Written by Anora
The Metaverse is creating a more inclusive and diverse fashion industry. One of the key advantages of the metaverse is that it allows for greater expression and experimentation with our virtual identities, leading to the creation of unique fashion styles that were not previously possible. – Nataliya Grimberg
From February 24-25, 2023, the second edition of the NFT Paris conference was held. It attracted more than 18,000 visitors, who were welcomed to The Grand Palais éphémère, one of the most iconic reception venues in France. It is the cultural and artistic epicenter of the French capital, born from the Universal Exposition of 1900 that saw the rise of countless innovations.
The event was also attended by many prominent figures from the local political scene, in particular Jean-Noël Barrot, French Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Telecommunications – who noted that the full implementation of NFTs in French and European regulations is only a matter of time and that “France is now the most dynamic place in the European Web3 ecosystem and possibly in the world.” Another prominent figure was First Lady Brigitte Macron.
Nataliya Grimberg at NFT Paris
We are observing a rapid evolution of Virtual Fashion as with the rise of NFT technology it has become easier than ever for creators to promote and sell their digital fashion items to a worldwide audience – just look at those high res NFT avatars in Somnium Space to discover what’s already possible in the metaverse. This democratization of the fashion industry allows for greater diversity and innovation, as new voices and perspectives can enter the web3 conversation – Nataliya Grimberg
Artur Sychov, founder and CEO of Somnium Space, also made an appearance and joined Nataliya’s presentation via VR to share his views on the subject.
Nataliya and Artur in a cross reality presentation at NFT Paris
Let’s dig deeper and see how the metaverse, according to Nataliya, will reshape the fashion industry.
Fashion through the years, and now
Fashion has taken on so many hats through the centuries, a new hem, a new cloth, a different button, and so forth. Looks go from trending to old news in a matter of each new season. Designers emerge from various periods of history to make a name for themselves. Different styles emerge from various parts of the earth. Runways are decorated with dazzling lights and become the first passageway for cutting edge looks, and sharp wardrobes. Yet, rules and regulations were imposed upon the public to make sure status was maintained. Imagine, once upon a time the color purple was only for the royals and the wealthy. Fashion is art in motion. Fashion gurus and consumers become enamored with the latest looks, and dress to impress as they adorn themselves in lush fabrics and designer names. Hours upon hours, and over billions of dollars are spent in the production of new lines. The perfect textile must be found for the best quality. Passion, sweat, and tears to get it just right. Not to mention finding the right model for the job. The job is no easy feat for designers to come up with something new. Something fresh. Yet fashion seems to always “miss the mark.” A fashion sin. What’s on the market isn’t always show stopping. It isn’t always new. There seems to be a stand still in the industry as looks created tend to make consumers fit in, rather than stand out.
Often looks become reinvented and recycled. Which adds the question whether fashion is undergoing change or is it on rotation? Designs are just reminiscent of old; though always coolly reimagined. Yet there’s a constant desire for change, a new, and it’s so difficult to accomplish. The show stopping within fashion is left on the run way, and the small essence of jaw dropping pieces are given to consumers. Causing a separation between the design and what’s worn on the streets. Often people feel the outrageous is only for the models, while they are left to dress under the radar. An ideology that true fashion is only accessible to celebrities, and us “normals” don’t feel like we can set a trend ourselves. Not to mention the environmental impact fast fashion is leaving behind in its wake. Because the elaborate designers are deemed inaccessible, fast fashion steal the ideas and makes the cheap counter pieces for the public to fill the need to “Keep up with the Kardashians.” A true issue in and of its self, and something to pay close attention to. Even still, fashion is important for most of the world’s population and being able to express oneself through fashion is a stone mark in individuality. After all fashion is an industry, and like all industries fashion needs to broaden it’s horizons and improve. A massive pushing of the enveloped for change whilst hoping to produce something fresh and eye catching and becoming more carbon neutral.
That’s where the metaverse has come in. To change the game.
The Metaverse is changing fashion, and how fashion is being utilized in this realm
I mentioned two pillars of improvement fashion must undergo, the accessibility for true individuality self expression, and fashion’s ability to not be a part of the problem when it comes to waste and pollution. To tackle the first fashion within the metaverse is on the rise and creating the difference. Folks from around the world at any financial position are able to design any outlandish character for themselves as they navigate virtual reality. One can set their own trend. Express there own individuality and what they feel is glamorous rather than being told what’s in season. Nataliya shared how she thinks it’s a key advantage in the metaverse that it allows for greater expression and experimentation with our virtual identities, leading to the creation of unique fashion styles that were not previously possible. Looks are cutting edge and with the changing times. More futuristic and glam are emerging from the minds of people that just want to stand out and express what they like, Nataliya advocates for this saying:
“One of the most exciting aspects of creating fashion for the metaverse is that it is open to any creator – Somnium Space offers a unique opportunity for independent designers to showcase their work on a global stage without the need for large capital investments or physical retail spaces.”
Seemingly, what is not available in physical reality is accessible in virtual reality.
Noting she has collaborated to build an incredible Fashion World in Somniumn Space (at parcel 377, for those who are interested) with a number of branded avatars and showrooms that anyone can visit and get inspired by.
“Having the component of accessibility is where the metaverse has the upper hand. What has been seen exclusively on runways in the days before can be worn on the everyday with no second thought in virtual reality. From the looks themselves to the readily accessible showrooms! The inspiration can resonate across the platform 24/7!”
Plus the the environmental impact is minimal, where lines are created for only the runways, and fabrics are sewn and discarded, new looks can be designed within the metaverse before they’re even materialized in physical reality for the public. The metaverse has held virtual fashion shows where just that is happening.
“Virtual fashion shows and exhibitions are becoming more commonplace – I have especially enjoyed curating our first-ever VR Metaverse Fashion Week in Somnium Space – and designers are experimenting with new ways to showcase their work using virtual reality technology”, says Nataliya.
Clothing is designed and displayed within the metaverse for everyone to spectate and see before they’re ever produced, and that’s just the beginning. The metaverse is adding an element to fashion that is making waves everywhere. The physical industry isn’t good for the earth; though fair-trade clothing companies and authentic climate neutral industries are starting to create a shift toward physical improvements. While the virtual realm in fashion facilitates a new ecosystem that is more innovative and green all around Nataliya added,
”The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries globally, and the metaverse offers an opportunity to address this. Digital fashion items and NFTs have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of production and distribution by eliminating physical resources and materials. Making fashion in the metaverse a greener alternative to buying physical and designing items.”
We see how fashion’s evolution is rapidly advancing in the space. Through coding and fixing “bugs,” and a desire to make a difference the metaverse is now able to enable more than we thought possible. Forget about the days of old with pixelated generic avatars. Through applications like “Ready Player Me,” avatar’s are able to be designed as elaborate as users like. In addition, through the various creative NFT avatar designs the possibilities are endless. From just another fun way to express oneself by designing and dressing avatars. Fashion designers are now seeing the benefits of displaying designs in the metaverse. For one being less costly, but also a utilizing the platform for there own expression and to quickly appease the desire to design and model looks. Not to mention it’s just another fun way to go about things. In the metaverse fashion shows are easier to get going, and are completely accessible to those excited about what’s next in season. Nataliya says:
“It is vital that fashion in the metaverse is accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, or social status.”
Eliminating the costs and fees of traveling, lodging, and headache of catching your flight in time. Instead, everyone is able to attend fashion shows at the drop of a hat, and easier than sewing a button. Folks can engage and spectate history unfolding in a new way, with designs that are out of this world, designs that can be as bazaar or as chill as designers wish with hardly any financial restraint. The metaverse is broadening the horizons of the cloth. Still it goes much deeper than that, people are now expressing their individuality. Through metaverse fashion folks can be whatever they desire. Gone are the days of leaving it all on the runways, the metaverse is pushing fashion foward. Dare I say walking within the metaverse one can feel they are in a fashion show daily. As people walk the streets it’s as though they are walking on the catwalk showing off their style and setting trends of their own. In the metaverse, particularly in Somnium Space, the users are the models for whatever they feel they want to exhibit and portray. There are no more boundaries, just frills and fancies. Yet, there still are some principles that must never change and must be made to be recognized in fashion.
Principles of fashion in the metaverse
Expression is in full mode on the blockhain, through NFTs, decentralization, and more. Fashion is definitely having it’s turn on the platform and being lifted into greater heights. Almost without restraint, forgetting about any strongholds or limitations put on it by those before, the only principle fashion should always maintain is the ability to move forward and being open to change and to always search for the show stopping! Nataliya commented:
“For me, the metaverse is a space that encourages creativity, expression, collaboration, and innovation. Anyone with an idea and a passion for fashion can contribute to this exciting new industry and help shape its future!”
Nataliya brought up points and spoke on the elements that will push this industry where it needs to go. That through creativity, expression, collaboration, and innovation this industry will be propelled forward! These are the pillars and the inscriptions that should never fade from the genre.