Mailand, New York, Paris, the big fashion weeks are over. But the fashion cycle knows no break. A glance at the calendar now announces a big new event for March: a four-day digital fashion week featuring virtual shows, events, panels and shops.
The “MVFW”, the Metaverse Fashion Week, will take place for the first time in 2022 and aims to herald a new era of fashion. Virtual Fashion Week is scheduled for March 24-27, but only days before invitations from individual designers float through email inboxes. At that time, one or the other will hear for the first time about the event, which has not made a name for itself in the prospect and during which the digital fashion that avatars can wear will be shown and some will also be available to buy physically.
Accessible from anywhere, Metaverse Fashion Week is freely accessible. Provided you have an avatar. You do this by logging onto the Decentraland site, a digital event platform where you were able to visit a music festival last year, buy real estate and land, and are now invited to Fashion Week with your self. digital, because anyone who goes dancing or buys houses, probably needs the right outfit here too.
But even as you create the avatar, while choosing your hairstyle and skin color, you start to wonder if this is all a bad joke. Because Decentraland is a free 3D platform whose graphics are not photorealistic. That’s why the characters and the entire user interface look like they’re out of a video game from the year 2000. Wonderful sounds whisper in the background. Every Memoji on iPhone is closer to reality. Is this really the future? After all: a fancy sailor shirt is included in the avatar’s free standard wardrobe. If you wanted to expand it with the latest designer pieces, buy a so-called wearable, you should pull out your crypto wallet.
As virtual fashion week really kicks off, you get lost in this weird bubble. How do you orient yourself in events? Why does everything look so sad here? And where exactly is the Fashion District now, the place on Decentraland where virtual boutiques and brand showrooms are supposed to appear during fashion week, after-parties are visited and there is the possibility of buy digital clothes. People want to see the Liquid Paisley collection announced by Etro and try Hugo’s new virtual pieces. Two brands that have been there since the beginning of this season. You want to somehow enter fantastic dream worlds that spark your own imagination. But then the Metaverse crashes.
Recently, the virtual parallel world, which seems so futuristic and progressive, has been so popular that hardly any fashion house wanted to ignore it. Balenciaga went purely digital in 2020, Gucci or Ralph Lauren opened virtual pop-ups on other Metverse platforms. Two or three years ago, when digital fashion became a topic, Nike was immediately part of the metaverse as well. To where the future seems to happen and where you finally meet the hard-to-reach millennials.
Interesting designs in an amateur environment
Gucci also held an exhibition in the Roblox online game last year, where Alessandro Michele’s most important designs were available. Jonathan Simkhai showcased Second Life in the virtual world during New York Fashion Week last year. And in the Fortnite video game, you can put Balenciaga on your characters.
Terms like NFT were soon on everyone’s lips. Non-fungible tokens, certificates that authenticate virtual objects on a blockchain. So if you buy a virtual dress, the certificate gives you the security that no one else in the Metaverse is walking around with the exact same model. A unique piece that only exists in real life in haute couture or at a bespoke tailor.
Some of these items also look very interesting, especially if you are tired of old fashion trends being constantly revived. Brands like The Manufacturer or Tribute Brand have created their own aesthetic with their virtual designs, with artificial fabrics like cybersilk or sculptural silhouettes. Unlike in real life, the clothes do not limit freedom of movement virtually and can therefore be completely redesigned.
The fact that the first Metaverse Fashion Week is taking place is a logical consequence of the hype surrounding digital fashion. She just looks a little amateurish. Understandably, some big brands are still hesitant to set up shop in Decentraland. Experts warn against approaching this first virtual fashion week too hastily and without strategy. If in doubt, an appearance could have a negative impact on the market value. If you wanted to place the brands in a higher quality and more professional environment, the event should probably be more exclusive. But one of the fundamental principles of the metaverse is to be freely accessible to everyone. But the biggest challenge seems to be taking fashion seriously in this video game in the first place.