Digital fashion in the metaverse: will we soon be going virtual shopping?

Fashion in the metaverse, virtual fashion, vr fashion, digital fashion, digital clothing... Do these concepts mean anything to you? They are soon going to be familiar, because the biggest names in fashion are rushing to join the digital world. Allow Trademart to open the doors to the future to you.

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What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a network of interconnected 3D virtual spaces. Users can move from one space to another with their avatar, just like they would in the real world.

Perhaps you have already seen videos of meetings of avatars that are replacing the current kinds of video-conferences. In the metaverse, your avatar can also attend a concert, go shopping or visit a museum with your virtual friends.

According to the big digital names like Mark Zuckerberg (who even renamed his company Facebook as Meta last year), our virtual life will eventually become as important as our physical life. So they are already massively investing in it.

Virtual clothing is not new

Even the big names in fashion now appear to want to get involved in the metaverse. It makes sense: if we are going to interact with other people in this virtual universe, we are also going to want to forge our identity there. And to do that, nothing beats virtual clothes.

In fact, virtual shopping and digital fashion are not as new as you might think. Back in 2003, companies like Adidas and American Apparel were in competition to sell their products virtually in the Second Life universe.

Louis Vuitton kleedde in 2019 enkele personages uit het razend populaire videospel League of Legends en een jaar later ging Balenciaga aan de slag met personages uit het al even populaire Fortnite.

Forerunners of fashion in the metaverse

While previous collaborations were more focused on marketing and public relations, in the metaverse, the fashion industry appears to have become more interested in establishing structural collaborations.

As a forerunner, the Balenciaga brand has already announced that it is going to create a specific branch in order to explore the new commercial opportunities inside the metaverse. The Italian fashion group OTB (parent company of Viktor&Rolf and Maison Margiela, among others) has decided to launch a whole new company, BVX, which will focus exclusively on products, projects and experiences inside the metaverse.

And Mark Zuckerberg? Last summer, he announced the launch of the “Meta Avatars Zone”, a virtual boutique on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, where users can buy virtual clothes for their avatars. Among the first famous brands to join the “Meta Avatars Zone”, we can mention Balenciaga (once again), Prada and Thomas Brown.

The utility of digital fashion

Of course, it is fairly certain that your current customers have no particular desire to spend their clothing budget on virtual trainers or an expensive jacket consisting of a few pixels. So what advantages do major fashion houses see in the metaverse that others cannot see?

Firstly, the metaverse offers much more creative freedom than the real world. Practical obstacles do not apply, and the rules and social customs are far less strict than in reality. That makes the metaverse the perfect place for the kind of experimental creations that the big fashion houses adore.

What’s more, there is data available to demonstrate that a fashion brand can replace its design and physical development phase with a digital equivalent, and in doing so reduce its carbon footprint by 30%. For example, virtual clothes can be used to improve modelling, distribute samples and launch the marketing before the physical versions go into production. This can considerably reduce the environmental impact of the entire life cycle of an item of clothing.

Virtual shopping in the metaverse

The main motivation is, as is often the case, an economic one. In the metaverse, fashion brands can reach a worldwide public through a single store. Countless shops teeming with fashion items can be offered behind a single attractive window, spread over dozens of floors. It would be simply impossible financially in the real world. And let’s not forget the precious information that they can glean about the shopping behaviour of all these avatars.

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