Who would have guessed that the first email transmitted across the internet would soon become its own world in which individuals may freely engage with one another? Since Web 1.0, the internet has evolved into static websites and personal sites with little user participation or content development. Then came Web 2.0, sometimes known as the “Social Web”. The amount of user-generated material increased, and a community of netizens was established.
During this digital era, social media reigns supreme. Our civilization is on the verge of a new beginning, Web 3.0, which will usher in a completely new world. People in technology refer to this as the metaverse, and its emergence spurred Facebook to alter its name to “Meta”. There are advantages for companies to join the web since it allows them to connect with a large number of individuals. Fashion brands, on the other hand, have been resistant to the concept of selling their items online since it may be perceived as cheapening their brand.
While it is in the brand’s best interests to maintain its reputation, what these brands are foregoing is another source of revenue. During the height of the epidemic, luxury companies closed physical storefronts, thus cutting off any brand’s business source. It undoubtedly helps buffer the blow of shuttered storefronts for firms that have focused resources to establishing a user-friendly website where customers can quickly make their purchase.
Putting Money Into the Virtual World
Fashion firms are investing in the virtual world because they understand the necessity of staying ahead of the curve and not losing the first-mover advantage. The recently finished metaverse fashion week, which was presented on the browser-based platform Decentraland, demonstrates the growing interest in digital clothes. According to a Nasdaq study, Morgan Stanley insiders estimate that the virtual fashion sector would be worth US$55 billion by 2030. This shows to be a profitable enterprise that will help society in the long term as civilization grows more immersed in the metaverse.
The metaverse is a whole new universe that has yet to be discovered; its potential is enormous. Just as we would need clothing in the real world, our lifelike avatars do as well while traversing cyberspace. Digital fashion is not a new notion; in the game world, it is known as “skins”. Luxury fashion labels, such as Balenciaga, are taking the concept to the next level. The Paris-based fashion firm collaborated with gaming titan Fortnite to design gowns for customers’ online personalities.
Fashion firms construct their worlds within the metaverse in addition to creating online apparel that customers may wear digitally. Luxury fashion firms such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton have already begun to expand their online presence. To commemorate its centennial, the former organized a virtual exhibition on the online game Roblox. Gamers may explore the universe created by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, including significant designs for the company, as well as purchase rare collectibles. Louis Vuitton commemorated its 200th anniversary with a smartphone game in which users seek for hidden NFTs by artist Beeple.
Image: Louis Vuitton
Creating a branded world will assist innovative branding initiatives, allow for immersive consumer experiences, and drive excitement among highly desired customer groups. Another crucial element to highlight is that the creative freedom that companies (particularly designers) may get is the erasing of physical world limits. It is claimed to be less harmful to the environment and contributes to the conservation of our limited natural resources. Furthermore, brands are not required to deal with supply chain issues.
Luxury Fashion Labels Must Assess the Opportunity
Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, stated in an interview with Forbes that 10-15% of our wardrobes may become digital in the future. As our lives become more interwoven with the virtual world, there will be even more competitors in this expanding industry. The world’s younger generation is made up of digital natives who are comfortable spending real money on products that only exist in the digital environment. This demographic will account for a sizable share of the market in the coming years.
The newspaper emphasized what fashion firms need to do to succeed in this highly competitive environment in a special study titled State of Fashion 2022 by the Business of Fashion and McKinsey. “Brands will require a strategic perspective as well as the desire to form relationships and use a diverse pool of talent to generate high-quality content, either in-house or through third-party collaborations”. In an industry rife with hype, it will be advantageous to search out business cases that arouse interest while remaining on-brand”.
“To accomplish so, a fresh lens on ROI may be required, concentrating on less quantifiable advantages such as brand awareness and marketing influence, as well as setting flexible objectives that are calibrated to potential, rather than relying just on the bottom line”. Flexibility will be essential, and businesses should exercise caution when allocating cash. The hazards, however, should not stop people from participating in this rapidly expanding digital realm”.
For the time being, the sky is the limit for fashion businesses interested in the metaverse, and as previously said, the world will only get more intertwined with the online realm. This suggests that demand for virtual fashion is here to stay, but businesses should be cautious with their forays into the metaverse at this early stage.