When we think of interacting with fashion now, we think of buying fashion online, or going in store, trying it on and make a decision to buy it or not. But if we imagine fashion in a few decades this model is definitely going to change. No longer going to a store would actually be important, you can try the clothes that you want digitally, see everything from all angles to the minutest details. The future of fashion isn’t driving to a store to make sure you’re buying clothing that fits. It’s not a limited shopping experience on an online store. It’s being able to virtually see, touch and experience products as if you’re really there.
This change will be driven by Metaverse, which in simple terms can be understood as blurring the boundaries of physical and digital world. The internet will not be restricted to your screens of laptop, phones but you will be able to interact with it like you do it in real life due to developments in AR and VR. I would recommend watching this movie Ready Player one to show what a possible version of metaverse could look like.
What are fashion brands doing?
Brands are already embracing this metaverse wave. In Aug 2021 Gucci sold a Dionysus purse for 350,000 Robux (the currency used on Roblox), equivalent to about $4,100 — more than it charges for the real bag. In October 2021, Dolce & Gabbana auctioned a nine-piece collection of NFTs, including a digital tiara made with “gems that can’t quite be found on Earth,” for $5.7 million.
Balenciaga released its Fall 2021 collection through a gaming app and famously partnered with the video game Fortnite to create a series of “skins” for the game’s characters. The company has also announced it’s plan to open up a business unit to explore the opportunities in the metaverse.
So far, most of the fashion world’s investments in the metaverse have been through video game skins (cosmetics that customize characters).
Why it is important for brands to make this shift?
There are few reasons why it is important for brands to make this shift.
It is a lucrative revenue stream. According to Morgan Stanley, the metaverse could help luxury brands expand their total addressable market by over 10% by 2030, good enough for more than $50 billion in additional revenues. At the same time it is also a very profitable business with EBITA upto 70%. This is because brands don’t have to manufacture, ship, spend money on labor, buy raw material. They can relaunch vast collections in the digital realm from their archives.
This could evolve a dominant strategy to attract GenZ to buy their products. These future consumers are totally digital natives and are equally concerned about the way their online personas.
Digital fashion is also inherently sustainable, with the production of a single digital garment requiring 97% less carbon and 872 fewer gallons of water than a psychical garment, according to DressX, a digital fashion startup. Plus, there’s no leftover inventory at the end of the season that must be discounted, donated or destroyed
How this will alter the Fashion Industry?
This will open up fashion industry to a whole new level. Graphic designer from different backgrounds can now design their digital fashion and sell it on online store. You don’t really need to know fashion to be a fashion designer. In the metaverse anything will work that makes you look cool.
It will also will give brands to test out their products in the physical world before taking it out in the real world as per the feed back.
In the hind sight as more and more people will be spending their time online in the metaverse there is going to be an increased demand for the digital fashion, it is only a matter of time to see the shift in the fashion industry.
image credits- Fortnite x Balenciaga, 2021.© Courtesy of Epic