Virtual reality, technology, social media, and video games are taking the world by storm. While the pandemic is keeping us inside our homes, there’s no denying that most people are enjoying staying at home, courtesy: the virtual world distractions.
This is when a very rather complicated terminology comes into the picture - Metaverse. In simple words, Metaverse means a digital universe. It is the intermingling of many concepts, which a majority of the world is still trying to grasp. I mean- cryptocurrency, NFTs, and Ethereum, that, when heard, many investors have their wires crossed.
Metaverse, in simple terms, erases the line that separates the two-dimensional environment from the three-dimensional environment.
Metaverse Fashion week
I do realise that I have just thrown a lot of technology jargon around and you must be wondering how is any of it related to fashion. Right?
Now here’s the thing: Admit it or not, fashion, NFTs and crypto will be relevant to each other soon. Proof is: there are many exceptional occasions where fashion designers and jewelry designers of luxury fashion brands ( think Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga) have designed digital collections and are partnering with famous video games like Fortnite and selling NFTs. Metaverse Fashion week will be held on 24th March, which will be hosted by one of the Metaverse platforms called Decentraland. Decentraland is partnering with UNXD, which is a curated marketplace that worked with Dolce and Gabbana’s NFT clothing collection. Instead of graceful human models walking the ramp, they will be replaced by avatars. The collections, which will be showcased by the avatars, will be available as virtual clothes along with having a physical twin. People can buy these virtual outfits for their avatars in Decentraland through NFTs.
Source: Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong
Grab virtual sneakers!
We all know sneakers and video games define Gen Z culture, don’t we? Going
that extra mile, the tech savvy people out there are implementing elements of video games into designing shoes! For example, Benoit Pagotto’s design studio, RTFKT (pronounced artifact), collaborated with a teen NFT digital artist, FEWOCIOUS, in creating 620 pairs of virtual sneakers. This studio, which came from the shadows, has generated $3.1 million in less than 7 minutes. The time in creating the sneakers to take them onto the market happened in 2 weeks. It is mind-blowing because we are in this delusion that it would take a few years for fashion to be integrated digitally, but that’s not it. Now, the RTFKT studios have just been bought by the US-based apparel company Nike to bring the best virtual sneakers design. It is a game-changer for the fashion industry.
Source: Input Mag
Why digital fashion?
This concept of fashion merging with Metaverse is already mind boggling. Cryptocurrency and NFTs are all Greek to a majority of us, but apart from that, I wonder, why would anyone want to buy digital clothes?
Lets answer that!
First, let’s acknowledge that fashion helps us express our true selves. With the pandemic urging us to work in virtual spaces, there’s little self-expression in our rectangular screens. So it only seems valid that we experiment the best we can within these spaces to express ourselves virtually.
Zoom calls, Google meets and social media interactions are now an integral part of our daily lives, and gradually, by the skin of one’s teeth, we now know the definition of real and fake. So in a nutshell, virtual fashion will be required as we enter school classrooms and office jobs, (both a part of the three-dimensional virtual reality).
We know that the fashion industry has always been ahead of its time, and virtual fashion, which seemed like it would take years to develop, has contributed greatly to the fashion industry in just the last two years!
We already see brands like Balenciaga and Gucci partnering with famous gaming companies to dress avatars. Gaming gives a platform to luxury brands to reach newer demographics. With gaming notoriously being a leading form of entertainment in a post pandemic world, gamers account for 2 billion people, comprising over one-third of the world’s population.
Thus, it makes sense why experts in this space believe that virtual fashion will become prevalent all around the world and quite inevitable.
How does digital fashion work?
What if I say we are one step ahead of virtual reality? We are not entering a virtual world through VR glasses, but we are including projections of virtual pictures and characters in the real world. This is called augmented reality. Instead of going back and forth and trying on new outfits, we are allowing augmented reality to try the outfits on us. How do you wear these virtual outfits? By using our camera, which would be a digital frame, we can virtually see how it would look on us. Some brands like Gucci have developed an app for virtually trying their sneakers, whereas bidders of RTFKT’s virtual sneakers tried them through Snapchat. There will be a time when we do not have to virtually try on outfits through filters but high technology like augmented reality glasses.
Advantages of virtual fashion:
The trend of sustainable fashion has been going on for a while. And with the help of social media, we are spreading awareness and gaining awareness about the harmful effects of fast fashion. The rapid production of physical clothes has led to an increase in the number of greenhouse gases emitted, untreated water discharged into water bodies, deforestation, and more. However, to produce virtual garments, we do not need to think about manufacturing, supplying, and transportation, which are the main factors of environmental degradation. Production of a virtual garment emits 0.31Kg of carbon dioxide, whereas a white cotton shirt produces 95% more carbon dioxide.
Dematerialization remains the advantage of virtual fashion. But what is dematerialization? It is the process of reduction of the number of substances and materials used during manufacturing.
Thus, the quality is better, the production cost is reduced and less waste is generated.
Unfortunately, we enter 2022 with the pandemic still going and with variants as annoying as the Chitauri to the Avengers in Marvel, The Avengers as it is to us. Virtual fashion week in a way helps us from not interacting physically and turns out to be a boon to us at this point. Also, the collections exhibited by the designers can be accessed easily by anyone and the technology used( 3D imaging, CGI effects, etc) can bring unique and marvelous experiences.
Disadvantages of Virtual fashion:
While digital fashion may seem like a lucrative option, it also serves disappointment. Digital garments are supported by the advancing NFTs and to purchase NFT mining is required. Obtaining an NFT comes with environmental issues as it consumes a great deal of energy. On the contrary, digital fashion creates as much carbon footprint as physical goods because of blockchain (chain of blocks or ledgers that record transactions, transferred assets, and bitcoin) transactions. Not only transactions but attending fashion weeks (Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion week) which have been converted digitally, would also contribute to the greenhouse effect. Creating virtual garments, applying CGI and other effects, enormous amounts of data being used, etc, can give rise to greenhouse gas emissions, thus having a huge impact on the environment. However, finding an appropriate solution for this would take longer than we discovered how to implement virtual reality in fashion.
Fashion shows and fashion weeks always turn out to be one of the anticipated events of the year. One might say the experience of getting dressed up in real life differs completely from dressing our virtual characters. Virtual Fashion recreates the experience of styling ourselves and redefines the future of the fashion industry.
Today we are living in a world driven by technology and the wall between the physical space and the virtual world would converge steadily day by day. In this world of endless possibilities, a melting chocolate gown could be the “Next Big Thing”.