The metaverse, a term coined by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel, has been trending on Google since April 2021. With tech giants like Facebook announcing the creation of their versions of the metaverse, its word has since spread rapidly across all industries. For example, the luxury fashion industry has already made moves to establish itself in web 3.0.
What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse is made up of two words: Meta meaning beyond and verse taken from ‘universe.’ The successor of the internet, the metaverse is where the digital world increasingly converges with the physical world. It is a fully interactive world with 3D Virtual Spaces that works just the same as real life. Recently, Epic Games announced that it had completed a $1 billion funding to support its long-term vision for the metaverse.
There has yet to be a precise definition that clearly explains what the metaverse is all about. Yet, this doesn’t stop industries like luxury fashion from entering and expanding in this enticing realm.
Luxury Brands in the Metaverse
For many years, luxury brands were wary of anything that reflected digital or online transformation. Until the pandemic, the bulletproof industry stood by its iron-clad rules and only interacted directly with consumers. But as the health crisis extended, high-end brands had to adapt means of digitization. The current metaverse opportunities are encouraging brands to continue innovating and stray away from traditional methods.
Brands like Gucci and Vans have already created their branded virtual world. Additionally, the LVMH-owned luggage brand Rimowa is already on its way to auction its first-ever NFT products in the metaverse.
Factors Influencing Fashion Brands in Virtual Universes
Tech-savvy Consumer Domain
Currently, Generation Z is leading the creation and expansion of the metaverse. Highly interested in virtual worlds, these digital natives are most likely to indulge in luxury digital fashion in Metaverses. Luxury brands have to closely watch this new consumer domain and craft their strategies accordingly to succeed in the online world.
Rise of Online Personas
Nowadays, everyone maintains two separate appearances: physical and online. While luxury brands already cater to physical appearance needs, the same can’t be said for online appearances. In metaverses, online personas are going to be as important as real life. Hence, this gives a significant push to brands to create digital accessories and clothing.
More than ever, the luxury fashion industry is under steep pressure to lower its carbon footprints and adopt sustainability practices. Through metaverses, luxury brands can continue building their legacies while adhering to green living practices. They can create as many digital pieces as possible with little harm to the environment.
Counterfeits goods constitute a significant problem that luxury fashion brands face. This issue can be efficiently solved in metaverses. By trading their goods as NFTs, luxury brands can track their products and find out any fake goods circulating around. Since ownership details are permanently recorded in Ethereum, pirated goods are impossible to buy or sell in metaverses.
The need for immersive experiences has taken a hit during the pandemic. Due to the social distancing forms, virtual and augmented reality experiences became mainstream. Luxury brands have to integrate their products and services with these advanced technologies to provide a premium feel to the consumers.
How does High-End Fashion Work in the Metaverse?
Through NFTs, brands can now tag their goods to track and display a product’s information efficiently. They can also earn commission on every re-sale. Recently, luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana announced the launch of its NFT collection.
Many luxury brands are in favor of building their metaverses despite their nature of contradicting exclusivity. This is because a metaverse resembles a community in real life, and brands can customize them according to their identity. Many experts are hoping this becomes a new touchpoint to communicate with the Gen Z audience.
Gaming is a major part of metaverses, and high-end brands have already entered this realm. Through digital garments and accessories, they present their latest creations on game characters.
Since the pandemic, many popular luxury brands have been increasingly collaborating with the gaming industry. Last year, the Italian brand Valentino showcased its 2020 Spring & Summer Collection in Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” game. Gucci also created and sold four sportswear lines for the characters of the Tennis Clash game.
Welcome to the Future of Fashion
The Future of Fashion is here already. With the growth of metaverses, the digital transition of luxury brands has accelerated dramatically. Although skepticism still exists, metaverses present a lot of opportunities to fashion labels. Therefore, brands wanting to grow immensely have to be fast in establishing themselves in virtual universes.