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Back on the Metaverse catwalk …

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

Following this years’ Metaverse Fashion Summit 2022, which ran from the 28th to the 30th November, we step back onto the catwalk for another look at fashion in the Metaverse. We take a look at this years’ conference, along with other recent fashion market moves in the Metaverse.

The Metaverse Fashion Summit is an annual event hosted by the Metaverse Fashion Council, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) dedicated to promoting the fashion industry within the Metaverse. The event “brings together the strongest leaders of the industry to discuss and develop the future, policies, standards, and rules of metaverse fashion”. This years’ program included speakers from the Metaverse Fashion Industry, creative events and presentations, a Demo Day where start-ups, projects, and entrepreneurs will meet angel investors and venture capitalists and an awards ceremony to honour the 100 most important and influential players and projects of 2022. It also included a plethora of talks from Mext, an “all-in-one B2B Metaverse platform”. Mext allows business to create a virtual venue or stand in the Mext B2B Metaverse, “a persistent digital business place open to tech companies and community to build new customer experiences, develop business and build their metaverse strategy.” It also included talks from 8XR, SWAGGA, and Spatial.

8XR is a UK-based start-up focused on simplifying the creation of virtual; reality (VR) content and providing everyone with tools to create three dimensional content and experiences on the immersive web. SWAGGA is a physical-digital (phygital), or “fashion-tainment oriented metaverse” that seeks to “transform and pioneer the way we socialize, interact and entertain in virtual world.” Spatial is a metaverse platform “dedicated to helping creators and brands build their own spaces in the metaverse”.

We’ve previously looked at how the fashion industry has been quick to embrace the Metaverse, with numerous collaborations between designers and virtual platforms. Many fashion companies have been casually dipping their toes in the Metaverse for a while now, including luxury lifestyle brand Ralph Lauren. Back in 2021 the American fashion company partnered with ZEPETO, an avatar-building Metaverse application developed by the South Korean NAVER Z Corporation. The Ralph Lauren x ZEPETO digital apparel collection included over 50 unique items for users’ avatars along with special items such as two limited edition skateboards.

Ralph Lauren and ZEPATO also created three distinct digital, interactive spaces within the ZEPETO platform, including a virtual representation of Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue Flagship Store, from which K-Pop band TOMORROW X TOGETHER hosted a live virtual event. At the time Ralph Lauren’s Chief Digital Officer Alice Delahunt said the partnership with ZEPETO “further demonstrates our belief that innovating in virtual worlds is essential to engaging the next generation of consumers” and that the company was “making our product available to purchase and wear digitally and allowing consumers to experience the brand in immersive new ways is the next frontier”.

All fashion companies will need to operate in the Metaverse in order to engage with their customers and every item of clothing from baseball caps to trainers, will come with a digital twin, allowing people to show off their personal style in the virtual world. In December 2021, American athletic footwear, apparel and accessories giant Nike acquired RTFKT, a company that “leverages the latest in game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one of a kind virtual products and experiences.” And Nike recently debuted .Swoosh, a new platform that will be the home to the sportswear brand’s virtual footwear, apparel, and accessories. Nike wants to build a robust community in .Swoosh where users will be able to gain access to exclusive events, collaborate with Nike designers on virtual product, and even earn royalties from the sale of those products. According to General Manager of Nike Virtual Studios, Ron Faris, users will be able to “collect, trade, and flex Nike virtual products” and you will be able to “go to IRL events with your token-gated virtual creations.”

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