Digital fashion is here to stay

As incredible as it may seem, digital fashion has evolved to such an extent that it already needs its own fashion week, with everything that entails: from shows and presentations of new collections to public talks and parties with real DJs. The first-ever digital fashion week took place on March 23-27 in Decentraland, a decentralized virtual social platform on the Ethereum blockchain.

Previously, Jonathan Simkhai presented his collection in Second Life just before New York Fashion Week. After the show, evening outfit skins could be purchased from NFT to dress up users’ avatars in Second Life.

Decentraland also hosted the first full-fledged fashion week in history, which lasted five days. On day one Selfridges opened a store showcasing NFT the real exhibition currently taking place in London – the future of Victor Vasarely’s work and the influence he had on his contemporary Paco Rabbane called UNIVERSE. Players can purchase NFT clothes as well as artworks from the Vasarely Foundation.


The second day

Day two of Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) featured many panel discussions, modeling workshops, interviews, the opening of the UNXD Luxury District and mini-games. Finally, we are in the game area. And perhaps the most important parts were two shows by Dolce & Gabbana and Philip Plein, because that’s why both gamers and fashionistas paid attention to MVFW.

Related: NFT Adoption: Tokens walk the runway at Metaverse Fashion Week

Decentraland’s graphics immediately raised questions from many Instagram users who commented on brands’ posts on MVFW. Decentraland was launched in beta in 2017 and many developers questioned the quality of the graphics and went with what they had. The quality made the shows look ridiculous, forcing brands to only release the images of the skins that could be purchased in-game. For example, Dolce & Gabbana chose cats with glasses and hairstyles as digital models. Their show took place in a virtual hall with a round podium and flowers.


Each cat had its own style and the collection reflected the true show of the brand, both in the set design and the furs presented. This season, D&G fans at the Metaverse will be logo-crazy, sporting animal prints, down jackets, voluminous shoulders and shades.


Philipp Plein held his show with a giant skull noting the brand’s symbol. The skull opened and its tongue unfurled to showcase the models on the show. Philip Plein fans are expected to wear glow-in-the-dark goggles or respirators, cat-ear helmets, down jackets, wings and bathrobes this Metaverse season.

On the brand’s website, prices for skins sold right next to the catwalk started at $1,500 for Moon $ Surfer and went up to $15,000 for Platinum $ Surfer. These skins have a special treat: a small skeleton that sits on the shoulder – probably to justify the price.


After the show, everyone was invited to go to a party, where Plein broadcast from home to attend the party, boasting on his Instagram Stories that his clothes were being featured for the first time in the Metaverse. The designer wore his brand’s custom skin: a helmet with cat ears. It’s clear that the Metaverse fashion loves cats.

In addition, many brands opened digital boutiques in the Metaverse. In the Luxury District, shoppers found Dolce & Gabbana and Philip Plein, but also the luxury watch boutique Jacob & Co and a shop with Hermes Birkin bags. Are there other ways to emphasize your status in the Metaverse other than a Birkin and a watch?

Related: NFT fashion hits the runway as designers launch into the Metaverse

Jacob & Co launched Astronomia Metaverso, a Nonfungible Token (NFT) collection that includes eight watches, one watch for a planet in the solar system. “The clocks of the five planets closest to the Sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter) have been manufactured as unique physical clocks (which incorporate a NFT of the clock), while the three most distant planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) are in several purely digital variants fragmented.”


The third day

On the third day there was an Etro show and a presentation of the Dress X collection. The Etro show was the biggest failure of the entire MVFW, as the styling of average avatars in mediocre clothing with branded Buta designs was enough for a digital collection in the Metaverse. The show took place in the same venue as Dolce & Gabbana but with fewer special effects and not enough glitz and style.

Audience behavior was far from perfect – many users just rushed near the stage and spoiled the show. It was clear that the organizers had no technical limitations to prevent this, or it was not to be expected. The fans didn’t like the show and ripped off the presentation of the collection.


The Fifth Day

The final day featured a presentation from Estée Lauder, the first cosmetics brand to shine in the Metaverse. They presented a product that gave the avatars a gold glitter veil that looked amazing. A clever branding move by Estée Lauder, it gave away gold glitter for free – users were happy and their avatars sparkled.


There was also a Dundas brand show of dresses with ties and glitter emanating from your avatars. In fact, there was nothing particularly standout: it repeated the physical collection and played with the concept of disguising yourself. Now users can dress up their avatars. The models used were more humanized and less clumsy.


The closing chord was the Auroboros x Grimes Immersive Experience Party with Grimes performing. It was clear to everyone that she moved much better in this metaverse than the standard avatars and even better than the models on the runway. She wore a suit with snake scales and had long braids. It looked like Grimes had been living in the Metaverse for a long time – she just adapted.


After five days of MVFW, it’s cool to see so many brands participating in the new page of fashion industry history, even if they couldn’t predict the outcome of this experiment. The shows didn’t look like the brands expected, as posts on their social networks made clear. This is because brands posted the show’s best photos rather than the reality of pixelated avatars and plain looks.

Perhaps the graphics were created specifically to make viewers feel nostalgic, only to then surprise us with stunning results and a development of what the future of MVFW will be like, even with realistic impressions of the garments and the models wearing them.

We can only hope that next fashion week will be more technologically advanced and that Balenciaga will join the list as it seems to be the pioneer of digital fashion in the world of luxury.

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Inna Komvarova is the founder of the popular fashion telegram channel Mamkina. In 2019, she quit her job as head of industrial sales at a leading climate company and started working full-time in fashion media.