Metaverse has been the topic of discussion ever since Zuckerberg launched Meta. But what is it in reality, and when will we be able to experience it?
Metaverse is an online virtual world that encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, video, and other means of communication where users will "live" within a digital universe. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of newly formed Meta, estimates that it can take almost 10-11 years before the main features become mainstream. However, some aspects of Metaverse already exist, such as virtual reality headsets and ultra-speed broadband facilities. All this sounds so cool, but you may ask what will happen with the fashion industry after the introduction of the Metaverse.
Fashion is no longer limited to physical clothes these days. Since the stores were shut down during the pandemic, the stores went online along with the clothes. Yes, we are talking about clothes in digital format, which you can't actually wear.
The luxury brands and digital designers are bringing changes in the fashion industry as they are partnering with mainstream fashion brands to bring them into digital fashion.
Many have high hopes for virtual fashion as it is thought to be an antidote to fast fashion and the wastes that are associated with all the aspects of fashion's overproduction. And the Metaverse is filled with new opportunities. Although the fashion industry is always about creativity and style, it has always been the target of criticism for being non-inclusive and disregarding climate change.
Metaverse, however, has the potential to go beyond physical attire. It is hoped to democratize fashion which will allow anyone with a computer and certain software to showcase their ideas and visions. Also, when the garments are created in a digital-only perspective, which will encourage unique designs which would not need to serve a certain purpose, just like our physical garments have to be of a certain type to protect us in different situations.
The news about the non-fungible token and digital fashion may have surfaced during the pandemic, but the fact is luxury fashion houses have been entering into the virtual world for a few years through gaming. This is obvious as the gaming world is the place where a large number of young people are present hence helping the luxury fashion houses attract the youth.
This digital fashion has sometimes been accompanied by physical collections of the same. For example, the autumn collection of Balenciaga, Afterworld: The Age of tomorrow, was launched as a video game rather than in a fashion show. Balenciaga's apparel will appear in the game as well in physical stores. Similarly, Burberry's first NFT partnership with Blankos Block Party was launched in August 2021.
For now, luxury brands may be dipping their toes in the Metaverse only through gaming and NFTs. However, there are a whole lot of designers and brands that are going a level up with "digital-first fashion," such as the Auroboros that is a "tech couture house." Tribute Brand is also one such nascent brand that has already launched its garment with luxury labels Jean Paul Gaultier and Sacai.
The message is clear, with the introduction of Metaverse, digital fashion will become altogether normalized. Digital fashion won't be only about clothes; rather, it will include a whole lot of things starting from AI models to wholesome fashion experiences. This will not only fill the gap between the real and virtual but also will reduce the carbon footprints caused due to the fast fashion industry. Virtual or digital fashion will help significantly in curbing wastage from the fashion industry. However, NFTs also have a huge amount of carbon footprint, and a solution to this impact is also being looked into to make optimum usage of virtual fashion.
The most beautiful aspect of digital fashion will be the infinite possibilities of garments designed by designers from every part of the globe.
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