Of course, going virtual hasn’t been without growing pains. In January, when artist Mason Rothschild introduced a MetaBirkin NFT — a fuzzy digital interpretation of Hermès ’most iconic handbag — the French house fired back with a cease-and-desist letter, citing the protection of‘ Hermès ’commercial interest in its trademarks. ” In response, the creator did what any digital native would do and posted on Instagram, writing, “There is a moving tide of innovation and evolution, and it is your role as a fashion powerhouse to amplify young creatives and artists rather than stomp them out . Your actions can help determine the future of art in the metaverse. ”
Helping traditional brands like Hermès ease into this brave new world are companies such as the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF), which has partnered with the likes of Alexander Wang, Selfridges, Nike and Balenciaga. “We are working with brands across art, culture, fashion and tech sectors to create a new vocabulary for the metaverse,” explain IoDF co-founders Cattytay and Leanne-Elliott Young, who are based in London, England, in an email. They point to inclusivity, sustainability and accessibility as some of the advantages that digital fashion has over its physical forebears. “We are diving into the future and [exploring] responsibilities of our industry in the metaverse, working beyond old paradigms to rewrite the fashion narrative and support brands going forward in this new digital arena. ”
On a practical level, buying a digital garment from something like DressX, an online shop that trades exclusively in digital fashion, is somewhat easier than buying a physical piece from an e-commerce platform — after all, there will never be a sizing or material -quality risk. After buying a digital garment, the shopper simply uploads a photo of themselves for the seller to apply the garment, manipulating it to the client’s unique body shape and size.
With the number of mobile-augmented-reality (AR) users expected to be in the billions by 2023, and with hands-free AR glasses predicted to become ubiquitous in a few years (Apple is expected to launch its own AR headset this year) , digital fashion is just getting started. The widespread adoption of AR will be a huge leap in allowing for a seamless integration of wearing and viewing digital fashion. (Think wearing comfortable, sustainably made loungewear IRL while in the metaverse of your AR couture gown is on fire.) Indeed, many virtual fashion designs lean toward the fantastic, featuring otherworldly elements like tentacles, wings or water.
For UK designer Roksanda Ilincic, the beauty of the metaverse is that anything is possible. For her fall / winter 2022/2023 presentation at London Fashion Week, Ilincic partnered with the IoDF to create an NFT dress, which is also available in a £ 5,000 limited-edition 3-D animation render that comes with software files so that an avatar can wear the dress in the metaverse. With Web 3.0 still in its infancy, Ilincic believes that fashion can only enhance the metaverse and those who occupy it. “I would hope that the metaverse can become a place where many different generations and groups of people can find beauty,” she said The Guardian. “Fashion has so much to offer. It brings with it not just glamor but a history of design and creativity, which can make for a richer digital environment. ”
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