What is Virtual Fashion and NFT's?

What is Virtual Fashion and NFT's?

Virtual reality and the metaverse are increasingly hot topics, in a world preparing to definitively embrace the digital transition, even the fashion industry is looking towards a future made up of virtual clothes. Would you ever buy a piece of clothing that doesn't exist? And how much would you be willing to pay for it?

The industry of virtual fashion (also called digital fashion) has already recorded sales of tens of millions of euros, confusing our definition of what is real in fashion and what is not. According to Gucci, the brand of the moment, it is "only a matter of time" before the biggest fashion houses join the world of NFT's (non-fungible tokens) and other aspects of digital fashion.

This is because even fashion is preparing for the transition to the metaverse.


Exclusivity costs

Common financial theory tells us that the less there is of something, the more it is worth. A product can become very expensive if it is complicated to produce or if the raw materials are rare. In ancient Rome, salt was an exclusive and highly priced commodity. It was difficult to produce, and the need was great when meat was to be salted for the soldiers. Now salt is so cheap that we spread it on the roads. On the other hand, we pay a lot for diamonds, because coal pressed into shiny stones over millions of years does not hang on the trees. The limited quantities are also the reason why brands can often charge a higher price for items released in limited editions. If we look at the famous Birkin bag from Hermès, women all over the world are prepared to wait in line for years just to maybe get their hands on a bag that costs from 16,000 EUR up to 400.000 EUR. Here you pay far more than expensive leather and production. You're actually paying for something you can't really touch. Nevertheless, it is this airy quality of the product that determines the pricing.


The Metaverse

The computer games show the way, but the entire two-dimensional world we have come to know over the last 20 years on the Internet is in the process of being replaced by a much more extensive three-dimensional universe, which is going to surround us completely. When we shop, hold meetings, date and surf, we are used to the screen's square format between us and the digital world. It is the mirror we can look into, but not penetrate. It won't stay that way. We can look forward to a future where we don't just consider technology, but where we become a part of it. In large companies such as Meta, Microsoft and Apple, the so-called "metaverse" is heavily invested in. In other words, a virtual world that we can step into, move around in and interact with others in. In addition to your physical presence in the analog world and your spiritual presence in the dream world of the night, you must also prepare that your person will come to exist in the metaverse's 3D mix of play, leisure, work, entertainment and learning. But we expect that virtual life will eventually resemble a lot of what we know from our analogue life. When Teams and Zoom are replaced by virtual meetings, where all meeting participants are present in the same room, and when Tinder suddenly has a virtual function where the two matching parties can see each other's avatar from head to toe, we will probably also start walking a little more about how our digital persona presents itself.


High street and high fashion occupy the metaverse

It is expected that the metaverse will connect over 1 billion. people by 2030, and of course the three-dimensional digital world will be as thoroughly commercialized as the world we otherwise move in. The metaverse will be a shopping slafferland of virtual furnitures, virtual means of transport, virtual pets, virtual art and virtual fashion.

Our avatars get the opportunity to frolic in both well-known high street brands and exclusive labels. In the fall of 2021, an auction of digital Dolce & Gabbana clothing, jewelry and art grossed a whopping $6 million. In December 2021, Adidas sold $22 million from their digital collection Into the metaverse in just one afternoon. Gucci has opened an online concept store called Vault and in winter 2022 began selling the digital art collection SuperGucci. And when Balenciaga opened a virtual store in the popular game Fortnite last year, their collection of virtual hoodies, tops and pants suddenly became the talk of both the gaming and fashion world. Style-conscious Fortnite players could dress their avatar in virtual Balenciaga fashion for about $10 a pop. garment. Although critical voices believed that it was harmful for an exclusive brand to lean on the "cheap" computer game universe, there was apparently a gain in the presence in a digital world with almost 400 million users. The clever PR stunt gave Balenciaga invaluable visibility in an attractive Gen Z target group.


NFT changes everything

In addition to not really having any tactile value, digital files basically have the problem that they can be copied and distributed easily. So why should we spend money on them?

We find the explanation in the NFT technology. NFT stands for Non Fungible Tokens. Loosely translated, it means something that cannot be immediately replaced by something else. A very curvy way of saying that something is unique. The interesting thing here is that NFT's make it possible to make a digital file unique. This means that you can get a proof of ownership for a digital designer bag or digital artwork. So while in principle anyone can take a screenshot of an expensive artwork, there is still only one person who can have the unique ownership, and this can be proven with an NFT. In practice, you can say that what you buy is bragging rights. That way, you can turn all sorts of things into a unique salable NFT and it becomes possible to create digital limited editions. And just as a Birkin bag can be a good investment, an NFT designer bag can also increase or, of course, decrease in value. But it has value. And if you want to own a unique bag in the analog world, why wouldn't you also want to own a unique bag in the digital one? Are you ready to buy virtual fashion now?