A recent report from tech research and consulting firm Technavio predicts that the metaverse will have reached a market share value of $50.37 billion by the year 2026. So it should come as no surprise that the trillion-dollar fashion industry of dollars has begun to take a greater interest in the metaverse.
While most luxury labels and brands remain focused on creating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to replicate physical items, some projects have started to bring their communities into the metaverse.
For example, on September 5, Vogue Singapore launched a fashion-first Web3 community known as “The New World of Vogue Singapore”. While Vogue Singapore previously showed interest in NFTs by tokenizing its September 2021 cover, Natasha Damodaran, CEO of Vogue Singapore, told Cointelegraph that the publication has gone a step further by creating a virtual experience that embraces the topic. of “The New Fashion”. World.” Damodaran explained that the platform allows her community to interact with various types of content and images. She said:
“Vogue Singapore’s New World currently lets users explore a realm inspired by surrealism with a welcome video from Vogue’s September 2022 cover star and supermodel Lina Zhang. Users can also experience an AI-generated beauty shoot called Bio RESONANCE by artist Terry Gates, along with digital couture by Beijing-based designer Yimeng Yu, created exclusively for Vogue Singapore.”
A glimpse into the New World of Vogue Singapore. Source: Vogue Singapore
Damodaran explained that Vogue’s metaverse is powered by Spatial.io, a metaverse platform that specializes in 3D spaces. The virtual space has also been designed by Polycount.io, an agency focused on NFTs.
Gianna Valintina, head of marketing at Spatial, told Cointelegraph that Vogue Singapore’s metaverse is accessible via mobile, desktop, and virtual reality (VR). She added that users entering the New World can create a custom avatar that can then be dressed in two exclusive Vogue wearable creations by fashion designer Yimeng Yu. Damodaran further noted that users can directly interact with the September cover of Vogue Singapore, while reading various content associated with the images.
While Vogue Singapore’s New World enables a more engaging way for users to view and read content, Valintina emphasized that this also enables brands and communities to build better experiences. In fact, Damodaran noted that the metaverse offers labels the opportunity to expand their reach to other market segments while also showcasing creativity and craftsmanship. “For Vogue, that means connecting the fashion community and introducing them to Web3 and vice versa, while also creating avenues for engagement that are relevant on digital platforms,” she said.
Although this concept is still new, it resonated with Yu, who created the two digital couture designs for the platform. Yu told Cointelegraph that the development of digital technology and the rise of online life in the post-epidemic era have brought new opportunities to the fashion industry. She said:
“Digital technologies and smart manufacturing are innovating the fashion design paradigm, production process, display method, retail route and user experience within the fashion industry. From both a designer creativity and user experience perspective, the metaverse provides the fashion industry with endless possibilities.”
A haute couture design for Vogue Singapore’s New World by Yimeng Yu. Source: Vogue Singapore
Regarding the new opportunities, Steven Kolb, CEO of The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a non-profit trade association founded in 1962 consisting of American fashion designers, told Cointelegraph that in order to strengthen the impact of American fashion globally, the CFDA decided to launch an exhibition in the metaverse:
“As we pondered ways to commemorate our 60th anniversary, we decided we had to look to the future, and an exhibit in the Metaverse was a perfect way to honor our past with an eye to what’s next.”
Like Vogue Singapore, Kolb explained that he hopes CFDA’s entry into the metaverse will reach new audiences and spark interest in American fashion and designers: “Because it’s in the metaverse, people don’t need to travel to see the exhibition, but you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home.”
Kolb shared that CFDA’s entry on Web3 will be marked with a curated retrospective of the past 60 years of American fashion, along with a collection of commemorative NFTs up for auction to benefit the CFDA Foundation. The exhibition is expected to open in December 2022 at The Sandbox.
While this marks CFDA’s first entry into Web3, Kolb noted that the organization is not yet launching a formal platform. Although Vogue Singapore’s metaverse project is expected to evolve (with a new phase launching in October 2022), Kolb explained that CFDA’s etaverse showcase is a “test and learn” for the organization. “The CFDA will begin building its Web3 community as it incorporates its current Web2 foundation. This will help us slowly build towards a larger metaverse community and experience for American fashion,” he said.
Regardless, Akbar Hamid, founder and CEO of 5Crypto, the creative consultancy behind the CFDA project, told Cointelegraph that bringing the CFDA community together in the metaverse is new in fashion. “This is a great way to increase awareness and interest in fashion among the Gen Z audience while also bringing a larger audience into the metaverse. This is also an opportunity to engage metaverse creators to work together with iconic fashion designers and curators to reimagine visionary style and design in a voxelized environment,” he said.
Will fashion communities want to participate in the metaverse?
While encouraging fashion-focused communities to participate in the metaverse may be the next step for certain projects, it’s not yet clear how users will react. For example, while Vogue Singapore’s New World is innovative, the concept may not immediately resonate with the publisher’s audience. Brian Trunzo, Metaverse Lead at Polygon Studios, told Cointelegraph that while brands in the metaverse tend to have a deeper connection with their consumers, media outlets are still trying to better understand this:
“The media is still trying to figure out how to use Web3 tools to engage an audience and convert them from consumers to community members or, at best, super fans. Even those who were successful at this on Web2 find it difficult to convert one from Instagram to a DAO [decentralized autonomous organization] member or holder of NFT is not an easy task.”
However, Jinha Lee, co-founder and chief product officer at Spatial, told Cointelegraph that a week after New World launched, users collectively spent more than four million minutes on the platform. “Seeing this shows that a large majority of people have been enjoying the space during the launch of Vogue Singapore,” she said.
While this statistic is noteworthy, Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol, a metaverse trading protocol focused on digital and physical fashion, told Cointelegraph that as with any new technology, there will initially be a period where users will visit the platform on an exploratory basis rather than with a fervent desire to do much more. But while adoption may be slow, Banon believes that projects like the one Vogue Singapore is starting will ultimately have an impact on the entire fashion and media sector:
“When we ask if more fashion magazines will want to enter the metaverse in the future, I think the only conclusion we can come to is yes. It is a new space, brimming with innovation and authenticity, concepts that the fashion world has prided itself on since its inception, so the metaverse is the next logical step. I don’t think there’s a single fashion magazine that hasn’t embraced Web3 and the metaverse in some form in the future.”