woman jacket shopping

Brands Trying Out New Looks at Metaverse Fashion Show

Walking the Decentraland Catwalk

Over the weekend, a digital fashion show was held in the virtual world called Decentraland. It was part of the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week, and brands such as Estée Lauder (EL), Forever 21, and DKNY (GIII) participated. As of last month, Decentraland had roughly 562,000 monthly active users.

Both smaller startup brands and established players in the fashion world reportedly see upside in the metaverse, where physical products can be marketed, and digital assets like NFTs or non-fungible tokens can be sold.

The chairwoman of Metaverse Fashion Week says the event shows virtual fashion is of high importance to clothing companies. While digital fashion shows have been held in past years, the fashion week highlighted the metaverse itself, and the ability to buy products and interact with others while in the digital space.

Companies Exploring Metaverse

Consultants say the digital fashion show allowed brands to study how comfortable customers are when it comes to shopping inside the metaverse. Estée Lauder gave away 10,000 NFT-backed wearables that allowed users’ avatars to glow. Company executives hope that leads to more brand awareness, and customers visiting their website or buying products in real life.

NFTs, which are traded via blockchain technology similar to cryptocurrencies, are a big part of how brands are looking to digitally interact with customers. Forever 21 and apparel group Cider Holding sold NFTs throughout the fashion week. Some participants don’t sell any physical products, such as NFT XRCouture, a digital clothing company. For these companies the metaverse grants exposure and opportunity.

The Big Metaverse Money

It’s clearly not just fashion that’s fueling the metaverse trend, as over the past year millions of dollars have been invested in the digital space. When Facebook (FB) changed its name to Meta Platforms it generated significant buzz, and a number of high-profile executives have signed onto metaverse companies. Former Walt Disney Co. (DIS) CEO Robert Iger is among them, as he joined up with avatar technologies company Genies Inc.

The fashion week’s host Dencentraland is one of several virtual world platforms that marketers have been experimenting with. Sandbox is another metaverse platform that’s raised millions in fundraising. Proponents of the metaverse argue it will be a part of people’s everyday lives in two to three years. That sort of sentiment does seem fashionable right now. Time will tell if it’s more of a seasonal fad.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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