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What's next in digital fashion?

By Kristopher Fraser


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Image: Unsplash

Blockchain technology is transforming everything from our currency to our internet interactions. The birth of Web3, in laymen’s terms, is an extension of cryptocurrency using blockchain in new ways. Blockchain technology can store tokens in a wallet, the terms of a contract, and the code for decentralized apps.

The rise of Web3 has been accompanied by things outside of currency, including DAOs, NFTS, and the metaverse. DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, are those formed by members of a controlling unit. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are forms of data stored in a blockchain associated with digital files. NFTS are collector's items that can reach high prices. The metaverse combines virtual reality, augmented reality, and blockchain-inspired by concepts from social media that mimic real-world interactions.

The fashion industry has already hopped on the NFT train. Virtual fashion brand RTFKT sold a digital jacket for 125,000 dollars last year. Although there is much talk about how e-commerce and mobile commerce will continue to transform fashion, the advent of Web3 should also receive special attention. Digital fashion is entering its next frontier.

With the growth of Web3, more independent designers can take their careers into their own hands. Independent designers are earning a living through producing digital skins of games and creating NFTs. Digital-only fashion houses are also becoming a thing. The Fabricant has become one of the biggest digital-only fashion houses in the industry, attracting metaverse and blockchain fans. Independent designers can also find aid from DAO Digitalax, a Web3 fashion ecosystem targeted toward independent fashion designers trying to enter Web3. Metafactory is another DAO focused on launching community-owned fashion brands.

During the era of Web2, which saw the rise of blogs and social media influencers, fashion was further democratized. Fashion shows also began streaming on the internet, and street-style blogs evolved into a staple of the fashion industry. The world of high fashion went beyond those who just consumed celebrity red carpets for entertainment. Fans of luxury fashion gained a small level of insider access to the fashion world through live-streamed fashion shows and behind the scenes from social media influencers they followed.

Despite its attempts to democratize the fashion industry, the metaverse is also becoming an expensive playground for brands looking to keep themselves current. Fashion designer Denni Francisco released a VR film that was no cheap feat to make. Still, designers see this as beneficial to the future of the fashion ecosystem. Fashion enthusiasts can now try on different designs in virtual reality.

This has potential benefits for physical products. If products are physically tangible and customers like how they look on, they are more inclined to buy and not return. Returns have long plagued retail as one of the biggest problems, and any technology to reduce return rates is always welcome.

Big-name players, including Kering, LVMH, and Richemont, have all hopped on the train of virtual reality showrooms and tradeshows too. If buyers and fashion people need to travel less for tradeshows because they can view them virtually, this has environmental benefits too.

The opportunities for fashion brands in Web3 and the next phase of digital fashion are huge. As brands try to maintain ownership of their products and appeal to the next generation of consumers, digital fashion only stands to evolve. Web3 stands to be the next big thing in fashion, and the fashion metaverse only stands to expand.

Digital Fashion