How will NFTs and the Metaverse reshape luxury brands and the fashion industry in 2022?

How will fashion develop in the age of digital existence?

Imagine that the latest fashion on the cover of Vogue is no longer an orphan item that stars and rich people rush to buy at a high price, but an ordinary item that can be "worn" on your body and displayed on social media the next day. NFT fashion is making everything possible, and it is also reshaping people's concepts of clothing and fashion.

Morgan Stanley recently made a prediction that the Metaverse will provide more than $500 trillion in opportunities for the luxury and fashion industries in the next decade. So, how far has this huge market, which is easily ignored by everyone, developed?

Recently, "Fashion Business Review" and McKinsey & Company jointly published an in-depth report on the global fashion industry, in which an in-depth analysis of the trend of NFT fashion was conducted. A  brief overview of NFT fashion projects such as DressX , The Dematerialised, The Fabricant, RTFKT and Unxd . At present, these five are also the industry's leading crypto-native fashion brands.

As the digital environment matures, the world is transforming from linear and transaction-centric spaces to multi-dimensional, experiential and collaborative virtual worlds. Young, tech-savvy cohorts are spending more and more time in social media, gaming and virtual reality, building diverse identities in the process. As a pioneer, digital assets in the form of virtual fashion and NFTs offer consumers new ways to shop, exchange goods and use these identities.

As consumers continue to spend more time online, a hyper-interactive and creative digital environment is a natural evolution. By 2020, Gen Z will spend an average of 8 hours a day on screens. When the global COVID-19 lockdown hit, face-to-face social contact became a luxury, and virtual worlds began to become more attractive, giving people the opportunity to interact with others and build community.

The digital space is becoming more dynamic, and some consumers are lighting “digital bonfires” around which they can connect, engage in conversations, and engage in collaborative creation with like-minded friends. The soaring popularity of virtual space has also spawned a new generation of digital fashion creatives. More and more brands have begun to enter the popular "metaverse" to engage in more creative interactions with users and regard it as releasing new value. opportunity to flow.

"There are more and more 'second worlds' in which people can express themselves, but at the moment we underestimate the enthusiasm of people in the virtual world to express their personal value through virtual products, characters," Gucci brand And Robert Triefus, executive vice president of customer engagement, revealed that in the virtual world of the Roblox game, a total of 19 million visitors have visited the "Gucci Garden".

Gucci Garden in Roblox, where players can buy and collect items from the Gucci virtual store

The $176 billion gaming industry attracts more than 3 billion players worldwide and has a long history of community building. Meanwhile, the Metaverse is becoming a big business as investor money pours in. Epic Games raised $1 billion in April 2021 to accelerate building social experiences in the metaspace.

As gaming has become more and more an extension of the real world and mass participation has deepened, gaming has become a major target for fashion brands, which mostly partner with gaming companies in the form of designing virtual fashion assets. For example, Ralph Lauren partnered with South Korean social network and avatar simulation app Zepeto to create a virtual fashion collection that gives users the opportunity to dress up their avatars with exclusive products or appearance-changing "skins." Gucci created digital assets for the gaming platform Roblox as well as Pokémon Go and Animal Crossing.

Ralph Lauren's NFT fashion collection created in collaboration with Zepeto

Some brands are looking even further. After launching its 2021 autumn/winter collection in the form of mature video games, Balenciaga also teamed up with game giant Fortnite. Users can purchase virtual clothing and physical products in the game, forming a breakthrough in traditional cross-border and dimension-breaking. cooperation . The opportunities in the game are diverse and extensive, and provide a platform to attract younger consumers. Leveraging in-game merchandise further allows brands to monetize digital assets, and paying to enhance the experience will also become the norm.

Virtual fashion is gaining new momentum in the digital environment. "Gamers make themselves famous by buying skins in the game,"  said Daria Shapovalova, co-founder of DressX  , which has worked with more than 100 digital fashion product designers and estimated the potential market value of the entire digital fashion. will reach $31 billion. “In addition to this, we have two potential user groups. First, many millennials have quickly embraced the concept of digital fashion and have become active shoppers of luxury goods who want to elevate with new things Social media presence. Next is Gen Z users on platforms like Snapchat or TikTok, where video is becoming the primary communication tool rather than still images.”

In fact, for some consumers, digital fashion is a natural extension of social media like Instagram and Snapchat, where Dimension Studio (a studio that creates virtual worlds and avatars for film, TV, virtual reality, augmented reality and the metaverse, Simon Windsor, co-founder and co-managing director of video games for Balenciaga, said, "We're at the tipping point of this new era... it's starting to change what fashion itself means ."

Beyond social media and gaming, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technologies offer more opportunities for new business models such as virtual fashion. Online fashion wholesale platform Ordre uses 360-degree view technology to present seasonal collections through an online showroom, providing a complementary channel for managing a luxury wholesale network. Elite World Group and designer Tommy Hilfiger recently collaborated on various virtual projects, including model avatars walking on a 3D virtual runway.

In the past year, NFT has brought people the most excitement and excitement. NFTs are unique crypto assets whose authenticity and ownership are verified on the blockchain and bought, sold and exchanged in the metaverse, often using cryptocurrencies. The uniqueness of NFTs means their values ​​will skyrocket: An NFT created by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, sold for a record $69.3 million at Christie's in 2021. NFT platform OpenSea surpassed $1 billion in sales in the first seven months of 2021.

Supporters of NFTs believe that the prosperity of NFTs is not a flash in the pan. “ This will fundamentally change digital ownership, the creative fabric, the creative economy, and even how we think about money, ” said Karinna Nobbs, co-CEO and chief experience officer at The Dematerialised, an NFT marketplace. "It's bigger than the internet."

In the fashion space, NFTs have a wide range of use cases, from product authentication (see "product passports") to being collectibles with their own copyrights. As consumers seek to collect and invest,  digital fashion creators like The Fabricant , DressX  and  RTFKT are finding audiences for NFT-certified digital apparel. At the same time, some companies are taking advantage of the consumer stimulus that NFTs bring by experimenting with alternative engagement models: Adidas teamed up with The Fabricant and model Karlie Kloss to launch a competition for creators to make their own NFT versions of the WindRdy parka jacket, attracting headlines.

Adidas and The Fabricant Joint Jacket NFT Design Competition First Prize Work

In 2021, there will be a wave of NFTs among luxury players, usually through the gaming space. To celebrate its 200th anniversary, Louis Vuitton has launched a video game with collectible NFTs, designed in part by Beeple. The game contains NFT art that players can acquire in a story tied to the journey of the brand founder. Burberry created a pet sugar gum toy NFT that exists on the blockchain in the Blankos Block Party game . The limited edition Burberry Blanko Sharky B NFT featuring the Burberry TB summer monogram is available to buy, upgrade and sell. The collaboration also includes branded in-game NFT accessories, including jetpacks, armbands and pool shoes.

Screenshot of NFT game designed by Louis Vuitton

Pet Sugar Gum Toy NFT Created by Burberry in Blankos Block Party Game

In addition to games, Farfetch (the global fashion shopping platform for Farfetch) also has a partnership with the digital fashion platform DressX. Dolce & Gabbana has partnered with Unxd, a curated marketplace for digital luxury and fashion, to create the first nine-piece NFT collection to be sold alongside physical fashion.

Although digital fashion is in many cases a bit of marketing hype, in fact, the industry can also generate significant revenue . The Dolce & Gabbana collection sold for nearly $5.7 million. Still, the money-making opportunities may depend on the limited-edition of NFTs and the psychological push of people’s scarcity, and of course the security of identity verification and the community-building potential they offer. Most likely to lead the trend are luxury and streetwear brands.

There's no arguing that fashion industry leaders are intrigued by the potential of virtual fashion.

“We always emphasize to our partner brands that NFTs are experimental, they don’t always work, and we can’t guarantee how they will work,” said Amber Slooten, co-founder and creative director of The Fabricant. The Fabricant, a digital fashion company that helps brands create their own virtual products, has worked with Adidas, Marques Almeida, Buffalo London and more.

Iridescence Digi-Couture Dress NFT by The Fabricant   , $9500

Amid the hype, caution is also required. The concern is the environmental impact of the blockchain technology that underlies NFTs, especially the energy consumption of validating transactions. Cybersecurity is also a potential concern, with counterfeiting and security breaches a significant threat. A recent cyber attack on the official website of artist Banksy resulted in a collector paying £244,000 ($334,000) for a fake NFT.

Ken Seiff, managing partner of Blockchange Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage blockchain technology, said: “Those who think that NFTs, or blockchains more generally, won’t create a big upheaval in the next five years, must be forgetting that the Internet has History lessons for people."

At the very least, fashion's foray into the metaverse offers new avenues for consumer engagement, which will provide consumers with a more immersive experience and stimulate new desires and interests.

Going forward, discussions around NFTs will continue to heat up as more fashion brands seek to differentiate themselves and launch creative experiments. Consumers will also be more interested in digital fashion. Additionally, they will also look for co-creation opportunities and expect brands to engage with digital assets in a pattern inherent in the space they inhabit, rather than duplicate content across channels.

The crypto fad also requires a lot of investment, experimentation, and a new playbook. Brands need to have a strategic mindset and a willingness to develop partnerships and leverage diverse talent to deliver high-quality content internally or through third-party collaborations. In an arena characterized by a lot of hype, it pays to find a business case that stimulates inspiration but maintains the brand's identity.

To that end, it may be necessary to take a fresh perspective on ROI, focusing on less measurable benefits. All in all, the risks should not deter them from entering this fast-growing digital world.

Further reading:


RTFKT is an NFT fashion and collectibles startup founded in 2020. The name comes from the similar pronunciation with the English "artifact", and the name also represents its brand concept, which is to redefine physical and digital value boundaries. The team utilizes the latest game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create a virtual product and experience.

In February 2020, a photo of Elon Musk attending an event wearing a pair of CyberTruck-style sneakers went viral on the Internet. This pair of sci-fi sneakers called Cybersneaker was synthesized by the RTFKT team. RTFKT then auctioned the pair of NFT sneakers on the NFT trading platform SuperRare at a price of 30ETH, and later it was speculated to 65ETH.

In December of this year, RTFKT was acquired by Nike. Nike President and CEO John Donahoe mentioned that the acquisition is another step in accelerating Nike’s digital transformation, enabling the company to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sports, creativity, gaming and culture.

Related reading: "Where is the encrypted fashion brand RTFKT acquired by Nike? 》


UNXD is a digital luxury marketplace powered by the Polygon network, created by the team behind Vogue and WIRED, focused on creating and curating important digital cultural moments. Featuring NFTs from the luxury, cultural and physical worlds, UNXD aims to bring the "tangible" into the NFT space, starting from the interweaving of the digital and physical worlds. Previously, the first NFT collection of luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana was auctioned at luxury market UNXD.

Next, UNXD and Decentraland will hold the first Metaverse Fashion Week from March 24th to 27th, 2022, which will include catwalks, pop-up shops, exhibitions, parties and more.

Dolce&Gabbana's first NFT collection on UNXD platform


DressX is an American virtual fashion platform, founded in August 2020, which has cooperated with many designers and brands, allowing them to create and trade various virtual fashion products on their own platform. DressX completed a $2 million seed round in July this year, led by investment funds The Artemis Foundation and Alpha Edison.

Consumers need to upload a photo of themselves after purchasing their favorite virtual clothing NFT. After a processing time of 1 to 2 days, DressX will replace the original clothing on the consumer in the photo with the purchased virtual clothing, in addition, the buyer can receive a certificate of authenticity card.

NFT fashion designed by DressX

The Dematerialised

The Dematerialised is a digital fashion company that aims to integrate and nurture the emerging digital fashion ecosystem, deliver viable new capital flows and intrinsic experiences through the Web3 marketplace, and create verifiable virtual goods. The ultimate goal is to bring brands on board, support them in transforming real-life designs into 3D digital designs, and transform brands into digital manufacturers.

In September this year, the Ethereum application network project LUKSO launched the "Lafayette" Karl Lagerfeld doll NFT collection on The Dematerialised. The NFT can update the fashion clothing of the doll according to the subsequent release of the digital wearable NFT.

The Fabricant

The Fabricant  is a decentralized digital fashion company, founded in 2018, is building a decentralized wardrobe, has collaborated with brands such as Adidas, Marques Almeida, Buffalo London to make NFT fashions, bringing them into 3D space, Showcasing the enormous creative possibilities of digital fashion, dedicated to providing fashionable clothing to all citizens of the Metaverse.

On The Fabricant Studio, users can customize clothing with exclusive digital fabrics

The Fabricant launched its online design platform, The Fabricant Studio, in November, where users can create their own virtual garments on the platform, with each new co-creation minted on the Flow blockchain. Users can not only trade and dress in metaverse games like The sandbox, but also generate personal fashion photos.

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