Digital fashion is here to stay

As incredible as it may seem, digital fashion has developed so much that it already needs its own fashion week with everything that implies: from fashion shows and presentations of new collections to public speeches and parties with real DJs. The first ever digital fashion week took place from 23 to 27 March at Decentraland, a decentralized virtual social platform on the Ethereum blockchain.

Previously, Jonathan Simkhai presented his collection on Second Life just before New York Fashion Week. After the show, evening wear skins can be purchased on NFT to dress up user avatars in Second Life.

Decentraland also held the first full-fledged fashion week in history, lasting five days. On the first day, Selfridges launched a shop where the NFT of the real exhibition currently held in London was presented: the future of Victor Vasarely’s work and the influence it had on his contemporary Paco Rabbane called UNIVERSE. Players can purchase NFT clothing and artwork from the Vasarely Foundation.

The second day

During the second day of the Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW), there were many round tables, modeling workshops, interviews, opening of the UNXD Luxury District and mini-games. After all, we are in the game space. And perhaps the most significant parts were two shows by Dolce & Gabbana and Philip Plein, as this is why both gamers and fashionistas have been paying attention to MVFW.

Related: NFT adoption: tokens on the catwalk at Metaverse Fashion Week

Decentraland’s graphics immediately sparked questions from many Instagram users who commented on the brands’ posts on MVFW. Decentraland launched in beta in 2017 and many creators questioned the quality of the graphics, working with what they had. Due to the quality, the shows looked ridiculous, forcing brands to only post images of the skins that could be purchased in the game. For example, Dolce & Gabbana chose cats with glasses and hairstyles as digital models. Their show took place in a virtual hall with a circular podium and flowers.

Each cat had their own style and the collection echoed the brand’s true show, both in the scenography and the leathers presented. This season, D&G fans will fall into logomania in the Metaverse and will be wearing animal prints, down jackets, bulky shoulders and sunglasses, beaming with happiness.

Philipp Plein held his show with a huge skull, noting the brand symbol. The skull opened and his tongue unwound to introduce the models walking the show. Philip Plein fans this metaverse season should wear glowing goggles or breathing masks, cat ear helmets, down jackets, wings and robes.

On the brand’s website, the prices of the skins sold just off the runway started at $ 1,500 for Moon $ urfer and jumped to $ 15,000 for Platinum $ urfer. These skins come with a special treatment: a small skeleton sitting on the shoulder, probably to justify the cost.

After the show, everyone was invited to go to a party where Plein beamed from home to join the party, bragging on his Instagram stories that his clothes were first showcased in the Metaverse. The designer wore the personalized skin of his brand: a helmet with cat ears. It is clear that the Metaverse fashion loves cats.

Additionally, many brands have opened digital boutiques in the Metaverse. In the Luxury District, shoppers can find Dolce & Gabbana and Philip Plein, as well as the Jacob & Co luxury watch boutique and a Hèrmes Birkin bag shop. Are there any other ways that would allow you to emphasize your status in the Metaverse, other than a Birkin and a watch?

Related: NFT fashion lands on the catwalk as designers launch into the Metaverse

Jacob & Co has launched “Astronomy Metaverse”, a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that includes eight clocks, one clock for a planet in the Solar System. “The clocks of the five closest planets to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter) were produced as unique physical clocks (which include a clock NFT), while the three most distant planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune ) have fragmented into multiple digital-only variants.

The third day

The third day, Etro fashion show and presentation of the Dress X collection. The Etro show was the biggest failure of the entire MVFW, as the style of medium avatars in mediocre clothes with branded Buta designs was enough for a digital collection in the Metaverse. The show was held in the same venue as Dolce & Gabbana, but with fewer special effects and not enough splendor and style.

The behavior of the audience was far from perfect: many users were just rushing close to the stage, ruining the show. It was clear that the organizers had no technical restrictions to prevent this, or it was not intended. Fans did not like the show and canceled the presentation of the collection.

The fifth day

On the last day, there was a presentation of Estée Lauder, the first cosmetic brand that has had great results in the Metaverse. They unveiled a product that gave the Avatars a haze of gold glitter, which looked amazing. As Estée Lauder’s clever branding move, she gave away gold glitter for free – users were happy and their avatars sparkled.

There was also a show by the Dundas brand with dresses with ties and glitter coming out of your avatars. In fact, there was nothing particularly exceptional: he repeated the physical collection, playing with the concept of dressing yourself. Now, users can dress up their avatars. The models they used were more humanized and less clumsy.

The final deal was the Auroboros x Grimes Immersive Experience party with the performance of Grimes. It was clear to everyone that she moved much better than the standard Avatars and even better than the runway models in this metaverse. She wore a snake-scaled dress and had long braids. Grimes seemed to have lived in the Metaverse for a long time: she simply adapted.

After five days of MVFW observation, it’s nice to see so many brands taking part in the new page in the history of the fashion industry, even if they couldn’t predict the outcome of this experiment. The shows didn’t look what brands expected, as made clear by publications on their social networks. This is because brands have posted the best photos from the show and not the reality of pixelated avatars and plain looks.

Perhaps the graphics were created specifically to make viewers feel nostalgic, and then surprise us with stunning results and an evolution of what the future of MVFW will be like, even with realistic impressions of the garments and models wearing them.

We just have to hope that next fashion week is more technologically advanced and that Balenciaga joins the list as it appears to be the pioneer of digital fashion in the world of luxury.

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Inna Komvarova is the founder of the popular fashion Telegram channel Mamkina. In 2019, he quit his job as the head of the industrial sales department of a major climate company and started working full-time in fashion media.