Would you buy a digital dress? That’s the question Roksanda, in collaboration with Clearpay, asked during London Fashion Week, with the launch of a series of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) of one of their exclusive designs.
The dress, seen in real life at the finale of Roksanda’s Autumn Winter 22 show, can also be purchased via Roksanda’s website as a 3D render for £25, or the NFT for £5000. The creation of NFTs marks Roksanda’s entry into the metaverse and capitalizes on a rapidly growing market.
According to a study by Business of Fashion Insights, NFT sales amounted to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, more than 8 times the sales of the previous quarter, which shows that the appetite for buying and ownership of digital assets is growing rapidly. Driven by a younger audience, their research showed that 72% of US consumers have accessed a virtual world in the past 12 months, with 50% of consumers expressing interest in purchasing a digital asset.
Following the unveiling of the dress, a discussion led by Imran Amed, CEO of Business of Fashion, explored how digital fashion and the metaverse will shape the future of the industry.
Associating the birth of the metaverse with the arrival of the internet, several panelists referred to the fact that fashion has been slow to seize the opportunities offered by e-commerce, which they are clearly keen to avoid this time around. .
Why would anyone be interested in buying a digital dress? Applications exist within social networks, for example being able to post a photo that shows you “wearing” a garment through the use of filters and AR (augmented reality).
However, digital fashion has the most obvious application in the gaming world, where players seek to express themselves and their personalities by purchasing digital outfits that their avatars can wear.
It’s not often that gaming platforms like Fortnite and Roblox are mentioned during a panel discussion on the future of fashion, but in fact, these platforms are the perfect example of where. where digital fashion can thrive.
They also generally have a younger consumer base – digital natives who grow up find it completely normal to spend real money on buying items that only exist in the digital realm.
This intersection of fashion and gaming is nothing new. In 2019, Louis Vuitton collaborated with Riot Games’ League of Legends. Gucci created a virtual space in Roblox in 2021. Last year, the British Fashion Council presented a fashion award for metaverse design at a virtual awards show on Roblox that had over 1.2 million interactions.
A growing market
Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, speaking at the event, had a clear message for fashion brands around the world considering applying digital fashion to their current offering: “Don’t sit and think it’s not for me”. .
Rush envisioned that in the future, 10-15% of our wardrobes could go digital. With a $1.5 trillion global apparel market according to Statista, the outlook for digital fashion could be very promising if this prediction comes true.
While it might be hard to conceive of 10-15% of our wardrobes becoming digital items for use in the metaverse, there are several compelling reasons behind the growing interest in digital fashion.
First, with a growing understanding of the devastating impact of overproduction in the fashion industry, buying digital styles could help reduce waste and overconsumption.
Leanne Elliott Young, CEO of the Institute of Digital Fashion, also highlighted the possibilities of using digital fashion as a way for designers to get early sales reactions to new collections, before they even create the physical product.
While many brands are still struggling with production and supply chain issues due to the pandemic, digital fashion could also allow them to deliver more new ideas and exciting launches to their much larger fan base. quickly and easily than relying on garment production.
The key to digital fashion, as with all new technologies, is to create an integrated approach across all platforms, creating a uniform experience for the customer across digital and physical touchpoints. Or as Elliott Young put it “the URL and IRL should work together in unison”.