• Home
  • News
  • Business
  • The top metaverse-based fashion events of 2022, and if they are returning next year

The top metaverse-based fashion events of 2022, and if they are returning next year

By Rachel Douglass

9 Dec 2022

Business

Metaverse Fashion Week 2022, runway shows. Image: Decentraland

This year saw an overabundance of digital and metaverse-based events designed to both inform on and accelerate the adoption of digitalisation in the fashion industry and beyond.

While some took to already established virtual world platforms, others developed their own world to display exhibits, digital designs or presentations that also came in the form of panel discussions. FashionUnited has compiled a list of the top fashion events that took place this year, with information on everything you need to know about them and what possibilities there are to look out for next year.

Before reading, you can brush up on your metaverse terminology here.

Feb & Sept: Digital Fashion Week NYC

Digital Fashion Week NYC 2022. Image: Digital Fashion Week

B2B event Digital Fashion Week NYC took place both in February and September this year, continuing on its mission to become a digital complement to ongoing fashion weeks. For the most recent iteration, its format mirrored that of a trade event, with an exhibition floor that led out to a screening room, where longer panel discussions, films and informative talks took place. A series of fashion animations by designers around the world kicked off the event, followed by a number of speaker presentations, networking events and a fashion show, each of which contributed to the company’s attempt to form a 360 view of the industry.

Since its inception in February 2021, the group behind the event has seen tremendous growth, its founder and director Clare Tattersall said, with key brands “lining up” to talk to the independent designers that have worked with the team.

“We are creating possibilities and conversations about the entire digitalisation of fashion,” she added. “Our idea is to create immersive experiences where you can really experience fashion. I think the fashion buying public want something new. They want to be engaged in different, meaningful ways. We want to provide all these different methods of interacting with fashion for the betterment of the fashion industry.”

Tattersall’s emphasis on independent designers stems from her belief that these creators have a key place in the future of fashion, with the event itself designed to further drive the upheaval of traditional hierarchies. Each element of the event further accentuated the need to democratise digital fashion and the industry around it, allowing, for example, anyone who was interested in speaking to apply for slots in the schedule, resulting in a broad mix of participants.

Digital Fashion Week NYC 2023 banner. Image: Digital Fashion Week
Pros Cons
The event’s B2B focus put participating businesses at the heart of the concept, ensuring their needs were met The concept of the show is constantly under development, so it can be unclear as to what to expect for the next edition
Its European expansion will bring both physical and digital events to a global audience, enabling more participants to join On first entering the digital platform, the controls of the site can be tricky to get to grips with, often making the navigation difficult
Talks and exhibitors spanned an expensive topic range, ensuring that a good variety of subject matters were covered throughout the week Its placement within the busy fashion week seasons could mean those who wish to attend are already preoccupied with other schedules
Will it be returning next year?

Yes! And in even more ways. Speaking to FashionUnited Tattersall said the company is currently preparing for its expansion into Europe, including further iterations of the event during London Fashion Week and, potentially, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Each of the events will differ per city in order to fully reflect their relationships with fashion.

On Digital Fashion Week’s future, Tattersall said: “Our hope is to create collaborations, provide opportunities for innovators and bring them together. This will very much vary as we move through each season. We don’t want people to know what to expect and we are constantly looking to improve everything we do.” The event’s New York edition is currently set to take place from February 9 to 14, 2023.

Feb: Metaverse Fashion Week by Everyrealm

Everyrealm's Metaverse Fashion Week in collaboration with Jonathan Simkhai and Blueberry. Image: Everyrealm, MVFW 22

Everyrealm, an investor and developer of metaverse solutions, hosted its own take on Metaverse Fashion Week alongside digital wearable designer Blueberry and physical fashion designer Jonathan Simkhai. Coinciding with New York Fashion Week, the invite-only event took place in open world platform Second Life and provided a digital take on Simhkai’s autumn/winter 2022 collection a day prior to his in-person NYFW show.

Digital wearables presented on the runway were direct transformations of real life garments, created through the utilisation of digital design software and video gaming technology. Each of the items could be worn by avatars in the metaverse or in photos shared online.

Speaking on the event, Simkhai said in a release at the time: “Expanding our collection into the metaverse was a natural extension, but it was critical that the experience remain true to the digital world we were entering without diminishing the brand’s integrity.”

Everyrealm's Metaverse Fashion Week in collaboration with Jonathan Simkhai and Blueberry. Image: Everyrealm, MVFW 22
Pros Cons
Everyrealm’s designer focus allows for visitors to fully immerse themselves in a specific brand and ensures details are highly intricate The invite-only atmosphere, as much as it helped to establish exclusivity, barricaded the event off to other possibly interested parties
Simkhai’s phygital adoption allows both online and offline usage of garments, widening possibilities for the audience With only one brand involved, the content of the event was not far reaching and didn’t enable multiple interpretations
Everyrealm and Second Life’s partnership saw a production that was distinctly more advanced than its metaverse counterparts Implementation in Second Life doesn’t allow for further metaverse expansion, limiting the possibility of the digital products
Will it be returning next year?

While it is currently unclear whether Everyrealm’s Metaverse Fashion Week, or a different iteration of the event, will be making a return next year, a spokesperson for the tech company said it was currently focused on its activation and project The Row, which it presented at Art Basel.

The initiative, as stated on its dedicated website, is a members-only metaverse real estate development platform, where artists that hold an Architectural Design NFT are able to interact and design within various digital spaces. While the first Row District is currently available in world-building platform Mona, future districts are expected to debut in other metaverses over time.

Mar: Crypto Fashion Week

Lara Vivara's Effervescence at Crypto Fashion Week. Image: Lara Vivara

Held between March 18 and 22, 2022, the second edition of Crypto Fashion Week took place, once again organised and produced with cryptomedia company Universe Contemporary. Following the theme ‘Be like water’, the event centred around the avant-garde, with an array of independent designers and digital-first brands at the forefront of its schedule.

DressX partnered with a handful of digital-centric and physical designers, including the likes of Roksanda, Shayli Harrison and Yimeng Yu, on NFTs that were sold via an auction. While Roksanda’s looks were sported by newly unveiled avatars Leanne 8.1 and Catty 8.1, in a collaboration with the Institute of Digital Fashion, Rebecca Minkoff dropped her second NFT collection which included the transformation of the brand’s signature ‘Morning After Bag’. Panel discussions and talks were held within a below sea level landscape, where avatars of panellists spoke on topics such as augmented reality (AR), sustainability, Web3 platforms and identity.

The makers of Crypto Fashion Week were behind the creation of the Meta Gala, an event that took place in September 2021, simultaneous to the Met Gala. In contrast to the real-life occasion, virtual influencers and designers of NFT outfits were invited to attend the digital event, to show off looks that could then be purchased in a Web3-based auction. Designers and fashion houses that presented looks on the white carpet included The Fabricant, Tribute Band, Reo and Karl Lagerfeld, which had gifted virtual influencer Lil Miquela a digital suit from its Karl by Karl collection.

Artificial Butterfly by Yimeng Yu, Crypto Fashion Week. Image: Yimeng Yu
Pros Cons
Independent digital designers were at the forefront of this event, with the goal of democratising digital fashion There was a particular focus on rare, one-off items, which while creating a sense of exclusivity, put up a barrier for wider customers to get involved
Reruns of the event were widely available on YouTube and other forms of social media, allowing access to content at a larger scale The highly advanced, avant-garde nature of designs made it fairly niche and possibly difficult to break into
This fashion week saw huge engagement over various media outlets and channels, bringing in a significant amount of discussion and reach Much of this event was dependent on NFT ownership and cryptocurrency, elements that are not fully utilised by younger buyer groups
Will it be returning next year?

It is currently unclear if CFW will be making a return next year. The Instagram account of the event’s initial producer, Universe Contemporary, has not been active since March 2022, while the official CFW account has also not posted since April.

While a Metagala 22 concept preview was unveiled during Miami Art Week on December 3, by the same organisers of CFW, it is not yet clear whether Meta Gala or CFW will be returning in the same form next year. Digital design house Injury did tease that it would be offering up a 2023 fashion collection showcase during Metagala 22, on its website. Additionally, a Telegram account for the events referenced ‘CFW 23’ in its description, possibly confirming its comeback.

Mar: Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week

Dolce & Gabbana Metaverse Fashion Week 2022. Image: Decentraland, MVFW 22

Arguably one of the most hyped metaverse events of this year, Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) saw 108,000 unique attendees visit over the five days it was held, from March 24 to 27. The event featured everything from virtual store openings to a jam-packed fashion show schedule and afterparties hosted by celebrity stars.

Decentraland boasted a strong brand line up, with many international labels using the event to make their metaverse debuts. While Selfridges opened a digital iteration of its department store, other brands partnered with Web3 tech firms to open stores in various ‘districts’ of the virtual world. Puma and Perry Ellis launched pop-ups in Rarible’s New York-inspired Fresh Drip Zone, DKNY and Casablanca opened stores in Boson Protocol’s digital mall and Etro and Dolce & Gabbana unveiled locations in UNXD’s Luxury Fashion District.

According to the platform’s final figures, 7,065 wearable were sold from different designers and brands during the course of the five days, 165,861 free wearables were minted, while 76,757 dollars worth of wearables were sold in total.

Rarible's Decentraland shopping quarter. Image: Decentraland, MVFW 22
Pros Cons
In comparison to other events of its calibre, MVFW boasted a large reach backed by media reporting and brand engagement Most of the brands that presented were luxury-based and therefore often didn’t connect with the platform’s young consumer base
The array of established brands that presented gave MVFW a prominent schedule, with many having the ability to show an advanced side of digital fashion The event attracted a large visitor base, and while this generated engagement, it often left runways crowded and parts of the platform faulty
MVFW brought in a significant Gen Z audience, a customer base that is leading the way in digital fashion and making it valuable For those unfamiliar with the metaverse terrain, Decentraland could prove to be challenging to navigate, with expansive areas that required a lot of exploration
Will it be returning next year?

Yes! MVFW has announced the dates for its next event to be March 28 to 31, 2023. More information on the upcoming event can be found here.

Jul: Meta Festival by Dept

Meta Festival 2022. Image: Dept

Hailed the “first 24-hour” metaverse event, Meta Festival took place over the course of June 28. The event was set in Metapolis, a virtual world developed by digital agency Dept and metaverse company Journee, which featured areas like a ‘live’ stage for panel discussions and four discovery areas that covered varying topics. In total, 123 speakers took part in the event, and were either dotted around the eccentric map or were hosted in presentations on the main stage, all of which users could view by controlling a personalised avatar around the space. Participants included individuals from the likes of Calvin Klein and H&M, as well as Coca-Cola, Epic Games and Netflix.

Over its 24 hours, the event saw 6,500 attendees from 109 countries, covering three separate time zones. Its reach amounted to 8.2 million people, helping Dept achieve its goal of expanding the brand and increasing its database.

Kristin Conin, head of US marketing at Dept, told FashionUnited: “The feedback was very positive. At the time, there weren’t a lot of events in the metaverse that also felt accessible, so I think we had the benefit of timing. Given it’s a topic so many brands are trying to figure out and understand, we tried to cast as wide a net as possible. We aimed to lean the event more towards brands, but anytime you’re talking about especially crypto, there’s an audience that comes along with that which is probably a little more consumer based.”

Conin noted that while there were some unanticipated connectivity issues, largely due to too many people attempting to connect to the server, the team’s emphasis on user experience really shone through, resulting in a simple-to-use platform. She added that participants weren’t selected solely from Dept’s client base, but from a wider reach of individuals, brands and companies that had an interesting input into the world of digital fashion and Web3 development.

Meta Festival 2022. Image: Dept
Pros Cons
Panels and talks were extremely informative, and ranged from introductory seminars to advanced discussions on topics within Web3 and digitalisation There was a less of a focus on fashion for this event, so not as much of a platform for digital design and production
Compared to many of its peers, Meta Festival was very user-friendly and simple to navigate, with smooth controls and clearly marked areas Its popularity often resulted in some glitches and visible difficulties on the tech side
The event consisted of an expansive range of topics, covering a vast proportion of subject areas within digital fashion, crypto and e-commerce Much of the event was designed for educational and discussion-based purpose, with less emphasis on digital products
Will it be returning next year?

Unfortunately, it has not yet been decided if the Meta Festival, or a version of it, will take place next year. Its operator Dept is, however, focused on the development of initiatives that further integrate metaverse and Web3 strategies into its business, in a bid to amplify the topics for both its client brands and its own staff.

Speaking to FashionUnited, Dept’s director of technology, Isabel Perry, said that while the company couldn’t confirm if it would do a Meta Festival next year, it would be running a number of other events that focus on the aspects of community and immersion within different platforms, like Discord and Twitch.

Perry added: “We’re really interested in ticketing and in the token gate community [utilising NFTs and crypto for exclusive access to events and content], so we’re thinking about these things for our next event. How do you create that sense of community? How do you encourage people to meet one another? How do you start applying these technologies? From a marketing perspective, these kinds of events can reach people in a way that is more impactful, can drive brand engagement and can connect with more people in a way you are not able to do in physical spaces.”

Aug: Metaverse Fashion Event by Style.me

Style.Me's Metaverse Fashion Event in collaboration with XRSpace and CLA Fashion Platform. Image: Style.Me

3D fashion tech company Style.me partnered with metaverse developer XRSpace and Chinese fashion marketplace CLA Fashion Platform on an event that ran over the course of a month, from July 28 to August 31. The group hosted an immersive space within Goxr, XRSpace’s digital world platform, that allowed users to manoeuvre personalised avatars to view runway shows, virtually try-on digital products and take part in industry talks and panels.

Next to shows by CLA, in which the brand displayed digital collections of ‘next-gen’ designers, the event also featured eight talks by industry professionals in China. Topics ranged from introductory pieces on digital fashion and tech to subjects that had less of a focus on digitalisation, such as costume or board game design. Talks could be viewed within a presentation room, where visitors were able to seat their avatars to watch and interact with speakers.

In the release, Style.Me’s president, Rufus Parkinson, said: “From day one, Style.Me’s goal has been to enable consumers to visualise and interact with fashion in the digital space. This partnership allows brands and designers to take that first step into the metaverse and engage with new audiences across these virtual worlds.”

In terms of response, COO for CLA Fashion Platform Dida Lin told FashionUnited that the trio were met with positivity, as participants expressed their enthusiasm for seeing a metaverse runway for the first time. Lin went on to say: “Participants commented that they had learnt a lot because of all the lectures we also had, on ‘digital fashion’, NFTs and tech talks.”

Style.Me's Metaverse Fashion Event with CLA Fashion Platform and GOXR. Image: CLA Fashion Platform
Pros Cons
Panels and talks were designed to be introductory, providing a clear overview of various subjects participants may be new to For those who are unfamiliar with avatars and metaverse platforms, the event could have proved challenging at first to move around
With CLA’s involvement and its array of panellists, the event gave a good insight into the advanced Chinese digital fashion market Despite all talks being available on YouTube following the event, each of them were only in Chinese making it difficult for an international audience
Talks, general exploration and shows each had highly interactive elements, allowing users to easily communicate with one another The event mostly covered designers part of CLA’s platform and therefore had less of a reach in terms of participation
Will it be returning next year?

While all of the company’s have not yet confirmed if another event will take place, a press release by Style.me and XRSpace stated that Metaverse Fashion Event was the first of many phygital experiences that will take place under their partnership, each with the goal of bringing increased utility for digital fashion.

For CLA Fashion Platform, this entry into the metaverse will also not be its first. Dida Lin, COO for the marketplace, told FashionUnited: “We are planning to work out a virtual fashion show next year, to break the fashion boundaries of countries and make more people aware of what CLA and our partners are doing for this tech industry.”

Sept: World of Women Fest

World of Women Fashion Fest 2022. Image: RLTY

Over the course of three days, from September 20 to 22, World of Women Fest took to Decentraland to present a range of festivities, from dancing events to runways. The occasion was developed by metaverse event company RLTY, alongside digital fashion house The Fabricant and female-run NFT community World of Women (WoW). A press release by RLTY said the event aimed to virtually connect industry leaders, enable collaboration and enrich conversations through a new environment.

The defining part of the event was the launch of fashion metaverse headquarters, Synth Avenue, where pop-up shops by digital fashion brands and large screens for panel discussions were located in a space mirroring New York’s Fifth Avenue. As part of the event, WoW and The Fabricant also teamed up on a 27-piece digital collection that centred around bringing women into the metaverse. Each of the looks, available to purchase as NFTs on OpenSea or using Decentraland’s Mana currency, could be viewed in rotating dispensers within the virtual retail space. Brands such as Adidas, Puma and Under Armour, as well as 20 material designers, also took part in the occasion.

In an attempt to enhance exclusivity, event panellists, designers and WoW members were each given access to a VIP area, while WoW also launched a limited number of crypto purses, including a ‘Supernova purse’. According to a press release, thousands of participants descended on the event, sometimes causing glitches in the server, however, RLTY noted that customers proved to be patient in order to take part. The firm added: “If users are willing to bear with the cumulative beta version of metaverse technology, we can only imagine what mass adoption might look like as platforms constantly improve their UX.”

Over its three days, the event was attended by an average of 150 users each day, with peaks during day two, when there were panel discussions by The Fabricant and Anna Dart, and day three for the closing party.

World of Women Fashion Fest 2022. Image: RLTY
Pros Cons
The event focused on pushing women to the forefront of digital fashion, a space they are often a minority in Decentraland comes with various technical limitations, often resulting in faulty user experiences
The addition of exclusive offers encouraged participation of brands and consumers alike, blurring the lines between B2B and B2C A focus on more established brands left less room for independents and start-ups to get involved
Despite technical difficulties, RLTY said visitors were patient, showing their willingness to wait for such an event and their desire to take part Exclusive offers were mostly available to select participants, putting up an obstacle for those who want to get further integrated
Will it be returning next year?

While RLTY was not currently able to outline what plans were coming next year, it did confirm that similar events were on the horizon, with a spokesperson for the company stating there was “a lot to share soon”.

Nov: Metaverse Fashion Summit

Metaverse Fashion Council x Mext 'Metaverse Fashion Summit'. Image: Mext

Like similar counterparts, the Metaverse Fashion Summit was laid out in a format reminiscent of physical trade shows, in a virtual space that held an exhibition floor, speaker venue and press room. The three-day event, which was hosted by metaverse developer firm Mext alongside the Metaverse Fashion Council, a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO), spanned from November 28 to 30, with a panel schedule that ran over the course of around five hours each day.

The summit could be viewed in several Mext-built metaverse platforms along with an array of real world locations, including Tokyo, Delhi, Dubai, Paris, London and New York. It also boasted a vast schedule of 40 expert-led talks, three ‘round table’ discussions and creative events and presentations that covered alternating areas of the ‘digital fashion’ topic. An additional ‘Demo Day’ also took place one of the days, providing startups, projects and entrepreneurs with a platform to network with angel investors and venture capitalists.

The event’s goal was to bring together leaders of the industry to discuss and develop future policies and standards surrounding metaverse fashion. Topics discussed included ‘phygitalisation’, luxury brands and the inclusion of women in the industry, while participants varied from founders of various metaverse platforms to creative directors of digital fashion brands.

Metaverse Fashion Council x Mext 'Metaverse Fashion Summit'. Image: Mext
Pros Cons
Event opens up with a clear explanation of functions to make it easy to navigat Platform often glitched and became slow depending on how many users were attempting to access it
A huge array of speakers and exhibitors took part, spanning all areas of the industry and informing on a wide range of topics Areas were often unclearly marked so it became difficult to know what you were viewing
Both physical and digital events were held over multiple locations, allowing for a wider user base to join in on the occasion Topics could often be quite advanced and therefore some were not completely suitable to newcomers
Will it be returning next year?

Yes! Mext will be working with the Metaverse Fashion Council again on a quarterly event, ‘Metaverse Fashion Fest’. Speaking to FashionUnited, Mext CEO Hanène Maupas said the next occasion has been planned for January 12 to 13, 2023, with a meeting having already taken place between the two organisations to discuss the possible agenda.

Digital Fashion
Metaverse
METAVERSE FASHION WEEK