3 Reasons Why Fashion Brands Should Be Interested In The Metaverse

if you followed New York Fashion Week In September 2022, you’ve likely noticed some big trends around cryptocurrencies and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), and the metaverse and Web3.

In fact, last year we saw the advent of the world’s first metaverse fashion week (MVFW), a fully virtual event with more than 60 digital and luxury brands. Many heavyweights were in attendance, including prominent brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Estée Lauder, Dolce & Gabbana, and Forever 21. MVFW 2022 was hosted by Decentraland, a crypto-based platform that hosts a browser-based 3D virtual world where users shop. “earth” as NFT. Anyone with a computer and fast internet connection could attend and purchase digital fashion items, also sold as NFTs and many with physical counterparts, requiring only an Ethereum wallet to transact.

MVFW is just one example of metaverse-based trading, but here’s the thing: Although the metaverse market has grown exponentially in recent years, some experts predict a market value in excess of $1.5 trillion at the end of the decade, most retailers are still trying to understand how to use this technology in the most practical (and profitable) way.

How are retailers already using this technology?

Right now, many fashion brands and retailers are already improving the physical shopping experience by allowing shoppers to try it, customize it and shop virtually merchandise from the real world from the comfort of their homes using AR and VR devices.

Others are leaning into the metaverse to create communities built around their brand that cater to demographically specific interests and aesthetics, while also creating new revenue streams from virtual outfit sales. Take the example of vans worlda virtual skate park from the iconic surf and skate brand built on the roblox gaming platform and its proprietary digital currency. The experience is fun, complex and highly playful, as well as wildly lucrative – players spent the equivalent of $652 million on digital goods in Q1 2021 alone!

You can already see why so many leading brands looking to remain relevant and grow in an increasingly digitized market, they’re already planning their investments in this space now, but let’s take a closer look at what the metaverse means for the fashion industry in particular.

What are 3 reasons why fashion professionals should invest in the metaverse? What can they expect to gain?

1. A new way to attract younger buyers to your brand.

When it comes to cutting-edge technology, Ralph Lauren, the stalwart American fashion icon, may not be the first name that comes to mind. But recently, the brand partnered with the aforementioned Roblox platform to create a unique winter-themed VR experience called winter getaway. Visitors can enjoy fun social activities and browse exclusive Ralph Lauren virtual styles that are available to purchase and adorn their avatars with.

But why would anyone pay for clothes you can’t wear “IRL” (in real life)? Many Generation Z consumers spend most of their time in digital environments, take special care of their image online, and are used to spending money on virtual products. Brand affiliations absolutely cross the real-life boundary, presenting an opportunity for companies to win over a new audience by giving younger consumers tactile visibility into long-standing fashion brands.

Virtual environments also enable new and more collaborative ways to interact with an audience. Nike recently introduced a new digital experience and community titled Shamelessly .WHISTLE. The brand positions this as an “inclusive digital community and experience and a home for Nike’s virtual creations.” The unique aspect of this concept is empowering Nike fans and customers to come together to co-create new virtual items such as sneakers and jerseys, ultimately allowing consumers to be, at least to some degree, partners. in the future of the brand.

2. A less complex and expensive way to launch events and popups.

Returning to MVFW, the newly rebranded Hugo (neé Hugo Boss) was an early adopter, partnering with a “Web3 Commerce Layer” vendor, to allow visitors to purchase physical garments represented virtually in the brand’s “zone”. during the event. Once again, cryptographic technology was key, allowing any physical item to be “tokenized” as a redeemable NFT available for sale to anyone with an Ethereum wallet, transforming virtual purchases into a tangible reality.

Then, there’s the aforementioned Ralph Lauren, who recently teamed up with Obsess — an “interactive experiential e-commerce platform” focused on retail — to create an immersive 3D experience called 888 Madison Avenue that places shoppers in a retail store environment that is welcoming, luxurious, and fun to navigate. Other brands leveraging the Obsess platform include Lululemon, Coach, Christian Dior, NARS, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

3. A new way to present concepts and designs and get real-time feedback from your audience (while helping the environment along the way).

In terms of footwear, the marriage of the virtual with the physical is being achieved through another fast-growing technology: 3D printing. In fact, this technology is already used by all major athletic shoe brands for rapid prototyping of midsoles, the part of the shoe between the upper and the sole that has the most impact on wearer comfort and stability, to optimize product design and development.

However, as materials technology has advanced, 3D printed midsoles can now be produced with the same quality and durability as injection molding, the method typically employed for this part of the manufacturing process. This ultimately makes truly custom footwear possible, with shoes that can be printed to the buyer’s exact specifications and based on their precise measurements. Beyond that, this technology also allows:

More innovative and complex designs.Custom and tailor-made materialsFaster time to market with feedback-based precisionEasier low batch production to enable lower manufacturing costs on demand

Footwear is far from the only fashion category exploring the possibilities of digital prototyping, and for good reason. The fashion industry as it exists now is in many ways unsustainable. Beyond employment and supply chain issues, the fashion industry is one of the most wasteful in the world, with McKinsey predicting that, if nothing changes, by 2030 fashion would be responsible for 2.7 billion metric tons of carbon emissions per year. This is now being addressed by physical means through recycling, dead fabrics and upcycled textiles, but some visionaries believe that more can be done through the digital realm.

Leslie Holden, co-founder of Digital Fashion Group, recently posited that “…a digital approach is a pragmatic response to industry sustainability issues.” One idea is essentially an extended version of MVFW, where brands create digital showrooms and storefronts for customers to browse and purchase highly realistic representations of garments. Only purchased items are put into production, which eliminates guesswork on the brand’s part, as well as wasted stock that ends up moving around the marketplace and eventually landfills.

This could also create a closer link between the final product and its creator, keeping designers and product managers involved and accountable for a larger part of the supply chain.

— Robin Barrett Wilson, Executive Industry Advisor, Fashion, SAP

Source: news.google.com