Here’s What Went Down at the First-Ever Metaverse Fashion Week
The browser-based metaverse platform Decentraland hosted the first-ever digital fashion week from the 23rd to the 27th of March, showcasing the latest trends and collections in the virtual space.
The inaugural event drew plenty of eyes from the fashion industry, considering how some high-end labels leveraged the use of digital technology to create experiences and reach their customers during the pandemic.
In concept, Decentraland’s fashion week shares plenty in common with its real-life counterpart, which is typically held twice a year, one event in February and another in September. Big-name fashion houses were in attendance. Models walked runways. Guests decked themselves out in the most striking garb from their collections. The only difference, of course, is that all of it transpired in an entirely virtual world.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened during the five-day event:
The first day of Metaverse Fashion Week saw Selfridges, a United Kingdom-based chain of luxury department stores, open a virtual store that Decentraland users could freely visit. There, guests can view exclusive pieces created by Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They can also purchase dresses for their avatars to wear and art pieces from Fondation Vasarely to display.
The second day played host to a range of panel discussions, modelling workshops, interviews and mini-games, among other activities, as Cointelegraph describes. It additionally saw the opening of UNXD Luxury District, the location in Decentraland that housed the catwalk for the event’s fashion shows. Speaking of which, the day featured two shows: Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) and Philip Plein. Both unveiled new clothing pieces and outfits that players could buy.
D&G used avatars with cat heads for their digital models. And each cat had a distinctive look, highlighted by a variety of hairstyles and accessories. They donned down jackets and coats defined by the logomania and animal print trend. Logomania describes the trend in which fashion houses' branding or logo is all over the clothing itself, rather than hidden in a price tag. The show was held in a circular podium decorated with flowers and purple lights.
Philipp Plein, on the other hand, used avatars with skulls on their heads, evocative of the brand’s logo. The show opened with a giant skull opening its mouth and uncoiling its tongue, which later served as the runway for the models to walk on. Fans in attendance were expected to wear luminous glasses, respirator masks and helmets with cat ears, among other striking clothing pieces, to fit with the show’s theme.
When the show concluded, guests were invited to join Philipp Plein himself in a virtual party. Here, the German designer, broadcasting from his home, proudly reminded everyone that his designs were showcased in the metaverse for the first time. The designer’s avatar was said to be wearing his brand’s custom skin.
Other brands also launched their own virtual stores in Decentraland’s Luxury District on the same day, including jewellery and wristwatch maker Jacob & Co and one store that sells Hèrmes Birkin bags. Jacob & Co even launched “Astronomia Metaverso,” an NFT collection that consists of eight unique watches, each of which represents a planet in the Solar System. The brand says that Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter have physical models as well as an NFT counterpart, while Saturn, Uranus, Neptune only come in digital variants.
The following days saw similar shows from Italian fashion house Etro, Norwegian designer Peter Dundas and cosmetics heavyweight Estée Lauder, to name a few. Estée Lauder, in particular, thrilled players when it unveiled a product that gave avatars the ability to sparkle. The brand would later give some away to players in attendance, letting their avatars be covered in a veil of gold glitter.
The entire event capped off with what was dubbed as an “immersive experience” party featuring digital fashion specialist Auroboros and Canadian musician Grimes. It served as the perfect place for players to dance and express themselves as the first-of-its-kind event drew to a close. Grimes was noted for donning a futuristic-looking bodysuit, which Auroboros released in limited quantities, with her long, white hair in braids.
As to the response of the event’s attendees, the Cointelegraph mentions that there were social media users who thought the graphics quality of Decentraland didn’t do the fashion items showcased justice. Some even went as far as to say the shows looked ridiculous because of shortcomings in the platform’s visual fidelity.
Additionally, the Etro show failed to impress, with the audience reportedly spoiling the reveals as they were happening. And the average-looking avatars that served as models didn’t help make what looked like ordinary outfits stand out. Presentation-wise, there were also fewer special effects, despite the show being held on the same stage as D&G’s show.
What’s more, there were plenty of technical glitches, from long loading times to the program crashing completely. A number of new players who joined the platform to attend the event also found the movement and the controls to be quite unintuitive.
That said, the event did at least disrupt the fashion industry in some way, providing a taste of how stakeholders could take advantage of these emerging technologies in the future. It’s far from perfect, yes, but fashion brands should stop clinging to the past and expand beyond the physical, especially amid this pandemic, the metaverse is arguably the best place to engage newer audiences and customers.
Decentraland hosted the first-ever digital fashion week from the 23rd to the 27th of March, showcasing the latest trends and collections in the virtual space.
The five-day event featured virtual fashion shows from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) and Philip Plein, among others.
It provided the fashion industry a taste of how they could one day take advantage of emerging technologies to engage new audiences and customers more interactively.