Brands like Forever 21, DKNY and Estée Lauder have participated in the first Metaverse Fashion Week, which started Thursday and runs through Sunday in the virtual world called Decentraland.
In the past, only digital fashion shows have taken place, but the four-day event is one of the most notable efforts to gather major brands around – or within – the concept of the metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact, work and shop.
Luxury fashion brands and smaller startups use the virtual event to host fashion shows and open stores in Decentraland. They sell both physical items that can be delivered in the real world and digital goods that are accompanied by non-replaceable tokens, the digital assets known as NFTs.
“It sends a signal that virtual fashion is indispensable and that virtual fashion will continue to be of interest to brands in the future,” said Cathy Hackl, president of Metaverse Fashion Week and chief metaverse officer at Futures Intelligence Group, a consultancy. .
The metaverse concept and the companies trying to build it have attracted millions of dollars in funding, powerful executives and a lot of curiosity over the past year, especially since Facebook’s parent company pledged to spend a lot of money building the metaverse and name it. turned into Meta Platforms Inc†
Robert Iger, former CEO of Walt Disney Co.
recently joined the board of Genies Inc., a startup that provides tools for creating virtual characters, clothing and accessories backed by NFTs.
Marketers have explored the potential of Decentraland and other virtual world platforms such as the Sandbox.
For Metaverse Fashion Week, Estée Lauder is giving away 10,000 NFT-supported digital wearables that will give avatars a radiant look.
“When people discover Estée Lauder in the metaverse, it’s a gateway for them to connect with Estée Lauder online and in the physical world,” said Stéphane de La Faverie, global president of Estée Lauder and group president of Estée Lauder Cos. .
Forever 21 by Authentic Brands Group Inc. has rented the equivalent of 450,000 square feet of space in Decentraland’s fashion district to open a virtual store featuring digital avatars as sales associates and 10 NFTs for sale. Those NFTs provide outfits for avatars to wear or collect.
“We’ve embraced the growth of Metaverse as it continues to clash with culture,” said Winnie Park, chief executive at the fashion retailer.
Cider Holding Ltd., a clothing retailer, sells NFTs through its digital store.
Metaverse Fashion Week is an opportunity to give consumers a new kind of experience with the company and potentially build relationships with them, said Yu Oppel, co-founder of Cider.
“Whatever you do in the metaverse is also possible” [lead to] a new membership of the brand,” said Ms. Oppel.
Some event participants do not sell physical items at all.
Digital fashion company NFT XRCouture PVT Ltd., whose website urges people to “wear clothes that don’t exist,” sold 18 NFT-supported virtual outfits ahead of Metaverse Fashion Week and opened a “headquarters” in Decentraland.
The opportunity to release digital wearables alongside well-known luxury brands was not normally available during traditional fashion weeks in the physical world, said Subham Jain, founder and president of XR Couture.
“Not only will luxury brands be highlighted, but individual makers will also be highlighted,” said Mr. Jain.
Metaverse Fashion Week is hosted by the Decentraland Foundation, the non-profit organization that builds tools for the platform and handles its marketing.
Companies are using the event in part to find out how a potential new wave of customers want to shop in digital environments, said Andrew Kiguel, chief executive and founder of Tokens.com and executive chairman of the Metaverse Group, a metaverse developer that uses Decentraland in its country. during the event.
“This is the next way the internet will get used, and in two, three years, no one will be talking about the metaverse — it just becomes a part of your everyday life,” said Mr. kiguel.
Decentraland has approximately 562,000 monthly active users as of February, according to the company.
It’s possible that Metaverse Fashion Week will also take place on other virtual platforms, said Giovanna Casimiro, head of Metaverse Fashion Week and head of community and events at Decentraland Foundation.
“Our desire is not to centralize, but to collaborate with other initiatives in one big event and adapt along the way,” said Ms. Casimiro.
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