There is very little scope of somebody here being unaware about the word “Metaverse”. Ever since Mark Zuckerberg changed is company “Facebook’s” name to “Meta” during the pandemic, the concept of Metaverse is becoming more and more popular amongst people from around the world. The word “Metaverse” has been paving its way through every industry and domain in the recent few years, and the fashion industry is no different. Yes, Metaverse has made its way through the fashion industry and is ready to transform it in a manner that has never been witnessed before. We can in a way say that the fashion industry is going through a digital transformation with the emergence of Metaverse. The fashion industry has seen incredible penetration of technological advancements in the last decade. With the breakthrough of online shopping of apparel, accessories, handbags, footwear etc. the fashion industry indeed has gone through a major transformation in the way they reach out to their customers, and this is primarily possible because of digital empowerment of the industry. Unlike before where people would have to physically visit stores to buy fashion products like clothes, jewellery, footwear etc. now people can place their orders of their favourite product from any part of the world, from the comfort of their couch – this means that people do not have to take the trouble to step out of their homes anymore. All they need now is a smartphone and internet connection, and yes of course the funds! In this article we will explain to you what the Metaverse is and the impact of this technological advancement in the fashion industry.
“According to Emily from Oliver Wicks“
What is Metaverse
Metaverse is envisioned to be an immersive digital space where people can work, study, shop, play etc. all in a virtual set up. Unlike web 2.0, this will be completely 3D and with resemble real world scenarios and objects. It is known as the future of digital interactions. Even the term Metaverse has come into the limelight only very recently, it is important to understand that the term was first coined in a sci-fi novel “Snow Crash” which was published in 1991 and was written by the American writer, Neal Stephenson. In this novel Stephenson narrates how a boy would switch to his virtual life which was in parallel to his real world life, and how both the lives this boy lived, were so different from one another. The concept of Metaverse explained in this novel and the concept of metaverse we now see in the world are very similar to each other. Now people from all around the world can enter the Metaverse with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) wearable devices and do their day to day activities like shopping for grocery, watching movies with friends, buying houses, buying cars, going to school or college etc. all in a 3 dimensional virtual set up. Here they can not only see 3 dimensional objects and people but can also feel them. Imagine if you could walk the streets of New York without having to stamp your passport.. The Metaverse allows people to do all this and much more all from the comfort of their homes.
Experts say that the Metaverse will soon overpower social media and will be the new hub for people to have digital interactions and carry out business. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people will use the Metaverse for at least 1 hour every day. Another report from Gartner says that by 2026, 30% of businesses will have Metaverse compliant products and services ready to offer their customers. Also, tech giants and investors from all around the world are pumping in millions of dollars to make this technology phenomenon a mass adoption for the globe. Giants like Microsoft, Google, Unity Software, Meta, Shopify, Roblox, Nvidia etc. are active investors in the Metaverse and have high hopes from the technology. Metaverse concerts and fashion shows have witnessed the highest footfall of people from different parts of the world, and these numbers are only going to grow with time.
Impact of Metaverse in the Fashion Industry
The global fashion industry is already a multi-million dollar marketplace and the online clothing and apparel industry is estimated to reach a value of 1.2 trillion dollars by 2025. The demand for high end fashion products is only rising with time, there could be many factors effecting this including digital and technological acceleration. Fashion trends are changing every day and people from all around the world leave no stone unturned to keep up with the ever evolving trends the fashion industry has to offer. The fashion industry is cashing on the Metaverse to open newer markets and reach their audience in completely new approach. The Metaverse has already witnessed a 4 day long fashion week with runway shows and panel discussion all on a virtual 3D platform. Brand like Tommy Hilfiger, Roberto Cavalli, etc. took part in it and millions of people from different parts of the world attended this elaborate and first of its kind fashion week which was hosted on Decentraland. People attended the fashion week with their avatars and could roam around and even shop for things they like on this immersive platform. A unique feature of the Metaverse is its use of NFTs i.e Non Fungible Tokens. People can not only make purchases for themselves and get it delivered to their real world address, but in fact, they can also but t-shirts, shoes, handbags etc. for their avatar in the form of Non Fungible Tokens. These tokens can be exchanged or re-sold again for a higher price or value, as per the owner’s discretion. This means that the Metaverse opens up new avenues for the resale marketplace of fashion products too. Many high end brands have appreciating value of their fashion products for example – Balenciaga handbags, and with the adoption of Metaverse in the fashion industry people can now monetize on the NFTs of their fashion products which are predicted to last for a longer time as compared to the real product.
Currently, fashion brands are actively working with game developing companies to make gaming costumes and skins for players to use for their avatars. Balenciaga collaborated with Fortnite and made a Balenciaga- branded hoodie NFT that can also be bought in the real world, this price of this hoodie is 725 Euros. The brand Lacoste too did something very interesting by leveraging the Metaverse platform, they launched a collection of their fashion products in the form of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens). People could own parts of their favourite NFT and this also got them access to connect with other owners of the NFT on a discord for discussions. Another interesting fashion house leveraging the Metaverse platform is Ralph Lauren – This fashion house created digital snow gears for Roblox’s Winter Escape and whipped a storm in the fashion industry.
A very noteworthy offering of the Metaverse for the fashion industry is that it is cost effective in a manner that designers do not need to invest in physical materials and accessories to create their fashion NFTs. This is purely digital. Fashion brands can launch their products on the digital platform in 3D without using real fabric or sequence etc. This helps them save millions of dollars annually. And lastly, with the emergence of the Metaverse, the fashion industry is now able to cause less damage to the environment as compared to before. The hazards of creating new clothing and then the disposal of the same was causing immense damage to our environment and ecosystem which can now be reduced to a great extent, helping us restore the environment on a larger scale.
“This means that the Metaverse opens up new avenues for the resale marketplace of fashion products too.”
The fashion world indeed is witnessing one of the greatest digital transformation in its space and this is just going to get bigger and better with time. Experts believe that the Metaverse is here to stay, and the fashion industry is in its apex to adopt this technology mainstream.
Marketing Head, TECHVED Consulting