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After a month of constant hype about social media, digital media and the 2.0 and 3.0 incarnations of the internet, the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) debuted on March 24. To some, the fashion spectacle – which took place on the Decentraland platform and featured some of the world’s most recognizable luxury brands – was seen as a kind of Web3 democratization of global high fashion.
Rather than the shows being highly exclusive events available only to the industry’s richest, most connected, or best-known celebrities, anyone with a Decentraland avatar can log in and sit in front of the tracks, browse the Luxury Fashion District and experience lavish attend after parties.
But for all the anticipation surrounding the first MVFW, the event itself was a fledgling product with no definitive proof of concept. And like almost anything that faltered in its early days, it inspired far more questions than answers. How popular was he really? How profitable would this be for fashion brands? What was the relationship between a brand’s metaverse footprint and the real label and its physical clothing lines? There was a lot of uncertainty.
Here is my best attempt at answering some of these questions and overcoming some of this uncertainty.
1. MVFW 2022 was the beta year
Decentralized saw 108,000 unique visitors in the four days that surrounded MVFW, a figure that doesn’t exclusively represent these avatars committed to the fashion show. In comparison, the two annual editions of New York Fashion Week together attract about 230,000 people. But comparing the inaugural MVFW to its real-life counterparts is reckless folly; while New York Fashion Week has been around in one form or another since 1943, Decentraland’s version just launched this year. In other words, it is almost impossible to judge the event as a success or a failure based on this statistic.
Related: Metaverse Fashion Week: The Future of Fashion Shows
According to numerous reports, the procedure had many flaws. People have been complaining about glitchy graphics, lagging processing speeds, and recurring browser crashes. The week’s main events – the parades themselves – were notable for the relatively low number of participants and the chaotic and unregulated way they interacted with their surroundings (some journalists reported seeing avatars of the audience crushing the tracks in a crudely simple show ). There was, all things considered, some sort of user experience (UX) mess that spoke of an event and a world still a long way from its fully matured peak form.
Rather than dwelling too much on all the superficial imperfections of the MVFW, though, people would do much better to see it as a product in its most rudimentary form: a promising prototype. Decentraland will continue to upgrade its servers and introduce updated versions of its blockchain-based software, and the technology will eventually be able to seamlessly accommodate many more avatars in its virtual reality world. And as the ensuing fashion weeks are more carefully planned and more thoroughly executed—with the kind of learned social norms, etiquette and protocols that mirror the physical world—there’s no reason to doubt its durability.
2. The Luxury Fashion District is ready for a breakthrough
MVFW represented the Web3 debut of some of the world’s most iconic luxury brands, including Selfridges, Dolce&Gabbana, Hogan and Chufy. These brands have officially planted their flags on Decentraland’s metaversal platform by opening their digital stores in the Luxury Fashion District, located in the greater Fashion District of Genesis City in Decentraland. And while reviews for many of the week’s clothing-themed events spanned quite a range, the grand openings of these new “flagship” stores served as a stunning demonstration of the fashion industry’s capabilities in the metaverse.
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The high-fashion houses occupy buildings of austere and often futuristic architecture – the cutting-edge, black and purple multi-storey structure of Selfridges resembled two Zeppelin airships stacked on top of each other – meticulous attention to fine detail and interiors that retain their signature style and amenities with dazzling panache (the Dundas store featured 3D renderings of the inimitable diamond-collared panthers). Considering how quickly it all came together — and, presumably, how new to the metaverse most of these brands and their leadership — it was an impressive display.
Perhaps more than anything else, it explained how luxury fashion companies could recreate their coveted shopping experiences in Web3 in ways that were simply not possible in Web2’s flat, transactional mechanics.
3. Fashion in the Metaverse must and will evolve
Despite all of MVFW’s flashy aesthetics and pageantry, the event’s relationship to the company’s actual products remains haphazard and largely unresolved. Some brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger, offered clicks to their major ecommerce sites. Others, such as Dundas, have given store visitors the opportunity to purchase NFT clothing — clothes and accessories that their avatars can wear in Decentraland. A third hybrid approach allowed individuals to purchase NFTs that could be exchanged for exclusive physical attire. There was no single dominant model for approaching the financial dimension of fashion week, and many brands probably interpreted it as nothing more than a marketing opportunity.
Related: Luxury Brands Trying to Join the Metaverse
One of the seemingly inescapable questions I now ask myself is whether the fashion industry — hitherto an avid and aggressive early adopter of the metaverse — will use Web3 as a simple, thinly veiled platform for Web2 capitalism, or whether it has something more grandiose and avant-garde.
While the number of visitors to traditional brick and mortar stores continues to decline – even in tenuous shopping districts such as Fifth Avenue – some consumers will still crave the immersive couture experience of walking through the carefully curated and honest environments of designer stores and searching for the perfect accessory, piece of clothing or clothing. beauty item. The possibilities for Decentraland and the Metaverse to recapture that sense of material enchantment and fulfill a seemingly timeless desire are virtually limitless. Only time will tell whether luxury brands make the most of this.