Inside the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week

Virtual gaming world Decentraland sought to bring brands into a new era of fashion by hosting the Metaverse Fashion Week between March 24 – 27. Runway shows, pop-up shops, exclusive NFT drops and afterparties opened their doors for anyone to attend fashion events from the comfort of home.

The Metaverse Fashion Week featured more than 50 luxury brands selling both digital and physical items via NFTs.

Tommy Hilfiger: Buy an NFT, get a hoodie on your doorstep 

Tommy Hilfiger, for example, hosted a virtual store where attendees could design avatars to shop limited-edition products from the spring 2022 line. Shoppers browsed 3D images representing the brand’s merchandise, such as a hoodie with the Hilfiger logo that quickly sold out. People could purchase NFTs redeemable for real-life products that would be delivered to their homes. The online store is supported through a partnership with Boson Protocol, a “universal commerce settlement layer for Web3.”

“When I founded my namesake brand in 1985, I never imagined I’d see a time when fashion weeks would be held in a 3D, fully virtual world,” said Tommy Hilfiger in a statement. “As we further explore the metaverse and all it has to offer, I’m inspired by the power of digital technology and the opportunities it presents to engage with communities in fascinating, relevant ways.”

Estée Lauder: Give your avatar a glow-up 

Iconic makeup and beauty brand Estée Lauder launched a store in the metaverse to give out 10,000 NFTs inspired by the brand’s best-selling face serum.

In the middle of the store was a structure shaped like the top of the serum bottle, which dropped complimentary NFTs to attendees who had linked their MetaMask wallet to log into Decentraland. Individuals who snagged one of the NFTs could use it to give their avatar a sparkly, golden glow representing the serum’s effects. How quickly the NFTs ran out is unclear. 

“The metaverse opens up new possibilities to experience the narrative of beauty,” said Alex Box, creator of the Estée Lauder NFTs. “For this exclusive Estée Lauder wearable, I’m translating the essence of Advanced Night Repair by immersing you in ‘Radiance Aura’, a twinkling constellation of glow and magic.” 

Metaverse wearables: a booming business

While this event was a first for Decentraland, selling wearables on its platform was not.

Since 2020, “creators have been pushing both the technical and stylistic limits of Decentraland wearables, and have created a booming economy with over $1 million in sales of avatar wearables last year,” said Decentraland Foundation creative director Sam Hamilton in a statement.

A growing number of traditional luxury and fashion brands are moving into the metaverse in hopes of tapping into a growing market expected to reach $800 billion by 2024, Bloomberg Intelligence estimates.

Around 75% of Gen Z consumers have bought a digital item within a video game and 60% of them believe companies should sell merchandise on metaverse platforms, according to a January survey of 1,001 US consumers conducted by e-commerce platform Obsess. The company has designed virtual stores for brands like Coach, Ralph Lauren, and Christian Dior.

Brands “understand that to reach a younger generation of consumers, they need to create more engaging 3D experiences,” Obsess founder Neha Singh told The Block in February.

Emperia, a London-based virtual reality tech company that has created stores for brands like Dior and Burberry, has also seen promising metrics on its platform.

“We generally see around 70% uplift in conversion rates on average, compared to regular online channels that the brands would use,” Emperia co-founder and CEO Olga Dogadkina told The Block. “We’re seeing a very good percentage of return visitors. So on average, it’s around 30% of visitors coming back.”

Fashion Week on Decentraland followed two other major fashion and crypto-focused events earlier this week: Crypto Fashion Week (CFW), and The Vogue Business and Yahoo Metaverse Experience. Both events also brought together some of the biggest names in fashion and technology.

While brands used to view the metaverse mainly as a marketing strategy, they’ve recently been seeing it as more of a long-term investment, said Dogadkina.

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