Virtual fashion in the metaverse is already here. The digital and physical worlds are converging rapidly in this internet age and the fashion industry is not left out.
A well-known luxury house pioneering the metaverse shift is Balenciaga. The brand (known to embrace virtual clothing) recently announced plans to launch a business specially dedicated to exploring opportunities in the metaverse.
Balenciaga released its Fall 2021 collection through a gaming app and famously partnered with the video game “Fortnite” to create a series of “skins” for the game’s characters. So far, most of the fashion world’s investments in the metaverse have been through video game skins (cosmetics that customize characters). These developments provide a glimpse of what fashion in the metaverse could look like.
Fashion is Setting Foot in the Metaverse
The metaverse is a virtual reality that redefines how we use technology, integrating both digital and physical worlds. And it’s not some distant reality — in fact, we’re already there.
The pandemic has thrust the world into daily Zoom meetings and VR chats, and it has increased the urgency to nurture our online identities. Even Facebook (which owns Instagram and other social platforms) is rebranding to “Meta” as it aims to change users’ online experiences via augmented reality and virtual avatars.
Social Media are involved too
Platforms like Instagram have introduced us to the metaverse with the popularity of digital influencers, many people are buying clothes for the sole purpose of posting styled photos to social media. We think of our online identities as extensions of who we are, so the clothes we post are already, in some way, digital. Pixel-made clothing taps into our need for virtual self-expression without physical waste.
Digital fashion is appealing, especially to younger consumers, because of its low environmental impact. Gen Z, specifically, is known to advocate for and invest in sustainable clothing. With a growing need to reduce fashion’s impact on the environment, digital fashion presents an obvious option for brands to limit waste while continuing to make profits.
On a creative level, digital fashion eliminates physical limitations. Unlike traditional luxury clothing, there are no size barriers and no tangible barriers. This novelty allows users to dress more freely and wear materials that they couldn’t wear in the physical world.
The metaverse will also make it easier for smaller designers to break into the market, because all that’s needed to create and sell digital pieces is access to a computer and the internet. Digital clothing is thus making the fashion industry more accessible for sellers and buyers while tackling the urgent need for sustainability.
As the metaverse approaches, and the lines between reality and virtual continue to blur, fashion’s eye is toward the future.