If you’ve not been inhabiting a particularly remote cave for the past few years, chances are that you would have come across confusing buzzwords like ‘metaverse’ and ‘non fungible tokens’, which FYI are not a mushroom-inspired game as some (this writer) might have initially believed.
News headlines have been filled with billionaires putting their might behind the metaverse and optimisticlaly announcing that the metaverse market would reach a valuation of $800 billion by 2024. But what does it mean?
To put it simply, the metaverse is a platform for augmented reality which enables users to build interactive experiences that combine virtual and real worlds. With its popularity increasing rapidly, it’s not a surprise that the platform is now entering various industries like sports, art, and even fashion.
Back in 2021, Ralph Lauren launched a virtual fashion collection in collaboration with South Korean app Zepeto. Controversial luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana made headlines in the same year by selling NFTs amounting to over $6 million.
In March 2022, the world saw the first Metaverse Fashion Week. It was a four-day event with brands like Adidas, Balenciaga, Burberry, Gucci, and Jonathan Simkhai as participants.
While the global fashion industry is catching up to the metaverse and the cryptic world of cryptos, what about the Indian fashion industry?
Indian fashion industry and the metaverse
The Indian fashion industry has always managed to keep up with the trends in technology over the years. Take for instance, designer Manish Malhotra’s virtual reality fashion show with Lakme Fashion Week in 2017.
Malhotra is one of the few Indian designers who has always been at the forefront of these innovations. In October 2021, the designer dropped India’s first fashion NFT on homegrown marketplace WazirX, which sold out rapidly.
“I’m always intrigued by the new. There’s something so amazing about technology, and the reach is so wide. NFTs are a new world, and it helps make [your work] universal and immortal,” he said in a statement, adding, “There just might be NFT outfits in the future; you never know. That’s the fun part.”
Speaking of the metaverse, the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI) hosted the Women Economic Forum (WEF) in September 2022 and organised a metaverse fashion show featuring designer Shubhika Sharma of Papa Don’t Preach. The designer showcased the brand’s NNL 2.0 collection in the metaverse.
More recently, Blenders Pride Glassware Fashion Tour presented its 16th edition in the metaverse, becoming India’s first metaverse-excluive fashion show in Decentraland. Decentraland is a virtual destination for digital collectibles like NFTs. The showcase featured 60 designers and homegrown fashion labels who embellished and/or deconstructed the basic T-shirt to celebrate their interpretation of the four themes of ‘pride’ for its ‘This is not a T-shirt’ project.
This new virtual avenue opens up a world of possibilities for fashion designers and enthusiasts all over the world and we can’t wait to see what’s next in the metaverse for the world of fashion.