A recent report by technology research and consulting firm Technavio predicts that the metaverse market share will reach $50.37 billion by 2026. So it should come as no surprise that the trillion-dollar fashion industry is starting to take a big hit. Interest in the Metaverse.
While most luxury labels and brands are focused on creating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to replicate physical goods, a handful of projects are starting to bring their communities into the Metaverse.
For example, on September 5, Vogue Singapore launched a fashion-first Web3 community known as “The New World of Vogue Singapore”. While Vogue Singapore has previously shown interest in NFTs by mocking up their September 2021 cover, Natasha Damodaran – managing director of Vogue Singapore – told Cointelegraph that the publication has gone a step further by creating a virtual experience that incorporates a “fashion new” theme. World” Damodaran explained that the platform allows the community to interact with different types of content and images. She said:
“The new world of Vogue Singapore now allows users to explore a surrealist-inspired world featuring a welcome video from Vogue September 2022 cover star and supermodel Lina Zhang. Users can also experience an AI-generated beauty shoot by artist Terry Gates’ bio RESONANCE, and a digital couture piece created exclusively for Vogue Singapore by Beijing-based designer Yimeng Yu.
Damodaran explained that Vogue’s Metaverse is powered by Spatial.io, a Metaverse platform focused on 3D spaces. The virtual space was designed by Polycount.io, an agency focused on NFTs.
Gianna Vantina, head of marketing at Spacial, told Cointelegraph that Vogue Singapore’s Metaverse is accessible on mobile devices, desktops and virtual reality (VR). Users entering the new world will be able to create a custom avatar wearing two of Vogue’s exclusive wearable creations by fashion designer Men Yu, she added. Damodaran also revealed that users will be able to interact directly with the Vig Singapore September cover, while reading various content related to the image.
While Vogue Singapore’s new world makes for a more engaging way for users to view and read content, Vantina emphasized that this also allows brands and communities to build better experiences. Indeed, Damodaran says that while showcasing creativity and craftsmanship, Metaverse gives labels the opportunity to expand their reach into other market segments. “For Vogue, this means connecting the fashion community and promoting it with Web3 and vice versa, creating relevant ways of participation on digital platforms,” she said.
Although this concept is still new, he agreed with Yu, who created two digital couture designs for the platform. Yu told Cointelegraph that the advancement of digital technology and the rise of online life in the post-pandemic era have brought new opportunities to the fashion industry. She said:
“Digital technologies and intelligent production in the fashion industry are advancing the fashion design paradigm, production process, display method, retail sales method and user experience. From both designer’s creativity and user experience perspective, Metaverse brings endless possibilities to the fashion industry.”
Regarding new opportunities, Steven Cold, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) – a non-profit trade association that includes American fashion designers, founded in 1962 – told Cointelegraph that in order to strengthen the influence of American fashion at the international level, the CFDA decided. To launch an exhibition in the Metaverse:
“As we’ve been thinking about ways to celebrate our 60th anniversary, we’ve decided it should be forward-looking, and the exhibition at Metaverse is the perfect way to celebrate our past while looking to what’s next.”
Similar to Vogue Singapore, Cold said he hopes the CFDA’s entry into the Metaverse will reach new audiences by highlighting the interest in American fashion and designers. They can enjoy it from the comfort of their home.
Cold shared that CFDA’s entry into Web3 will be marked with a collection of commemorative NFTs that will be auctioned off to benefit the CFDA Foundation, reviewing the past 60 years of American fashion. The exhibition is expected to open in the Sandbox in December 2022.
While this marks the CFDA’s first foray into Web3, Cold points out that the organization has yet to launch a formal platform. Although Vogue Singapore’s metaverse project is expected to evolve (a new phase will begin in October 2022), Cold explained that the CFDA etaverse exhibition is a “test and learn” for the organization. “The CFDA will begin building the Web3 community on the existing Web2 foundation. This will help us gradually build into a larger Metaverse community and American fashion experience,” he said.
Regardless, Akbar Hamid, founder and CEO of 5Crypto – the creative advisor behind the CFDA project – said that bringing the CFDA community together in the Metaverse is a first for fashion, Cointelegraph said. “This is a great way to raise awareness for fashion by bringing older audiences to the Metaverse among the Gen Z audience. It’s also an opportunity for Metaverse creators to work with renowned fashion designers and curators to publish visionary style and design in a buzzing environment,” he said.
Do fashion communities want to participate in the Metaverse?
Although encouraging fashion-focused communities to participate in the Metaverse could be the next step for certain projects, it’s unclear how users will react. For example, while Vogue Singapore’s new world is innovative, the idea may not immediately resonate with the publisher’s audience. Brian Trunso, head of Metaverse at Polygon Studios, told Cointelegraph that while brands on Metaverse have a deep connection with their consumers, media outlets are still trying to better understand this:
“Media is still trying to figure out how to use Web3 tools to engage audiences and convert them from users to community members or superfans. Even those who succeed in Web2 are struggling to convert one from Instagram to DAO.” [decentralized autonomous organization] Being a member or NFT holder is not an easy task.
However, Jinha Lee, Spatial’s co-founder and chief product officer, told Cointelegraph that users spent more than four million minutes on the platform within a week of its launch. “Seeing this shows that when Vogue Singapore started, most people were enjoying the space,” he said.
While this statistic is interesting, Justin Bannon, co-founder of Boson Protocol – a metaverse business protocol focused on digital and physical fashion – told Cointelegraph that, like any new technology, there will be a period when users will initially visit the platform as a browser. Rather than a sincere desire to do much else. However, while adoption may be slow, Bannon believes projects like the one launched by Vogue Singapore will eventually influence the entire fashion and media sector:
“When we ask whether more fashion magazines want to enter the Metaverse going forward, I believe the only conclusion that comes to mind is yes. This is a new space, full of creativity and authenticity, concepts that the fashion world has prided itself on since its inception, so Metaverse is the next logical step.” I don’t think there will be a single fashion magazine in the future that hasn’t embraced Web3 and the Metaverse in some shape or form.