How AI, the metaverse and NFTs could transform the fashion industry?
Ecological disaster, worker slavery, excessive consumption, we are witnessing the great decline of ultra-fast fashion which is gradually giving way to a more digital and innovative fashion.
A totally virtual universe, a digital piece of art that can reach exorbitant prices, collections of clothes only available on Web 3.0: how can we miss such a growing phenomenon? Here we decode fashion’s assault on the NFT.
While three-quarters of the planet was forced to confine itself and the fashion and luxury industry was in deep decline, brands were making their way into an unknown and audacious universe, that of the metaverse and NFTs. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. NFTs are digital works of art, unique and tamper-proof.
More and more brands are entering this world: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Adidas, Balenciaga, and Guerlain have entered the territory of NFTs and metaverse. Some brands sell virtual products, others launch NFTs for charity. Recently, the game Fortnite collaborated with Balenciaga to offer players the opportunity to dress their avatars in the brand’s clothes. The brand has also developed its own interactive universe to create a new community, this time virtual. This revolution is largely driven by Gen Z, which is rocked by new technologies and is climatically active.
How can this phenomenon open a new page in the fashion world?
The phenomenon is increasingly innovative, but it is not new. In 2012, Diesel launched the sale of its clothes in the game The Sims, 2019 Louis Vuitton developed “Skins” outfits for League of Legends avatars.
Realizing the burgeoning new market that was emerging, the big houses did not hesitate to create their own NFTs.
It is in their non-falsifiable, authentic nature that brands are finding a use for the NFT market. These digital works can be sold as virtually certified collector’s items on the metaverse. The metaverse can be likened to a new version of the internet where everyone has an avatar. Some metaverse has already succeeded in establishing themselves, such as Decentraland and Sandbox, which works with many brands. This entirely digital economy makes possible the transition between two antagonistic worlds: fashion and gaming.
Virtual fashion will transform the fashion industry as we know it. Brands are finding their interest by developing collections of NFTs attached to physical work. Buying this NFT is a rare commodity that confers privileges in the real world. NFTs are purchased with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ether (ETH), described as “the currency of our digital future”. These decentralized means of payment are always active and free to access, which is its advantage. While some people cannot open bank accounts and have their payments blocked, others can receive, borrow or even earn interest with just an internet connection.
Apart from the marketing and financial aspects, as well as the insertion of these brands into a whole new market, these digital works can be produced by anyone and give free rein to unlimited creativity. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. Technologies like the one proposed by Eva Engines, a startup incubated by LVMH, show how simple it is now to go from a simple drawing to an ultra-realistic virtual prototype in a few seconds. (Free version link click here.) There are no more barriers and this is made possible by the interoperability of the worlds.
Bridges are being created between real life and metaverse thanks to such technologies, anyone can generate their ideas and decline them endlessly. Eventually, interoperability should also be established between metaverse, allowing users to carry their virtual pieces from one metaverse to another.
In short, fashion is on the verge of the greatest revolution it has ever known: a symbiosis between the virtual and real fashion.
Written by Elise Gaggioli on the 2nd of February 2022.