Visiting the First Fashion Week in the Metaverse

For the first time, well-known brands such as Hugo Boss or Tommy Hilfiger showed their collections at a virtual fashion week. The event in the Metaverse is likely to become relevant in the future, but the first trip to the parallel universe disappoints.

Milan, New York, Paris – the big Fashion Weeks are over. But the cycle of fashion knows no pause. Most recently, the biggest sensation was the major event in the Metaverse: A four-day digital fashion week complete with virtual shows, events, panels, and stores.

The “MVFW,” or Metaverse Fashion Week, took place for the first time ever in 2022 and is expected to usher in a new age of fashion. The virtual fashion week was on March 24-27, but it took only few days for the invitations from isolated designers started fluttering into email inboxes.

This was the first time anyone heard about the event, which made little headway in the run-up and at which digital avatars showed wearable fashion and some of which will also be available to buy physically.

Just like the latest crypto bot, the MVFW was accessible from anywhere and completely free. Provided you have an avatar.

The Requirements of “Getting In”

To do so, one had to log onto the website Decentraland, a digital event platform where last year one could attend a music festival, buy real estate and property, and now also Fashion Weeks with one’s digital self, because if you’re going to dance or buy houses, you’ll probably need the right outfit.

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But even while creating the avatar, while choosing hairstyle and skin color, you wonder if the whole thing is supposed to be a bad joke. This is because Decentraland is a free 3D platform whose graphics are not photorealistic.

That’s why the characters and the entire user interface look like they’re in a video game from the year 2000. Blissful sounds purr in the background.

Every Memoji on the iPhone is closer to reality. Is this really the future? At least: A fancy sailor shirt is included in the free standard wardrobe for the avatar. However, if you wanted to add the latest designer items, a so-called wearable, you would have to pull out your crypto wallet.

What Being Part of a Virtual Fashion Week Feels Like

When the virtual fashion week really gets going, you get lost in this strange bubble. How do you find your way around the events?

Why does everything look so dreary here? And where exactly is the Fashion District, the place on Decentraland where the virtual stores and showrooms of the brands are supposed to pop up during the fashion week, after-parties are attended and there is the possibility to shop for digital clothing.

People will want to see the Liquid Paisley collection announced by Etro and try on Hugo’s new virtual pieces.

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Two brands that have been there from the beginning this season. You somehow want to enter fantastic dream worlds, to let your imagination explode. But then the Metaverse crashes first.

Most recently, the virtual parallel world, which sounds so futuristic and advanced, was hyped to such an extent that hardly any fashion house wanted to close itself off to it.

Balenciaga showed purely digital in 2020, Gucci, or Ralph Lauren opened virtual pop-ups on other Metaverse platforms. Nike was also immediately in the metaverse two or three years ago when digital fashion became a topic.

The place where the future is apparently happening and where you finally meet the hard-to-reach Millennials.

Interesting Designs in Amateurish Surroundings

Gucci also held an exhibition last year in the online game Roblox, where the most important designs of Alessandro Michele were available.

Jonathan Simkhai presented the virtual world Second Life during New York Fashion Week last year. And in the computer game Fortnite, you can put Balenciaga on your characters.

Soon, terms like NFT were on everyone’s lips. Non-Fungible Tokens, certificates that authenticate virtual objects on a blockchain.

So, if you buy a virtual dress, the certificate gives you the certainty that no one else in the metaverse is running around with exactly the same model. A one-of-a-kind item that in real life is only available in haute couture or from a tailor.

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In part, these specimens also look quite interesting, especially if you are tired of the fact that in fashion only old trends are constantly revived.

Brands like The Fabricant or Tribute Brand have created their very own aesthetic with their virtual designs, using artificial fabrics like cybersilk or sculptural silhouettes.

Unlike in real life, virtual clothes do not restrict freedom of movement and can therefore be rethought in a completely new way.

Conclusion: Are Metaverse Fashion Weeks Here to Stay?

The fact that the first Metaverse Fashion Week is now taking place is a logical consequence of the hype surrounding digital fashion. But it still looks a bit amateurish.

Understandably, some major brands are still hesitant to open a boutique in Decentraland. Experts warn against a hasty and unstrategic approach to this first virtual Fashion Week.

In case of doubt, an appearance could have a negative impact on market value. If the brands wanted to be located in a higher-quality, more professional environment, the event would probably also have to be more exclusive.

But one of the basic ideas of the Metaverse is to be freely accessible to all. But the biggest challenge seems to remain taking fashion seriously in this video game in the first place.

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