What the metaverse means for the future of fashion

And why we’re excited about it

By Renee Fortune

So everyone’s talking about the metaverse. Thing is, right at this moment it only exists as a concept. But there are already dozens of reports conducted by industry leading companies that suggest the metaverse; or Web 3.0 as it is becoming known, will change everything we know and believe about the digital world. 

There are countless explanations online about what the metaverse is in a technical sense. But put very simply, the best way to understand it is to think about what life could be like as an avatar in a game. If you’re au fait with games like The Witcher and Assassin’s Creed and have been dazzled by how immersive contemporary gaming has become, you’ll understand why so many people are thrilled by the idea of living in the physical world and the digital world simultaneously. 
When you really pause and think about it, this could mean that in just a few years time, we could all have digital avatars who live in digital houses that we’ve designed and built to our liking and we could shop, play and work in digital malls, entertainment venues and offices. 

What does it all mean for fashion? Well, there are two parts to that answer. Firstly, it means that online shopping is going to a whole new level. Fashion has dominated the ecommerce world and in a few decades, it’s become a multi-billion dollar industry. But, there are a few kinks in its armour. 

For example, when you shop on Plain Tiger, you’ll get access to multiple views of a garment or accessory. You’ll also be able to access an image of the product in zoomed mode so you can see the details clearly. However, when brands do not include this level of functionality in their ecommerce stores, it can become difficult to envision what the product looks like in real life. 

There’s also the challenge of not really knowing what a product is going to look like when you put it on. We mitigate this problem by providing a number of sizing measurements and an indication of which size the model is wearing. The metaverse will provide solutions to uplevel this. 

In the metaverse, you’ll be able to “try on” the garment virtually because, if you want, your avatar can have your exact same proportions. Of course if you’re rolling in the metaverse as a different species (as I plan to do), it could become a bit tricky. 

But the point is, the metaverse will replicate the real world with a level of accuracy that was previously beyond human imagination. Data will drive these fashion experiences. For example, when you select a garment, you’ll get access to reviews, emoji ratings, examples of how it looked on other people and all the information you need to make an informed choice. 

The exciting part for us as players in the sustainable fashion space is that the metaverse and specifically, the advent of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will make fashion more traceable, due to the transparency of blockchain technology. And this is a giant leap in the right direction. Buying and trading fashion as NFTs will give consumers access to information about where the material for the garment was sourced, who made it and the processes that were used to manufacture it. It’s unbelievably exciting. 

Now onto the other aspect of what the metaverse means for fashion – clothing for avatars. Think about what it would be like to get up in the morning and get dressed physically, grab a cup of coffee and then dress your avatar for the day. The options are endless. Some of the biggest names in fashion are already establishing entire departments for digital fashion. 

As Experiential Creative Director, Harold S. Dickenson Jr explains: “The world is changing. The metaverse will allow us to own our identities in new ways, with endless options for customisation. Fashion will continue to be an important vehicle for self-expression in the metaverse. For brands, the new horizons hold so much possibility. The metaverse will provide even more touchpoints for brands to reach customers. And in terms of creativity, this digital space will allow fashion designers to explore dimensions they have always dreamed of.”

For us, the sheer brilliance of the metaverse is that consumers can finally indulge their obsession with fast fashion in a way that doesn’t harm the planet or its people. You could change your digital look every hour if you really wanted to, with zero waste ending up in landfill and zero toxic chemicals entering our water systems. 

I’m hopeful that this will accelerate the movement towards conscious consumerism, with more people thinking carefully about the clothes they wear and investing in quality pieces that are designed to last, in favour of the “throwaway” approach to fashion. It’s incredibly encouraging. 

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