“Metaverse Fashion Week is designed to test brand and consumer appetite for digital fashion“–Paul Ebeling
“It is this big experiment that is coming to life,” says Evangelo Bousis, co-founder of Dundas, which recently digitized the look it made for Mary J Blige’s Super Bowl performance and is participating in the 1st-ever Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW). “We are all participating for the first time that is the beauty of all this but you do get nervous,” Mr. Bousis admits. “We get worried because it’s an extension of the brand, and we want it to be on brand.”
Plans and preparations are coming down to the wire. Designers are taking their time committing to final concepts, requiring urgent implementation by about 50 tech firms, says Sam Hamilton, creative director at Decentraland Foundation. And, the digital performance of 2 leading names in music are still not confirmed.
“It’s not to do with fashion specifically, but the physical world versus the digital,” he says, speaking to the adjustments and novelty needed to adapt to a fashion week in the metaverse. For many brands, this is the first time appearing in a virtual event. For everyone involved, this is the first time participating in a virtual fashion event of this scale.
MVFW, which started Thursday, 24 March on virtual real estate platform Decentraland, is the largest digital fashion event to date. It is open to anyone, and a full schedule will appear online. Ongoing events throughout a 4-day period include a handful of shows, alongside showrooms, stores, panels, virtual parties and NFT drops. It’s also become a major crossover event for mainstream fashion, with brands including Paco Rabanne, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Tommy Hilfiger, Dundas and Cavalli set to join digital firms such as Auroboros and DressX.
For both participants and observers, the event is a highly anticipated collective experiment. In some ways, the fact that this event exists at all is enough to impress. “Obviously you set expectations high, but we also have to go in with an open mind and take risks,” Dundas’s Bousis says.
Tentpole shows still anchor the inaugural schedule.
Thursday saw the debut with a Perry Ellis show followed by shows and parties hosted by Dolce & Gabbana and Philipp Plein, who will show digital-only designs.
Friday, Anrealage and Etro will show, followed by an afterparty from digital fashion brand Tribute Brand and DJ Icykof.
Saturday, Cider, Fresh Couture and The Fabricant will show, followed by an afterparty hosted by Italian luxury sneaker brand Hogan and NFT marketplace Exclusible with DJ Bob Sinclar.
Sunday, Dundas will show, digital art producers The Vogue will show a collaboration with streetwear brand Hype, followed by the Placebo digital fashion house; digital luxury brand Auroboros will close MVFW, with other events to be announced and subject to change.
Some brands are using wearables and NFTs as giveaways.
Estée Lauder, as the exclusive beauty brand, is giving away up to 10,000 NFTs, created with makeup artist Alex Box, known for her surreal looks, and based on the brand’s Advanced Night Repair serum. Visitors who “step inside” the product’s brown bottle will receive the Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) NFT, represented by the artwork, to give their avatars “a glowing look”.
The Big Q: How will street style, a recurring element of fashion month, show up in the metaverse?
The Big A: Everyone recognizes this as a live experiment no 1 including those producing it, know what will happen.
People attending the Cult Couture gallery are encouraged to upload screenshots of their avatars to Twitter for a chance to win digital fashion NFTs.
As of Tuesday, 2 celebrity music performances were in the works.
Have a happy, prosperous weekend, Keep the Faith!