Now in its second edition, the highly anticipated Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) took place last week, spanning over March 28 to 31, and, for the first time, spreading across three metaverses, including Decentraland, Over and Spatial. For this year, the theme was ‘Future Heritage’, which saw the event explore the relationship between tradition and innovation.
Over 60 brands, artists and designers took part, with a broad variety of luxury, premium and high street participants at the ready. There was also a particular emphasis on both digital-physical crossovers and cross-metaverse initiatives, as the occasion attempted to expand its horizons and virtually translate the multi-venue experience of fashion month.
Organisers said they further wanted to provide better brand support this year, implementing a variety of awards ceremonies, competitions and educational initiatives to back both emerging and established brands. While the event was often littered with bugs and glitches, there were some occasions that did manage to stand out among others, both for their innovative take on metaverse events and their ability to build on the concept of digital fashion engagement.
Boson Protocol: New toolkit helps brands launch digital fashion products
Web3 tech company Boson Protocol took the opportunity to introduce a new toolkit during MVFW, which it said would allow brands and retailers to commercialise physical assets within Decentraland’s metaverse. The Metaverse Commerce Toolkit provides businesses with a setup process that can be plugged into any of the platform’s scenes, and can also be accessed via the core Decentraland Editor tool. With the kit, Boson hopes to grow access to non-fungible token (NFT) commercialisation, with the likes of DressX, Fang Gang and Blvck Paris having already implemented the feature for their own MVFW shows.
In a release, Justin Banon, co-founder and Boson, said: “Boson supports creators and vendors across Web3 by being the trust-minimising solution for digital commerce. Our Decentraland Metaverse Commerce Toolkit is the latest facilitator towards that goal and is designed to be used by brands and consumers while empowering Decentraland land owners to sell physical products in their own scene. Boson acts as the ‘trust machine’ where buyers and sellers meet, and our toolkit democratises access to decentralised commerce experiences live in Decentraland. We’re delighted to unveil it to mark yet another MVFW.”
Coach: The Tabby Bag becomes gamified
Luxury brand Coach partnered with Zero10 for its own metaverse activation, using the tech company’s augmented reality (AR) technology to create the Tabby Bag in digital form. As part of the virtual bag’s launch, participants could take on the quest ‘Collect the Tabby’ at Coach’s Decentraland pop-up. Once completed, players could scan a QR code that took them to the Zero10 app in order to experience wearable AR clothing. The initiative hoped to provide users with an element of exclusivity to their experience, while also driving engagement for both companies.
The bag drop is the first step of Coach and Zero10’s ongoing partnership, with the duo set to continue collaborating on various AR experiences. For one, a virtual try-on offer will be brought to Coach’s New York store on May 4, where shoppers will be able to “try-on” digital versions of the Tabby Bag via Zero10’s smart mirror. It will mark the first time the tech firm presents its AR storefront solution, allowing passers-by to interact with the product outside the store.
DKNY: Four-floor plaza launches in Decentraland
While DKNY was an avid participant in MVFW’s 2022 edition, this year the brand heightened its efforts further with the opening of DKNY.3, a virtual experience themed around the brand’s spring 2023 campaign. The activation involved the opening of a four-floor building in Decentraland, which housed a DKNY boutique, a New York-style pizzeria, an art gallery and a rooftop lounge overlooking a New York-inspired skyline.
Among the brand’s offerings were four ‘Proof of Attendance Protocols’ (POAPs), including two wearable NFTS, each of which were available to anyone who visited the space. All entrants also received a virtual bucket hat from the spring 2023 collection. As part of the experience, it was possible for attendees to collect a virtual pizza box, poster and t-shirt featuring the new Web3 DKNY soho wall art as they entered each floor. The space was also home to the MVFW closing night party.
Tommy Hilfiger: Multi-metaverse branding experience
Another metaverse regular in attendance was Tommy Hilfiger, a brand that has become accustomed to hosting digital events, having previously hosted virtual iterations of its own physical fashion shows. For this MVFW edition, the brand presented a new, multi-metaverse hub, powered by Emperia, which launched through Decentraland, Roblox, Spatial, DressX and Ready Player Me. Among the space’s activations were that of DressX digital fashion, a Web3 artist collaboration with Vinnie Hagar, AR features, a photo booth, games and a competition to create artificial intelligence (AI) fashion. The hub itself took on the form of the brand’s ‘TH’ monogram, which it recently introduced as part of its autumn 2022 campaign.
Through all of the space’s features, the brand was hoping to create a unified digital story which allowed for seamless movement between its own website and various metaverses, providing an end-to-end shopping journey for users. With the Emperia partnership, Tommy Hilfiger could adopt the tech firm’s method of interoperability, bringing together the metaverse, e-commerce, entertainment and performance. Much of the experience was also dedicated to enhancing the brand’s digital product offering, for which it launched four exclusive items that were available to purchase across platforms, as well as in a physical format.
Boss: AI is brought to the showrooms
Boss took its first steps into the metaverse with the launch of a virtual showroom, which came as an extension of its spring/summer 2023 fashion show in Miami held in the week prior. Notably, Boss incorporated AI technology in order to create the activation, translating the show’s creative concept into the digital sphere. The space itself brought together gamification and a digital shopping experience, allowing users to explore the brand’s products in an interactive space.
Among the showroom’s offerings was digital iterations of Boss pieces, including a blue suit seen on the Miami runway, each of which were shoppable and could be worn on the multi-game avatar platform Ready Player Me. In order to win these pieces, players could collect objects within the space, and were awarded an item on completion of the quest. While the space was launched during MVFW, visitors are still able to access the showroom following the event.
#Capital: Fashion goes to the metaverse opera
MVFW’s opening event was the new fashion-opera, #Capital, created by Scottish composer Alastair White. Set within Metaverse Labs’ platform Dragon City, the show was performed in a bespoke opera house, ‘House of Synergos’, designed by experiential retail architects, Sybarite. During the show, digital fashion pieces by Chenpeng were featured, each curated by the fashion week’s ambassador Gemma Williams. The opera was supported by Tong, which was responsible for hosting a series of events within the venue, including a showcase of Victor Wong’s digital fashion.
Formed under White and Williams’ collective UU Studios, #Capital explores dematerialisation and symbolism, looking into Web3, avatars, virtual reality and exchangeable tokens. It drew references from White’s PhD, in which he reimagined the relationship between garment and music, translating his viewpoints into the digital realm. For Chenpeng, this was also not the first time stepping into virtual space. The designer previously participated in the opening of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, when they first ventured into digital fashion, and later released a collection of digital designs during Shanghai Fashion Week.
Over: Balmain and Pinko participate in co-host platform
In keeping with the multi-platform concept adopted by MVFW this season, AR metaverse platform Over took part as a co-host of the event, offering up its own schedule of brands and projects. Among its participants were Balmain, Pinko, XR Couture, Ecoolska, Vogue Singapore and Ilona Song Fashion House. The event, which was facilitated by the Municipality of Milan, consisted of a hybrid fashion show, where digital avatars sported looks by emerging and established brands. Alongside this, attendees could also utilise Over’s AR app where they could try-on designs in a cross-over experience.
Other aspects of the event included a special panel, with speakers from PwC Italy, the founder of phygital fashion house Ilona Song and Pinko’s digital transformation director Marco Ruffa. Balmain’s NFT collaboration with Space Runners, ‘Unicorn’, was also on display during the event. As part of its efforts to encourage participation, Over unveiled the winners of its cross-metaverse creator contest, where fashion designers could compete to create digital wearables for Over and Decentraland. The top five creators shared a prize pool in the form of an OVR token worth 10,000 dollars, while their works were on display at an event in Over.
In a release, Davide Cuttini, CEO and co-founder of Over, said: “Fashion was among the first industries to recognise the incredible potential of the metaverse and Web3. This is because of the many avenues that these domains open up for fashion, from design to retail. Over extends this horizon further by uniquely merging the virtual and physical worlds using augmented reality. Together, these present a massive opportunity for brands, designers and retailers to reach consumers, anytime and anywhere.”
Mango: High street fashion takes a digital form
European retailer Mango took to MVFW this year as part of its efforts to incorporate digitalisation throughout the company. For this edition, the brand hosted its own area in the Fashion District of Decentraland, designed by members of its Virtual Assets technology team. The group, created last year, is made up of specially-trained engineers who have been tasked with developing digital content and projects for the company in order to immerse it in the virtual world.
Spread over two floors, Mango’s space includes a company store and a runway area, complete with seats for attendees. At the location, participants could purchase five digital wearables for formal events, such as a blouse and a pair of trousers. To present the capsule collection, the retailer hosted a celebratory event earlier in the week, while later it also held another event that took place in memory of the late Luis ‘Lajos’ Arregui Henk, the crypto artist who made Mango’s first NFT and wearables.
Clarks: Arcade and amusement park expand Clarks’ presence
Footwear brand Clarks is rapidly becoming a dependable metaverse participant and has expanded its presence for MVFW with the opening of an immersive entertainment hub, Clarks Arcade. The experience housed both a carnival and rooftop nightclub, and allowed users to take part in Clarks-themed arcade games, dance battles and competitions to win wearables.
At the centre of the Arcade was the ‘Helter-Skel’Tor’, an amusement park based on the Somerset-based Brean Theme Park that is synonymous with Clarks’ Glastonbury home. Within the space, users could enter two gaming zones that paid homage to the brand’s products and story.