A fashion breakthrough into the metaverse

Is the world of luxury brands and fashion dying? No, it’s just the beginning of a new medium for domination. And the seeds of this beginning were sown back in March 2019. Iridescence, the world’s first non-fungible token (NFT) fashion piece, was the brainchild of Dapper Labs, The Fabricant and Johanna Jaskowska, which reached $9,500 in its auction. What you are reading is just a drop in the ocean called the metaverse. The metaverse is defined as an embodied internet experience.

Rob Litterst


Fashion brands and retail stores have recognized that entering the Web3 and metaverse is the most sustainable move for the industry, financially and non-financially. Interestingly, luxury brands have taken a step towards taking first-mover advantage with players such as Nike, Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis, Nike, adidas, Prada, Balenciaga, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren entering the metaverse. . The metaverse consists of several technologies and elements, two of which are NFTs and virtual stores. Non-fungible tokens are digital assets with unique identifiers used to certify and authenticate ownership. Simply put, building an NFT makes the creator the sole recipient of the earnings unless and until it is sold. Furthermore, NFT-based transactions reduce fraud and facilitate trading. NFTs can be in any format, but the most notable are music, art, sports and fashion. By purchasing clothes, users will be able to style their avatars as desired. And this is the biggest reason why fashion NFTs and fashion verses will flourish in the coming time.


By market type, fashion NFTs may be smaller compared to music, art and sports, but they are quickly gaining momentum. The nine-piece Dolce & Gabbana Collezione Genesi digital auction became the most expensive fashion NFT sold for a glamorous $5.65 million at the time of purchase.

Adidas has joined The Sandbox to create its own platform, AdiVerse, alongside the launch of its NFT collection in December 2021. Gucci has also joined The Sandbox to create its own experience, ‘Gucci Vault Land’, for its users to peek into its history through games and NFTs. Fast fashion brand Zara also dived into the metaverse with the launch of its Y2C Creatures phygital collection and Lime Glam singles collection on Zepet. According to Dune Analytics, Nike ranks first with the highest NFT revenue, worth $185 million. In Web 3.0, fashion brands reportedly command higher prices than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Gucci sold a virtual Gucci Dionysus bag on the Roblox gaming platform for about $4,115, while its physical version would cost about $3,400. In 2022, the global metaverse market was estimated at $100.27 billion, up from an estimate of $63.83 billion in 2021.


Speaking of the Indian landscape, Manish Malhotra became the first designer to enter the game with his five-piece NFT clothing line spearheaded by the Illuminous Showstopper, which retailed for INR 2.8 lakh. Anamika Khanna and Raghavendra Rathore join the list.

In 2021, Rathore, in collaboration with FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, launched his four-part NFTs relating to his work and brand. This made him the first Indian designer to raise charity funds through NFTs. “The study of robotics, NFTs and the metaverse seems like a natural extension of the brand. NFTs open up a new world of consumers to brands and can change the way we look at fashion by giving consumers access to maintain lifetime ownership of traceable, authenticated assets and a secondary market for creators and consumers, uncommon in the luxury and fashion industries,” says Rathore. One of the most promising areas of fashion NFTs is virtual stores and lyrics.

Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika became the first Indian brand to showcase its apparel and accessories collection on the Metaverse platform as part of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Cohesive and Sustainable World in the Digital Era’ theme. “It allows me to express and use materials, things, shapes and forms that I can’t use in reality unless I have a commission. And I can put that kind of money into 3D printing or doing something like that.” Shubhika Sharma, Founder, Papa Don’t Preach.

Recently, the French clothing brand Lacoste presented its first virtual store in collaboration with Emperia. Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger are on the list. In October 2022, Flipkart launched its own verse, Flipverse, where the platform will provide users with a virtual shopping experience. Not to be left behind, rival Amazon has also given its users a gamification experience under its #AmazonMetaWorld.

There are several players in the market that build and provide established and startup companies to run a metaverse of experiences associated with their brand. Trace Network Labs is one such key player in the Indian market. It aims to run events, set up lounges, create shopping and social districts, to enable the creation and forging of Metaverse Experiences along with the integration of web3.0 wallets. “This new approach to retail shopping opens the door to new markets, product lines and business models and can contribute to better, long-term investments. Not to mention, this experience provides an immersive customer experience that increases customer loyalty, revenue and overall global market impact,” he said. Lokesh Rao, Co-Founder and CEO, Trace Network Labs.


Investment bank Morgan Stanley predicts that digital fashion could help grow industry sales by $50 billion by 2030. SkyQuest Technology estimates the NFT market will reach $122.43 billion by 2028, while Verified Market Research looks at $239 billion by 2030. As we move towards a more sustainable approach and lifestyle, we realize that fashion is one of the biggest polluters in the world. By going digital and virtual, brands will be able to make higher margins on their products, be unaffected by low-wage controversies, and be freed from warehousing and storage costs.

Entering the Metaverse is one way to keep the brands legacy alive while transitioning to a sustainable strategy. As we move towards a more sustainable approach and lifestyle, we realize that fashion is one of the world’s biggest polluters. The infamous duty-back law is forcing several luxury brands to burn their unsold goods. In 2018, Burberry destroyed $37 million worth of products on its own. By moving to digital and virtual brands, brands will be able to make higher margins on their products, won’t be hurt by low-wage controversies, and will free up warehouse and storage costs.

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