Because fashion is increasingly attracted to the metaverse (which will be the subject of an ad hoc fashion week)

Because fashion is increasingly attracted to the metaverse (which will be the subject of an ad hoc fashion week)

If at its debut in the fashion industry it seemed “only” a trend topic, the metaverse has now become a real development area. A border to cross, an intangible and intangible space in which even the most mature and institutional fashion houses have begun, with courage and curiosity, to enter. Of course, not all of them. While we are already talking about creating a new fixed appointment (the Metaverse Fashion Week has already been scheduled for this season, immediately after Paris fashion week), there are those who still show some resentment. Which goes to counter the enthusiasm of the brands that, during the Milano Fashion Week just finished, they officially debuted in the metaverse.

The metaverse is a purely virtual world and, until now, we are in the real world and we sell real products – said Bernard Arnault, CEO of the luxury group LVMH, in a statement released to Madame Le Figaro. – When done right, it can likely have a positive impact on brands’ businesses. But we are not interested in selling virtual sneakers for 10 euros “. The reference to virtual sneakers immediately refers us to Gucci, but also to all the other digital experiments that the brands have already tested to date, confirming how much the metaverse is actually a gold mine. As proof of this, one should also think of the diatribe between Hermès and the multifaceted Mason Rothschild, who was cited in court for having “counterfeited bags” (according to the maison), which the artist instead defines Meta Birkin: works of art in the form of Non-fungible tokens.

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That it starts to be attractive to everyone, there is no doubt. According to a study by Morgan Stanley, the metaverse could also represent 10% of the luxury market in 2030, equal to 50 billion dollars. And who knows that the future of fashion may not be (also) there, without forgetting that – in addition to looking for Chief Metaverse Officers, a new professional figure who will regulate everything concerning the metaverse within companies – it will be necessary to continue to pursue the tangible (and human) perception of fashion, dictated by the use of the five senses (including touch) and not just immersive experiences.

The metaverse at MFW: Benetton

During the just concluded Milan fashion week, we got to closely observe the way emerging brands and big fashion houses interacted with (and in) the metaverse. The first striking example, usable by everyone and not only by the professionals who attended the fashion shows, was located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan: for the duration of the fashion week, the Benetton store temporarily redone its look, aligning it with that of a shop inaugurated in the metaverse and launching the #playchange initiative with five talents who have shared their personal stories of change. “We want to turn the immersive experience upside down,” said Massimo Renon, CEO of Benetton Group. The purpose of the initiative was to create an identical emotional ecosystem, both in physical retail and in the virtual store in the metaverse. Customers, on the other hand, were offered “the opportunity to immerse themselves in a world in which physical reality and digital connection merge in an explosion of creativity, color and sound”.

The Benetton store in Milan, a physical space recreated in the style of the one inaugurated in the metaverse.

COURTESY BENETTON PRESS OFFICE

In parallel, what will happen in the new virtual store? Visitors will not buy clothes but will participate in games that allow them to win QR codes, to be used for purchases in physical stores. “The goal is to offer a dimensional link between present and future, real and virtual, through an increasingly immersive brand experience and, above all, in harmony with the language of young people”, explains Antonio Patrissi, Chief Digital Officer of Benetton Group.

metaverso fashion shops benetton

COURTESY BENETTON PRESS OFFICE

The metaverse at MFW: Annakiki and Dolce & Gabbana

The Benetton brand was not the only one. Chinese designer Anna Yang, founder of the Annakiki brand, brought a fashion collection to the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week that explores the relationship between man and machine, leading them to merge into a cyborg identity. Parallel to the robotic experience, Annakiki also presented her own project in the metaversethat is a virtual NFT collection linked to its proposals for Autumn Winter 2022 2023.

annakiki metaverse fashion show milan fashion week

Victor VIRGILEGetty Images


Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana did the same who, with curiosity and awareness (that of belonging to a completely different generation from today’s ones), have experimented with the concept of metaverse transforming the fashion show into the physical ather-ego of a digital fashion show, created by digital avatars in an intangible space and in turn projected live on a special screen.

milan fashion week metaverse dolce and gabbana fashion show

Victor VIRGILEGetty Images

The metaverse at PFW: Stage 11

Not only Milan. The Paris fashion week also gave space, importance and relevance to the presence of fashion in the metaverse. The real news revolves around the name of a young company, born in 2021 and to keep in mind: Vogue Business in fact, indicates that the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion is collaborating with the start up Stage 11 so that the Paris Fashion Week online platform can be integrated with virtualization processes between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. Meanwhile, the Stage 11 team has already demonstrated its skills: founded by Jonathan Belolo together with Jean-Philippe Braud, Gregory Dhonner and Mani Nordine with the aim of “bringing cultural experiences, branding and digital retail in a virtual world “, the start-up collaborated with the Institut Français de la Mode during the PFW.

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An active part of the collaboration were the fashion design students who, thanks to Stage 11, had the opportunity to see their creations digitized in the metaverse. “We followed the students helping them in the design of authentic digital creations and we also scanned their physical creations to incorporate them into the virtual space,” he explains to Vogue Business Jonathan Belolo, CEO and co-founder of Stage 11. Experience can only be a source of pride for Xavier Romatet, Director General of the prestigious university: “The students of the Institut Français de la Mode, future players in the sector, must be at the center of this revolution “.

Metaverse: what to expect after Milan and Paris fashion weeks?

A new appointment is on its way, which may even become fixed. As reported Vogue Business, Metaverse Fashion Week will debut on March 24, 2022 and at the moment brands such as Etro, Dundas and Paco Rabanne are already confirmed. “The participating brands will mainly show new collections or new interpretations of existing pieces – explains Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, head of Metaverse Fashion Week, to the source. “There will be an upscale shopping area, designed to resemble Paris’s Avenue Montaigne, and brands will sell both digital and physical items, though specifics are yet to be announced.” All that remains is to follow its developments.

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