You just copped the latest Gucci purse but only wear it in the metaverse? Sounds about right.
An NFT artist created a project titled “Meta Birkin” that went viral on TikTok — the project consisted of mini-Birkin images you could purchase for as low as $200. Once the Birkin brand got wind of it, they got Opensea to shut it down. And although that was the end for Meta Birkin, it sparked something else in the fashion industry. Shortly after, high-end brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Burberry decided to enter into the Web3 space and create their own NFT collections for consumers. There was even a metaverse fashion show where they had avatar models walking down a virtual runway. While wearable items in the virtual world isn’t a new concept (we all know about Sims), this is the first time you are able to OWN that ‘fit and it be deemed an asset.
But what does that really mean for the fashion industry as a whole?
Creating virtual wearables or NFTs can solve a lot of issues in the fashion world — resellers, for example. Typically once you purchase a luxury item you can resell it to an accredited consignment company like The RealReal for a percentage of the original price, then another consumer can purchase that same item for a lower price than what was on the original ticket. While this process favors consumers, the original designers don’t make a penny off of those resells — that is until NOW. Thanks to blockchain technologyw, if you decide to sell your luxury NFT item, the original designers make a percentage of the sale every single time.
Inventory, overstock and not being limited to 3D designs are additional perks designers get by utilizing Web3 technology. You are probably thinking, “Okay that’s great for the designers but what bout the consumers? What perks do we get out of this?”
The first perk for consumers is no longer having to deal with issues of authentication. Thanks to blockchain technology, the entire sale history of an item is tracked so you can see where it originated. That means NO MORE FAKES. On the flip side, when you are trying to sell your high fashion NFT, you don’t need to show a paper receipt or documents to prove it’s real — the receipts are conveniently in the blockchain technology.
The second consumer perk is access, of course. NFT marketplaces are open to the public, which means you don’t have to be close to a sales associate at Saks Fifth Avenue to know about the latest drops from your favorite brand. You can go to their collections page and see what they have to offer on your own.
Let’s not forget you no longer have to worry about the condition of your luxury item. The key word here is DIGITAL, which means no matter how long you decide to keep it, it will be in the same condition as when you first bought the item. This ensures your ability to sell it at top price.
High-end designers aren’t the only ones entering into Web3. Department store Boohoo recently dropped their NFT collection as well. NFT holders in this collection will get access to future metaverse projects, a gated Discord community, as well as access to Boohooverse events.
You see, the metaverse has endless possibilities for brands. They can even host exclusive events without the physical limits for their consumers to access around the world. When you create an experience for your customers instead of just offering clothing, it will help your brand sustain the test of time — even if you decide to one day no longer sell clothes. Brands who utilize this technology will develop a stronger consumer space and will see an increase in sales across the board.
H&M recently opened its first metaverse store that is identical to their physical location. In the virtual store, fans can look through items and different collections via VR headset. You are able to purchase items in its digital form and use it as wearable clothing for your virtual avatar. You can also purchase items to be sent to you in physical form — this way you can match your digital avatar and brand. I don’t know about you, but this takes the shopping experience to a whole new level for me. As someone who isn’t a fan of online shopping but hates the process of going to the mall, being able to put on my headset and try on clothes from the comfort of my home is a dream come true.
Even Levi’s dropped an exclusive collection with their UK consumers earlier this year. Specifically for France, Levi’s metaverse offering allowed NFT holders to gain access to a one-of-a-kind digital jean design. Everyone who was able to snag one of those NFTs was also put into a a draw to received a limited edition pair of physical jeans — ultimately merging the virtual world with reality!
Clothing isn’t the only kind of apparel entering the metaverse. Shoe companies like Nike and Adidas have been creating digital wearable sneakers for your avatar to wear and move around in. Imagine no longer having to stand in long lines for a new sneaker release drop, not having to worry about crazy reseller prices on StockX (they are currently getting sued for trying to attach Nike shoes to an NFT, but that’s a different story for a different day), or even having to leave your house at all to cop your favorite shoes. This technology allows us new choices that we haven’t seen before.
Will metaverse wearables and fashion NFTs completely wipe out real clothes? NO. People still need clothes to put on and wear, but having the option of purchasing those items virtually is something that will increase in popularity as time goes on. I also predict more department stores will choose to pair virtual and real life items together — that way, consumers are introduced to the metaverse in a way that is familiar to them.