between designer, brand and customer
Consumers are at the centre of this metaverse experience
In this regard, consumers are at the center of this Metaversive experience.
NFT profile pictures (PFPs) have recently become a big thing. Somewhere between a unique SSI and a personal brand, they are a bit like a digital seal, used to represent the authenticity of their owner.
An increasing number of celebrities and other famous personalities are using them on channels such as Opensea, Discord, Twitter, and Instagram to authenticate their communications.
PFPs can be any unique visual representation. As such, they are not without the cachette of ownership or the value of style and brand. A PFP may be a portrait, actual, realistic, or fictional; it may be a stylisation; alternatively, it may be a famous NFT. It simply needs to be used by an owner as their moniker.
Metaverse also allows the creation of digital assets in the form of Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs, like we mentioned before. Examples include Sydney-based start-up, Neuno, which has partnered with some of Asia’s biggest games and major luxury fashion houses for their NFT launch.
This NFT/blockchain-based system makes transactions easier. It makes the payment and exchange of these digital assets transparent while increasing the profit margins for designers and businesses.
NFTs in the metaverse is a perfect fit for fashion and retail as it provides certification and uniqueness to creators. It also helps in establishing the true value and digital ownership of the product.
A myriad of business opportunities
The Metaverse is the virtual representation of a real-life land. This means real estate opportunities too.
These spaces could be rented out for organising events, like the fashion show that took place in Second Life and Decentraland.
Major fashion brands that appeared at the Metaverse Fashion Week in Decentraland include Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Elie Saab, Nicholas Kirkwood, Perry Ellis, Imitation of Christ, and Estée Lauder.
Real estate in the metaverse could also be utilised for establishing virtual stores to provide a range of experiences for the customers and, even, workplaces.
Companies such as the global systems integrator DXC Technology have re-invented their workspaces, creating their own virtual worlds where customers, staff, suppliers and all other stakeholders can interact.
DXC is at the forefront of this movement. They recently hosted their annual sales conference - with 1000 staff, together with customers and motivational speakers - in DXC Virtual World, one of the most advanced business Metaverse environments. The campus is set on an island and contains exposition halls, auditoriums, classrooms, meeting spaces, and even a soccer field, theatre, music venue and a beach.
Participants moved around, visited project stalls, seminars, and keynote speeches, and interacted socially, much as they would in real life, all without leaving home.
Sustainable fashion? The metaverse could make it possible
And the possibilities are huge, the Metaverse can make the fashion industry more accessible, transparent and, more importantly, sustainable.
According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the fashion industry alone is reported to consume around 215 trillion litres of water per year, while emitting approximately 2-8% of the world's greenhouse gases. Adding to the concerns, textiles account for an annual discharge of 9% microplastic to the oceans.
Besides impacting our environment, the global economy has also suffered approximately US$100 billion in capital loss due to the underutilisation of raw materials.
Therefore, when the metaverse facilitates the alterations in our shopping and manufacturing processes with its unique solutions, it is in a way introducing us to a remarkable cultural shift that is more sustainable. Reduced carbon emissions, better shopping experiences, and many other unimagined options: the metaverse presents multi-dimensional benefits that we haven't even dreamt of yet.
For centuries, fashion has been a language, a social and cultural expression, that has driven humankind towards what is new and what could invigorate our society. It has always defined the way we lived, guarding the forefront of societal changes.
With Metaverse, the industry finds endless possibilities, opening new business opportunities, economic growth and blurring all the boundaries that have been limiting the expansion of the fashion industry.