Meeting The MetaVerse Halfway

The first MetaVerse Fashion Week is over, and depending on your vantage point it was either a roaring success or a dubiously half-baked initial showing for a vision that many brands have placed significant bets on being the Next Big Thing.

Before fashion runs full-speed towards the MetaVerse, there are fundamental challenges to solve – in both virtual and physical worlds.

The first MetaVerse Fashion Week is over, and depending on your vantage point it was either a roaring success or a dubiously half-baked initial showing for a vision that many brands have placed significant bets on being the Next Big Thing.

In terms of brand participation, nobody would argue that MVFW was anything but impressive. Big brands, big department stores, massive music artists, and arguably the biggest virtual landlord (an unwholesome title if ever there was one) were all represented, opening their collective doors to a customer base that seems, on the surface at least, to have transcended the established crypto-centric audience that defined last year’s NFT gold-rush.

Frame the whole affair from that audience’s point of view, though, and the cracks started to show themselves quickly. For an industry that trades heavily in aesthetics, the stylised (read: simplified) art of Decentraland, combined with the fact that the average visitor is probably using an integrated GPU, led to a pretty significant disparity between the level of visual fidelity that consumers want, and what was actually on show.

This is not, notably, intended to disparage the creative work that individual designers, collectives, and studios put into building visual garments. The level of artistry on show was at least on a par with what you’d expect to find in the constantly-impressive world of digital art, grassroots CG, and game character and environment design.

If the fashion corner of the MetaVerse has a problem, it’s definitely not a paucity of talent.

A 28-year-old on Asia’s top metaverse platform makes six figures as a virtual fashion influencer

Facebook, now called Meta, has created a number of images to show how its metaverse might look.

  • Crypto giant Grayscale said the metaverse is a $1 trillion annual revenue opportunity.
  • It comes as pieces of virtual land inside metaverse projects have sold for upwards of $2 million.
  • Grayscale said the metaverse is a big opportunity for the crypto world, with investment accelerating.

The metaverse has the potential to become a $1 trillion annual revenue opportunity across the worlds of advertising, digital events, e-commerce and hardware, according to a new report from crypto giant Grayscale.

Grayscale’s report, released Wednesday night, comes during a surge in interest in the metaverse after Facebook officially changed its name to Meta as it focuses on the virtual immersive world it says is the future of the internet.

This week, there have been early indications of the potential size of the metaverse economy, with parcels of virtual land inside crypto-based metaverses Decentraland and Axie Infinity selling for more than $2 million.

The metaverse refers to a range of online 3D virtual environments, in which people can play games, build things, socialize, work and even trade and earn crypto assets.

The most well-known individual metaverses right now are in gaming, with Fortnite and Roblox booming in popularity over the last few years. Grayscale estimated that revenue from virtual gaming worlds could grow to $400 billion in 2025, from around $180 billion in 2020.

Yet Grayscale, which runs the world’s biggest cryptocurrency fund, said the metaverse is still “in its early innings.” It said Facebook’s plans to spend $10 billion this year on the metaverse is a sign of the potential of the market.

“The market opportunity for bringing the Metaverse to life may be worth over $1 trillion in annual revenue,” the report said, although it did not specify a timeframe.

The report’s authors, Grayscale’s head of research David Grider and research analyst Matt Maximo, argued the metaverse is a huge opportunity for crypto companies.

Many current metaverse projects, such as virtual realities or games, are run by so-called Web2 companies, which are centralized and operate for profit. Facebook, which has launched the virtual reality space Horizon Worlds, is an example.

But increasingly, metaverse projects are created on or are heavily tied to crypto technology, which can give users more control and allow them to earn money that they can use in the real world. This is known as the Web3 metaverse.

Grayscale listed the opportunities for monetization of consumers within the Web3 metaverse. These include art galleries launching NFTs, games and casinos where players win crypto, digital advertising billboards, and music venues where DJs and artists hold concerts.

In the third quarter, total Web3 and NFT fundraising hit $1.8 billion, out of overall crypto fundraising of $8.2 billion, Grayscale said. It added that investment has “recently started to accelerate.”

Grayscale’s report focused on Decentraland. In that metaverse, people log in to play games, earn the native cryptocurrency mana, purchase NFTs including virtual land and collectibles, and vote on the governance of the economy.

The crypto investment company recently created a Decentraland trust that invests solely in mana. The cryptocurrency is up around 550% in the last 30 days, according to Coingecko.


Metaverse platform Decentraland is preparing for its first fashion week as digital clothing rakes in big business

(Decentraland/ UNXD promotional video).

Decentraland/UNXD promotional video

  • Decentraland will host its first fashion week in March 2022 as the business of virtual clothes heats up. 
  • The metaverse platform is teaming up with UNXD, which recently hosted Dolce & Gabbana’s first NFT clothing collection. 
  • Virtual land on Decentraland’s Fashion District recently sold for $2.4 million. 
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Fashion is shaping up to be a key area of business in the potentially $1 trillion-a-year-metaverse, and Decentraland will expand its stake in the market by hosting its first fashion week. 

The metaverse platform in March will host four days of runway shows and immersive experiences with UNXD, a luxury marketplace built on the Polygon blockchain network.

“Have your collections ready!” Decentraland said in a Sunday post on Twitter calling on designers, brands, and fashionistas to prepare for the event set for March 24-27, 2022. 

The metaverse refers to online 3D virtual environments where people represented by avatars can play games, work and socialize, as well as buy and trade crypto assets. Cryptocurrency asset management firm Grayscale last month said the metaverse has the potential to become a $1 trillion annual revenue opportunity

But all those avatars in the metaverse need virtual clothing, which is emerging as a hot sector.

Fashion brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Ralph Lauren have been making inroads into the metaverse. UNXD hosted Dolce & Gabbana’s first NFT clothing collection, and the Collezione Genesi group of nine non-fungible tokens designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana sold for $5.7 million in September. 

Digital clothing from Ralph Lauren and Gucci have been featured on avatars through separate partnerships with avatar app Zepeto, Asia’s largest fashion virtual platform with nearly a quarter of a billion users, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, Decentraland’s burgeoning Fashion District grabbed attention in recent weeks after a company paid the equivalent of $2.4 million in cryptocurrency to purchase virtual parcels there. 

“We think the Fashion District purchase is like buying on Fifth Avenue back in the 1800s … or the creation of Rodeo Drive,” Lorne Sugarman, the CEO of Metaverse Group, told Insider, about his company’s deal in November. 

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Dimension Studio: How fashion is being brought to the metaverse

A London-based startup has worked with Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier and H&M on avatars, VR, AR and virtual production. Here’s why all fashion brands should take note.

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Stepping onto Dimension Studio’s circular stage in Wimbledon, south-west London, you’re greeted by 106 cameras, which can volumetrically scan a person into a 360-degree digital human within seconds. That 3D capture can then be dropped into virtual worlds, from VR to gaming.

The virtual production startup, which specialises in creating digital humans and virtual worlds for brands, operates two more volumetric capture stages, one in the north of England in Newcastle and a second across the Atlantic, a co-owned stage in Washington DC. It’s also the owner of a Polymotion portable truck, acting as a mobile capture studio. READ MORE Why games became luxury fashion’s NFT on-ramp


Business is booming. Dimension made $6.5 million in revenues from 2020-2021, double the previous year, according to the company. Brands are queuing up to experiment with virtual activations, particularly in the fashion sphere. From AR try-on to VR showrooms and fashion games, the metaverse is front of mind for fashion brands hoping to catch a new marketing wave.

The company is perhaps best known for producing Balenciaga’s Afterworld game for Autumn/Winter 2021, created by volumetrically capturing real-life models and garments and dropping them into a gaming experience, designed in consultation with Balenciaga artistic director Demna Gvasalia. Dimension has also worked with London Fashion Week on a virtual catwalk, and H&M on an AR pop-up book for the H&M x Simone Rocha collaboration. Projects currently in progress include Jean Paul Gaultier and Charlotte Tilbury (with details still under wraps).

The benefit of volumetric capture is the detail — the movement of garments can be tracked photo-realistically, says Simon Windsor, Dimension co-founder and joint managing director. The company also reports a surge in demand for avatars, enabling fashion and beauty brands to have their own digital influencers for multiple use across social media and marketing channels.

Demand keeps on growing

Everyone in this world appears to be reporting exceptional demand. Cathy Hackl, a futurist and metaverse expert who consults for brands, notes a surge in work for her consultancy business. “I think that the opportunity could be life-changing for startups that really present a value proposition; that are really doing things that have never been done before,” she says. “Dimension is one of those companies; they’re gaining the skills of volumetric video and virtual production that in the future a lot of the big content companies are going to need.”Most Popular

Projects can range immensely in terms of cost, depending on the scale and complexity, says Dimension co-founder technology director Callum Macmillan. A volumetric capture of one human might require a budget of £15,000, but the scope will be much smaller than for a project such as Afterworld with multiple looks and a much larger platform. The most complex projects can easily top six figures, Macmillan says.

Dimension Studio used volumetric scanning of models and 3D realtime design to construct Balenciaga Afterworld.
Dimension Studio used volumetric scanning of models and 3D real-time design to construct Balenciaga: Afterworld. DIMENSION STUDIO

On the other hand, Dimension also produces projects free of charge with creative collaborators to showcase its expertise and support new talent. This week, it launched a mixed reality experience at London’s V&A, filming a contemporary dance artist in collaboration with Microsoft Hololens. Viewers can wear a Microsoft Hololens 2 headset and interact with the hologram.

It’s important that mixed reality startups learn how to “productise” their output as they scale, Hackl says. “You’ll see lots of brands doing one-off things to dip their toe, but then taking a step back to really think about the longer-term metaverse strategy,” she says. “The opportunity for Dimension is to create those relationships now. So that they’re part of that longer term roadmap and strategy that brands are working on for the future.”Most Popular

Lauren Dyer, Dimension’s director of strategic partnerships, finds that many potential clients are in the process of educating themselves about the potential. “They might only have X amount to develop the R&D for this year, but they have ambition for next year and more money,” she says. “Next year, we can get on board really early to workshop with companies and get them to a point where they want to press go and they’ve got their budget to make that happen. It allows them to understand the technology better and allows us to understand their requirements and their needs.”

Collaborations and challenges

Innovation is moving so fast that scaling a startup in the virtual production industry can be challenging in terms of recruiting talent, Dimension’s Windsor says. Real-time development, powered by Epic Games’s Unreal Engine or Unity Technologies’s Unity Engine, is the next frontier for virtual production companies, allowing developers to 3D render with instant feedback. Finding real-time designers who can render in these technologies is a struggle as demand surges, Windsor says. Dimension Studio has doubled its staff numbers to 75 people over the past year.

“The professionals of today need to start thinking in 3D, because the professionals of tomorrow will already be thinking in 3D,” says Hackl. “Agencies will need to partner with people that have game design experience and game theory. They’re going to need those people that not only know how to create beautiful things, but actually know how to make things work in a gamified way inside virtual worlds,” she says.

Dimension is self-funded at present. However, it’s a Microsoft Mixed Reality Partner Programme (MRPP) member, meaning Microsoft provides resources and support as well as licensing Dimension some of its mixed reality technology. Dimension Studio also launched with initial investment from Digital Catapult in 2017, a UK-based talent incubator that helps propel startups (the size of the investment is undisclosed).

In the US, Dimension collaborates with Avatar Studios on a stage in Washington DC. That’s mutually beneficial, says Windsor — in an industry in its infancy, any companies helping to boost awareness of the metaverse and what it can do are supportive to Dimension’s growth. “It’s in both our interests to drive the awareness and adoption of volumetric content,” Windsor says. “It’s still a very new medium in many ways. We’re keen to help support new use cases and applications to show what companies like ours can do.”Most Popular


Clients often come to the company with briefs that present new challenges, which requires constant R&D, says Windsor. With Balenciaga, for example, Dimension had to do intensive R&D to accurately replicate Gvasalia’s chainmail, armour and reflective prints, which can be hard to render digitally from a volumetric scan.

Complacency is not on the agenda. “We’re constantly learning,” acknowledges Dyer. Staff are obliged to test and innovate to solve pain points while working on their projects. Typical “gotchas”, as Windsor puts it, might come from darker fabrics or replicating underneath the beak of a cap. “We’re getting speedier, compared to where we were a couple of years back,” Dyer says.

Future ambitions: Virtual runways

Companies such as Dimension are racing to improve the potential of virtual runway shows. Model Adwoa Aboah had to walk on a treadmill inside the circular stage to mimic a runway walk for a virtual London Fashion Week campaign created by Dimension in February 2020. “Collectively, we’ve always had the ambition to take what’s in a round here and put it in a line, so it can replicate a catwalk. We’re getting closer to that with the technology stack we’ve got now,” says Dimension’s Macmillan.

Taking this further, the company is keen to develop real-time volumetric scanning: the ability to capture performance in one location and stream that as a hologram into another location in near real time. “I guess at first, the resolution may still warrant that you [need] a normal video feed to get the detail,” says Windsor. “But we’re making strides towards the ability to have one physical catwalk show that can be streamed as holograms, anywhere in the world, for multiple shows.”

Key Takeaway: Dimension Studio is benefitting from a new digital world that fashion is starting to embrace. By leveraging support from Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Partner Programme and partnering with similar companies around the world, the business hopes to scale as the industry grows. Hurdles include recruiting talent and securing longer term partnerships with brands, beyond one-off marketing moments.

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Inside Roblox’s metaverse opportunity

Fashion’s new opportunity to reach Gen Z is in the metaverse. Christina Wootton, VP of brand partnerships at Roblox, explains how brands can make the most of it.


The metaverse is increasingly becoming fashion’s go-to playground as people spend more time in virtual worlds. With opportunities to create and sell digital clothing to engaged audiences, many of them Gen Z, brands from Gucci to Vans are figuring out where they fit in. At Roblox, which now counts 46 million daily active users, it’s the job of Christina Wootton, vice president of brand partnerships, and her team to guide them.

“As brands think about how they come to the metaverse, they shouldn’t necessarily think of it in the same way as their mobile strategy or console games. It’s really: what is your metaverse strategy? How do you want people to engage with your brand and what is going to benefit them in the experience?” Wootton says. “People wanting to express themselves through fashion is a huge opportunity.”

Neil Rimer, partner at Index Ventures who led the company’s investment in Roblox, agrees that you really can’t think of Roblox as a game: “Or even a collection of games,” he says. “Given the number of people who have made Roblox a central part of their digital life, it’s only natural that fashion houses, lifestyle brands and all kinds of other businesses will see Roblox as a new way to connect with people and be part of their experiences.”

The Gucci Garden on Roblox in May showed off Roblox's new capabilities including more lifelike avatar figures and...

In Roblox’s virtual worlds, users update their avatars with new clothing, hair and accessories on a regular basis using digital items. Anyone can build and sell designs on the platform, and developers and creators will earn $500 million by selling user-generated content this year, according to the company. Brands have started playing a more proactive role: In the past year, Gucci and Vans have created entirely customised, branded worlds on Roblox, while Stella McCartney sold a collection of virtual items. Gucci’s two-week experience garnered approximately 20 million visits, and hundreds of thousands of Roblox users acquired multiple items, according to data supplied by Roblox.

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Roblox will be one of the metaverses, says metaverse consultant Cathy Hackl, who advises luxury brands as CEO at tech consultancy Futures Intelligence Group. “It offers a very strong glimpse of the bigger metaverse as an idea. I don’t think it’s the sole metaverse, but it is one of the leading platforms.”

Hackl works with several fashion brands, and many are considering Roblox, which she says allows luxury fashion to test the waters without having to create a new game or app. Brands have also worked with games such as Animal Crossing and virtual worlds including Zepeto.

Opportunities in the metaverse unlock access to and a relevance among younger customers, let brands test new designs including some that wouldn’t be possible in the real world and introduce a new revenue stream. Jumping in also comes with risks of alienating endemic users or missing the mark on what will sell, Wootton cautions. “Just because you are a popular brand and you have massive intellectual property, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to translate,” she says. “You have to really understand the community and take time to learn what’s already going on in the metaverse.”

Co-creation is key

Gucci’s May experiment in the world of Roblox demonstrated how virtual value translates to the real world. For two weeks, the brand sold limited-edition digital Gucci clothing and accessories for between approximately $1.50 and $11.25 in equivalent Robux. One bag, originally sold for about $5.50 on Roblox, resold for more than $4,000. People who purchased Gucci items within Roblox also wear them five hours longer throughout Roblox experiences than they wear other accessories, according to insight shared with Vogue Business.

Prior to the Gucci Garden, the brand experimented on Roblox with three outfits in October 2020 and created virtual goods for a December gift campaign. As Gucci EVP of brand and customer engagement Robert Triefus told Vogue Business, a willingness to test and learn is “fundamental”.

Working with designers familiar with the metaverse can also help brands translate items for the virtual world. Gucci created items in partnership with designers cSapphire and Rook Vanguard, who are Roblox creators who already have a popular following. Stella McCartney, meanwhile, partnered with community creator Samuel Jordan, who goes by “Builder Boy” on its virtual collection. Top-selling items were a tote bag, heart-shaped sunglasses and a puffer. “I would highly recommend that brands study the collaborative and community aspects of the metaverse,” says Vanguard, who is part of Roblox’s official creator programme. “There is incredible potential to create long-lasting impressions on users.”Most Popular

Many Gen Z users value virtual items more than physical goods, and they don’t want to be told what to wear, Wootton says. “They want to be a part of that process. We’ve seen designers on Roblox designing virtual fashion for years before everybody took notice. They’ve already been getting feedback on what resonates well. They’ve been having virtual fashion shows and coming up with their own trends.”

Gauge user interest

Vans partnered with Roblox on an experience earlier this month that includes skateparks, an interactive store where users can customise their own sneakers and a space to attend virtual concerts (pictured at top). The platform reached out to the brand years ago after finding through surveys that it was already popular among users. Vans ultimately took the plunge on its first metaverse experience after determining that Roblox’s user-generated content (UGC) approach was a good fit for the brand.

“Creativity is deeply rooted in everything that we do and UGC is really important to us, so when we started exploring what it would mean for us to enter the metaverse, we started to think about how individuals who express themselves creatively through gaming do that, and also to reach the individuals who feel like technology is their creative expression,” says Julia Patkowski, senior manager of global brand digital marketing at Vans. Roblox was a natural partner because it “was not just throwing tons of brands in there to be there, but really looking for authentic partnerships,” she adds.Most Popular

Vans also wanted to make an accessible experience to a range of users, so as they were building the experience, the brand invited various ages to test it out and provide real-time feedback, Patkowski says. “We wanted to make sure that it was something for everyone. If you are a competitive gamer, you can have all the fun you want in our quests and daily missions. If you’re just a social Roblox user, there’s lots of areas that are built in for just socialising with your friends. And if you’re still a solo player, it’s definitely built for that as well.”

Expand beyond IRL

In the Gucci Garden, avatars absorbed elements of the world around them as they explored various spaces. In both the Vans and Gucci experiences, visitors could buy items that weren’t sold in real life. For Gucci’s December 2020 gifts, it created items that previously would not have been able to exist.

“You don’t want to just replicate what’s going on in the real world,” Wootton says. “[With Gucci] we wanted people to feel like they were actually in the exhibition in Florence, Italy, whether you can go there or not. But we were able to do so much more, because you don’t have the limitations that you do in the real world — you had flowers growing on your head and the ceiling that opened up to show the sky.”

Native Roblox creator and developer Rook Vanguard created original designs before attracting the eye of Gucci. Vanguard...
Native Roblox creator and developer Rook Vanguard created original designs before attracting the eye of Gucci. Vanguard is now assembling a team of developers who can create experiences. ROOK VANGUARD

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Users might also be inclined to try on items and personas that they might not be willing to try in the physical world, which opens up another opportunity for brands to test trends or expand assortments. “If they want to wear an elaborate headpiece or gown, they will,” Wootton says. “People who are not comfortable, like, exploring Goth in real life would go and find a Goth community on Roblox, and it gives them a sense of self-expression.”

Hackl agrees it’s a space for experimentation. “Younger users are going to look to these luxury fashion brands to provide them with virtual clothing that looks awesome but also allows that digital virtual fashion to do things that can’t be done in the real world, and to them these experiences are real,” she says.

That doesn’t mean there would be no crossover, which bodes well for brands hoping to garner sales of physical items by creating brand affinity virtually. “Now we’re starting to see people seeing what trends are coming from the virtual space and then bringing that to the real world. That’s happening more and more,” Wootton says.

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More on this topic:

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Inside Gucci’s gaming strategy

Referencess :

How fashion brands are navigating NFTs and what’s next for the metaverse

Fashion has increasingly been engaging with NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, as gaming and digital fashion have come to the forefront. For its fall 2021 collection, Gucci partnered with the art auction house Christie’s on an NFT video called “Aria,” which sold for $25,000 in June. Christie’s was also where Beeple, the most famous digital artist, sold his piece for $69 million this year. This overnight success of NFTs is now leading Christie’s to accept auction bids with Ethereum, the most popular crypto-currency. Other brands have also dipped a toe in the digital pond in varying strategies, eager to take advantage of the boom that drives NFT collections to sell out in minutes. 

Fashion has increasingly been engaging with NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, as gaming and digital fashion have come to the forefront. For its fall 2021 collection, Gucci partnered with the art auction house Christie’s on an NFT video called “Aria,” which sold for $25,000 in June. Christie’s was also where Beeple, the most famous digital artist, sold his piece for $69 million this year. This overnight success of NFTs is now leading Christie’s to accept auction bids with Ethereum, the most popular crypto-currency. Other brands have also dipped a toe in the digital pond in varying strategies, eager to take advantage of the boom that drives NFT collections to sell out in minutes. 

Below is an overview of the different brand strategies for approaching the NFT space within fashion, looking at individual shifts, how the cryptocurrency carbon emissions are being countered and what’s next to come in the space.

For an explanation of key terms in the digital space, look to our explainer at the end of this article.

Case Study: Luxury giants Burberry and Louis Vuitton tackle in-game NFTs 

For the first time ever, Burberry has worked with a game developer to launch its own NFTs. Working with Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party on a cute shark Blanko that can be purchased, upgraded and sold in-game, the brand moved into the digital space after the success of its own game, B Bounce, launched in 2019. Critically, the Burberry NFT doesn’t run on the energy-intensive Proof of Work crypto model like Ethereum, but rather through a private EOSIO blockchain protocol using a Proof of Authority model that is far less energy-intensive. 

Focused on discovery, these NFTs open up the fashion world to new digital channels and games that are there to tempt a younger consumer. In a press release, Rod Manley, Burberry’s chief marketing officer, noted that, “With this exciting concept, we are able to unlock genuine value for the gaming community by encouraging players to interact with our brand in an environment that celebrates art, design and exploration.” Coming from the official Blankos Twitter account, the Burberry NFT drop sold out faster than any other collaboration done by Blankos that preceded it, including the NFT drop with music artist Deadmau5.

Neda Whitney, svp and head of marketing at Christie’s, said, “NFTs prove that in spaces where digital fashion and skins are already a user behavior, the entrance of fashion brands into the conversation is a natural next step. The ability to allow users to not only buy digital items in the fashion space but to also have unique and, oftentimes, ‘1 of 1’ certificates of ownership adds a level of exclusivity that has always worked well within the fashion culture.” 

Louis Vuitton took a different approach, focusing on developing its continued support of the digital space in a novel way. It is already well-acquainted with the gaming space — it first launched a partnership in 2019 with League of Legends, a multiplayer online game from Riot Games. Nicolas Ghesquière designed a skin for one of the in-game characters, as well as a capsule collection. The brand also created a special case for the in-game trophy, a nod to its origins as a trunk master starting in 1886. 

The brand is continuing the journey through a collection of 30 NFTs that can be collected in its game 200 Anecdotes to celebrate its 200 year anniversary. Tying into the art space, Louis Vuitton has worked with the American digital artist Beeple on 10 of these NFTs. Interestingly, the approach to the NFTs is different from that of Burberry; the items are not sellable or exchangeable, existing only in-game. 

As most fashion brands are placing their NFTs inside closed systems, like with Balenciaga and Fortnite, the idea of having a virtual closet that moves across different gaming platforms and digital worlds is still not as widespread. Platforms like Polygon are looking to change that. Luxury house Dolce & Gabbana has created NFTs on the platform, prioritizing the way that its garments can be transferred across many digital “worlds.” Joseph Pallant, the founder of the Blockchain for Climate Foundation and an NFT expert, said, ​​”There’s going to be a lot of money in the NFT fashion space. Making that a creator-first [concept] and having that blossom into a whole new realm is so much more exciting than getting a Louis Vuitton handbag on some permissioned blockchain that lives within its own walled garden. With items in Polygon, it can live on lots of different metaverses and platforms; you can have it in Decentraland or Cryptovoxels. That interoperability is really important.” 

Case study: Charitable giving through NFTs at Rebecca Minkoff

For other brands like Rebecca Minkoff, NFTs offer a unique way of experimenting with avatars, developing brand engagement with a younger generation and committing to charities close to the brand, like The Female Founder Collective. After her phygital presentation during NYFW, Rebecca Minkoff said, “We have always been at the intersection of fashion and technology. So for us, NFTs were the next logical step in that progression. We wanted to test the idea of not just a 2D image, but also digital merchandise, as people begin to experiment with dressing themselves and their avatars and having more experiences online.” 

Based on the brand’s “I Love New York” collection, the brand worked with digital marketplace The Dematerialised on 400 digital garments that sold out in auction at OpenSea in 10 minutes. “We will definitely be expanding our digital presence in the future. We are planning something even bigger for February,” Minkoff said. Partnering with Yahoo as its Innovation Sponsor, the brand looks to create a metaverse with its garments. 

Speaking about the partnership with Glossy, Joanna Lambert, president and gm of consumer at Yahoo, said, “The opportunity for fashion in the digital world is massive. Immersive formats will reimagine what the fashion industry looks and feels like for the consumer.  We are committed to pushing the boundaries of digital shopability and, through fashion, we were able to explore how AR content strengthens the relationship between designers and their consumers. We look forward to leading creative technology by reimagining the consumer journey and immersing audiences in the things they love, showcasing what is possible as fashion and entertainment evolve. This first of its kind gallery was created to revolutionize the interaction with fashion and art, deepening the connection between the consumer and designer.” 

The appetite for NFTs is only growing, with many companies in the digital space, like Epic Games and The Fabricant, helping brands develop digital garment collections and archives to push them into the metaverse at an accelerated pace. Raffaella Camera, head of brands and advertisers solutions at Epic Games, talked about how the technology the company is working on with Unreal Engine can be used to create vast repositories of 3D assets.

“The idea of 3D experiences, and making them as high fidelity as possible, is to then let brands have a presence virtually wherever they want. It could be on their website or it could be through AR glasses. The end goal would be to try on a specific product and to be able to buy it. So if I think about Ferrari and what we did with them, it was about a variety of different things: We started from the creation of the car with a real engine, down to the stitches in the seats, in perfect in high fidelity, then we used that same asset on the web to let consumers configure the car and make it what they wanted. That’s direct commerce, in that sense. We then also used it to do virtual production for ads, especially during the Covid pandemic. Finally, we also brought it into Fortnite, so that players could drive it and test it virtually that way. So depending on where you are, there is tons of usability for anything that is 3D created.” These widespread applications are part of the reason why brands are getting invested in the digital space. Creating 3D assets doesn’t just mean more realistic imagery for its online space, but it also heralds a commercial opportunity for all of a brand’s goods in the NFT space. 

Will the sustainability issue with NFTs be solved?

The drive for NFTs, while great in reducing the physical impact that clothing production and waste have on the planet, is also contributing to climate change. Cryptocurrency mining to enact “proof of work” — the main source of energy consumption and carbon impact — has a detrimental impact on the planet and takes up valuable resources. These are already in short supply because of supply chain issues around the globe. 

However, more and more cryptocurrencies don’t operate on the PoW model, choosing to be more sustainable in the blockchain system by going with PoA (proof of authority) or PoS (proof of stake) system instead. Many fashion brands are prioritizing this when it comes to choosing partners to work on their digital collections and NFTs. 

The Fabricant, the original NFT creators behind the Iridescence dress that sold for $9500 in 2019, placed its creations on the Flow system created by Dapper Labs that uses the Proof of Stake model. Michaela Larosse, head of creative strategy and communications at The Fabricant said, “It was a very difficult decision to begin to iterate as NFTs. But because it’s the future of what we do, and it’s very important for creators, regardless of whether they are fashion creators or artists, we felt it was the right decision. It allows the creators to enter this space, giving people complete agency over their creations, allowing them to monetize their work and operate at a global scale without middlemen. Equally, it’s a very difficult decision to make right now, because of this extraordinary energy wastefulness that’s going on. So Ethereum 2.0 is a big step forward. I believe the reduction in energy when Ethereum flips to the proof of stake mechanism is a completely different way of validating.” According to the Digiconomist and the Ethereum creators themselves, the merge to the PoS will use at least 99.95% less energy than the current model, making minting fashion NFTs with the cryptocurrency a real step toward a sustainable digital fashion future. 

What’s next for brands launching into the metaverse?

The notion of access to the digital space is still difficult for those with traditional fashion backgrounds, making growth and innovation in the space slower than the demand of the industry. For many, the shift to technology takes years to master. After observing the space, The Fabricant are launching a new platform called The Fabricant Studio, where users without 3D technology knowledge can create digital items and mint their own NFTs. Michaela Larosse said, “To create digital fashion, you have to be quite tech-savvy, understand programs like Clo3D and be able to iterate in them. That’s a very long timeline to learn that kind of thing. We’ve tried to come up with a mechanism that allows people to customize and interact with digital garments that have already been created as templates and essentially create their own NFTs.” This shift to bring more people into the digital space is a way of breaking down the silos that typically exist in other craft professions, especially in fashion. 

In the same way, Epic Games, the founders of Unreal Engine — the system behind Balenciaga’s previous game and latest collaboration — have committed $100 million dollars to help creators and game developers in the 3D space. The Fabricant was a recipient of one of these mega grants for a fashion show featuring its designs. Another was Delz Erinle, founder and lead game designer for the Astra Game from Thrill Digital that combines a virtual world where players compete in-game to win real-life luxury fashion prizes. In the demo, a simply-clad heroine walks into a store where she cycles through a variety of looks that she can buy after competing in combat sequences with other players outside the “store.” Talking with the founder, he describes it as the first iteration, hoping to become a full metaverse with growing support. “We’re attracting an intersection of people we call ‘fashion gamers.’ These are people between the ages of 18 or a bit younger to 35, who are interested in fashion and also like to play games. It is a broad community, everyone from millennials and Gen Z to Gen alpha.” 

These metaverses — huge online worlds with their own currencies, communities and economies — are already starting to come into fruition. Star Atlas, an intergalactic planetary exploration game, already shows the possibility of an alternate gaming universe, where cryptocurrency economies are as real as those created in the real world. Better still, brands like The Fabricant are already getting involved, selling its NFTs before the game is launched this autumn. Cathy Hackl is an industry expert on the metaverse and has been a pioneer in developing and researching the space in her role as chief metaverse officer and CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group. “We’ll see an evolution of volumetric video and NFTs that will not only unlock unique access and experiences, but also take ownership of digital assets to new levels. We’re just scratching the surface of what NFTs will be able to unlock for fashion.”

The vocabulary of the future: 

NFT: A non-fungible token, or a unit of unique data stored on the blockchain system that can be traded and sold. Most digital files can become NFTs, but in the fashion industry, NFTs have mostly been through imagery. 

Crypto-currency: Different currencies that are used to trade digital items. The most popular are defined by three verification systems: proof of work like Ethereum, which has come under fire for using large amounts of energy through the mega computers needed to solve mathematical problems; proof of stake, where the person with a corresponding number of network coins verifies blocks; and proof of authority, where the users have to make themselves known to the network. The most popular cryptocurrency is Ethereum, although others also exist that are tailored to specific value environments. 

Blockchain: The system that allows NFTs to be verified through a record of transactions across several linked computers. What makes the blockchain unique is that records cannot be altered, making it a perfect system for traceability and transparency. 

Skins: Digital garments that exist in-game. Unlike NFTs, skins are rarely transferable through metaverses, but encompass anything that the avatar (online persona) is wearing. 

Metaverse: The future of the internet and a shared 3D virtual universe that users can exist in perpetually. The next generation of this online reality will be across many metaverses that all have different characteristics and communities.


What is the fashion designer’s place in the metaverse?

Are you familiar with the term “metaverse”? It was first coined by the author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, but according to Google Trends it reached its peak among internet searches in April 2021 and seems to be keeping a high score since then. But why is everyone in the fashion industry suddenly interested in the Metaverse?

Daniella Loftus, This Outfit Does Not Exist

Are you familiar with the term “metaverse”? It was first coined by the author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, but according to Google Trends it reached its peak among internet searches in April 2021 and seems to be keeping a high score since then. But why is everyone in the fashion industry suddenly interested in the Metaverse?

Going beyond the obvious race for investment – Epic Games raised $1 Billion in funding last April to support its long-term vision for the Metaverse, which include many market opportunities for fashion brands – there are several unanswered questions about the topic. What will the metaverse mean for the fashion industry? And how will it impact fashion designers?

What is the metaverse?

“It is not gaming”, said Richard Hobbs from BNV, a marketplace for designers and brands to be present in multiple virtual environments. For Hobbs, “the metaverse is anything where a digital asset can be easily transferred across multiple use cases.” Not forgetting that it is open ended and still in its early stages of development.

Even though we already know the metaverse is not gaming, it is a fact that gaming is leading the way. An industry that, in 2020, was worth 152.1 billion dollars, and doesn’t seem to stop growing. Through gaming, people are getting to know the metaverse and making it part of their everyday life.

Fashion merges with gaming

Leslie Holden, co-founder of The Digital Fashion Group, believes in the potential of merging fashion and gaming as a career path for young designers: “In the UK alone there are around 5000 fashion design graduates each year, with limited opportunities for employment. I see the metaverse as opening up new marketplaces, new opportunities, and new occupations for creatives in fashion. We are desperately needing to ensure that there is less waste of fashion talent and the metaverse can supply the answer to a lack of opportunity in the traditional fashion industry “

And Holden continues, “the technology we’re using today to create the metaverse has been developed by the gaming industry, which means that the tools weren’t developed for fashion, and like the development of the metaverse itself, we do need to ensure a joined up approach. Epic Games knows this and they are already investing in fashion, and I see the metaverse as the beginning of a new definition of fashion with purpose, potentially powered by new partners. It can be a fantastic opportunity for fashion designers.”

When it comes to fashion in the metaverse, we are talking about wearability. And as explained by Richard Hobbs, currently if you buy an asset in one metaverse you can not wear it in another, because there is not a single metaverse. There are different metaverses being built by different initiatives. Some of them are owned by companies, some of them are more in the decentralised area. But both have multiple standards, multiple formats and require a single way where you can own something digitally and be able to utilise that. The current emergence of decentralised autonomous organisations facilitate the concept of NFTs and digital asset ownership. And this opened up business opportunities to fashion brands and designers as well.

Fashion designers in the metaverse

Daniella Loftus, from This Outfit Does Not Exist, a platform for digital fashion, believes that designers have a key role at the centre of this new universe: “I see the digital designer’s place as ensuring that we are immersed in the digital world”, said Loftus.

Loftus defines digital fashion in three distinct forms: the first is phygital, digital fashion designed for the aim of producing physical garments. The second form is physical and digital combined, which is digital fashion that can be worn using augmented or virtual reality. And the third is fully digital, which is digital fashion that is sold directly to an avatar. The metaverse is concerned with the last two forms: physical and digital combined, and digital-only.

“If you look at the way we consider fashion in the physical world, it allows us to shape our perceptions of ourselves when we are wearing garments, but also to shape others’ perceptions of us. As we move to the metaverse, you have those functionalities really enhanced. It does not only ensure that you feel a certain way about yourself, or others feel a certain way about you. It is immersing you in that virtual environment and defining the rules of interaction within that environment,” continued Daniella Loftus. In this scenario, designers have a unique place in guiding us to express ourselves, and allowing us to participate in worlds that otherwise would be unfamiliar.

And what skills should designers develop to be this guide for the metaverse? According to Sean Chiles, co-founder of The Digital Fashion Group, “in addition to the digital mindset, fashion designers have to be able to translate the emotions that arise when researching the zeitgeist, and working with physical elements such as fabrics, technical trimmings, etc. This is the connection to the physical. Learning to work with it and blend the real with the unreal, is the primary skill I think that fashion designers need to know how to transition into a new digital reality for the future.”

For Chiles, the new techniques required for digital fashion and 3D design are very similar to bespoke tailoring or couture design where you create an outfit for one customer. “Digitally you can create so many different iterations of a unique asset that there’s going to be a flood of creative output, a flood of creative NFT’s, that can only exist within the metaverse,” he said. This creates a different kind of pressure for the designer, as he concludes, “in the sense of the metaverse and digital fashion design, mastering AI is going to be really interesting as AI can help alleviate this issue.”

Advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence, and the increased ability of cloud servers to run 3D applications and rapidly render the files created, are all contributing to the expansion of the metaverse. But as Richard Hobbs points out this is open ended and in its early stages.

While the technology is still developing, we can seize the opportunity to consider the best ways to create the right mindset for this new future, understanding the metaverse as a borderless landscape where we can discover new forms of social interaction.

You can get a sneak peak of video here:

By Guest Contributor 5 Sept 2021

This article is a collaboration between The Digital Fashion Group Academy and FashionUnited and it was based on the Webinar “Fashion Design Meets the Metaverse”, hosted by TDFGA in partnership with Parsons N Ventures. Author: Lívia Pinent, Digital Professor for Research at The Digital Fashion Group Academy.

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Fashion Week Istanbul



14-17 October 2021

A journey from the 1800s to present day Istanbul

With Fashion Week Istanbul presents

Istanbul State of Mind Exhibition

Fashion Week Istanbul presents Istanbul State of Mind exhibition, a special art selection in which different creative disciplines that influence fashion and are influenced by it come together for the first time in Turkey in that sense, will meet with art lovers between 14-17 October as part of Fashion Week Istanbul 2021. Kerimcan Güleryüz is the curator of the exhibition, Merve Tuna is the fashion director of the fashion integration side of the exhibition, Ali Taptık is the Theatrical Director responsible for the selection and performance of the literary texts, and Billur Turan is the Art Director/director of the set design.

Within the scope of Fashion Week Istanbul, Fashion Week Istanbul presents Istanbul State of Mind exhibition is getting ready to feature a special experience to be performed by theatrical artists, a fictive world structured around the ideas of home and street, presenting the collections of Turkish designers at the Likör Fabrikası (Liquor Factory) and Akaretler. While the visitors will bear witness to the “home” life in Istanbul with the special selection of the exhibition, which will be held in Akaretler with the house concept, another fictive world is designed at the Liquor Factory based on the street concept to keep the streets of Istanbul alive from the 1800s to the present day.

The exhibition will feature artworks carrying traces of Istanbul like paintings, photographs, videos and multimedia alongside theatrical and stage performances, and installations. In this project, curated by Kerimcan Güleryüz, the visitors of Fashion Week Istanbul presents Istanbul State of Mind Exhibition will not only witness the life in the city but also explore Istanbul from a different perspective, that of the artists’.

Fashion Week Istanbul presents Istanbul State of Mind Exhibition,
A cross section of an Istanbul Apartment

“An Istanbul Apartment” in Akaretler, designed as part of the Fashion Week Istanbul presents Istanbul State of Mind exhibition, is designed as a multi-layered exhibition. The exhibition, which invites art lovers to the homes of the residents of an Istanbul apartment, is designed by Empire and Onagöre. Presenting the latest products of fashion designers from Turkey in a special art selection, the exhibition brings contemporary artworks and young

theatre performers together with the audience on a same level stage by uniquely interpreting parts from important works of Turkish literature.

Fashion, which is nurtured by the city and its creative industries, will be presented with an original curation that’s far from being a static exhibition as it brings together interactive performances for the first time in the fields of contemporary art, performing arts, design, music and literature based on the concept of home in Akaretler. Curated only by Turkish household names in the fields of the arts, performing arts, design, and literature, the exhibition is also a trailblazer in a sense.

The show on stage can also be deemed as a rehearsal, which the visitors of the exhibition can personally tour as the actors wearing the designs of famous fashion designers at the reading rehearsals will be performing at certain times of the day, every day between October 14-17, in apartments numbered 25 and 27 in Akaretler. Fashion Week Istanbul presents Istanbul State of Mind exhibition, edited by Kerimcan Güleryüz, Billur Turan, Merve Tuna and Onagöre, brings together artists from different branches, today’s visual artists, fashion designers and performance artists.

In the Liquor Factory, designed based on the “street” concept, there is a setup organized in the form of a museum on the upper floor, where artwork on Istanbul are exhibited and on the lower floor, a journey through the streets of Istanbul from the 1800s to the present day is presented. At the entrance of the Liquor Factory, art lovers are greeted by a live painting and special pieces from the designers’ collections in a performative setup.

Fashion Week Istanbul has been supported by the Türkiye Promotion Group for the last 3 seasons and is run by a working group led by IHKIB, which includes representatives of MTD, IMA and IHKIB – that is, representatives from all areas of the fashion industry. FWI, which has shifted to the digital platform due to the pandemic and thus, has brought Turkish fashion design to the global fashion industry much faster and more effectively, has decided to bring the important names of every field touched by fashion to the global platform with a project that has not been realized until now. It is an extraordinary project where we will come together physically with both Turkish and foreign audiences – within the framework of the pandemic rules.

In the exhibition, in which artwork focusing on Istanbul are on display, everyone who is in love with Istanbul will re-embrace Istanbul, not the one they know and love but have forgotten about, an Istanbul that some have never known, but met and fell in love with.

Organized by the Istanbul Apparel Exporters Association (IHKIB), FWI is supported by the Türkiye Promotion Group (TTG) established by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) under the leadership of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Trade, and is carried out in cooperation with the Fashion Designers Association (MTD) and the Istanbul Fashion Academy (IMA).

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Fashion Innovation – Top 22 Technologies Shaping The Fashion Industry (2021)

When it comes to fashion innovation, consumer adoption and constant technological development are critical.

As both industries (tech and fashion) are future-driven and consumer-focused, adoption happens naturally.

But, when it comes to technology, not all developments are suitable for the fashion industry.

From digital influencers to AI fashion designers and material innovation, these are the top 22 fashion innovations of 2020-2021, shaping fashion in 2021.

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Latest digital fashion trends: insights into virtual clothing

Latest digital fashion trends: insights into virtual clothing

Without a doubt, many digital trends have emerged and evolved very fast during COVID-19 pandemic. Also when it comes to digital fashion and virtual clothing. We have investigated the scenarios and new perspective.


1 The rise of digital fashion: a new era for clothing?

2 Virtual Try-On: putting digital clothes on3 Digital avatars: augmenting our physical reality

3.1 The Gaming industry: fresh and dynamic resources for the digital fashion

3.2 Social media: a challenging opportunity

4 Digital wardrobes: get virtually dressed

5 A more sustainable way?

5.1 Discover more: