While the pandemic saw the Fashion Week calendar adapt to a digital-first initiative, luxury brands were forced to shift their focus onto how their identity could survive and maintain relationships with consumers in the online world. Yet, even after welcoming back its physical runway counterpart, Fall 2022’s season proved that the industry’s affinity with virtual reality continues to gain momentum.
A growing number of luxury brands are finding room for opportunity in Web3 and embracing their foray into the metaverse. The total value of all NFT transactions worldwide has jumped 21,350 percent to $17.6 billion in 2021 from $82.5 million in 2020, according to the yearly report from industry tracker, nonfungible.com.
As the line between digital and physical blurs, the virtual realm has skyrocketed in significance for luxury brands, with NFTs being the chosen point of call for many to preserve their cultural relevance. This season, from Diesel to Eckhaus Latta, brands showing in the top-four cities jumped at the chance to showcase their metaverse debuts and amplify their physical collections this season.
Now, as the runway dust settles, Jing Daily takes a look at the most-notable NFT drops from this season’s Fashion Week.
At New York Fashion Week, physical pieces were reworked into a capsule collection of digital wearables at Jonathan Simkhai’s Fall 2022 runway presentation. The NFT drop, in partnership with online multimedia platform Second Life, featured virtual replicas of pieces that were showcased on the physical catwalk, modelled by digital characters from Second Life’s online universe. The eleven looks that were transformed into non-fungibles made their way down the metaversal runway, complete with virtual avatar audience, and are now available to purchase via NFT marketplace, OpenSea.
The Bottom Line: Simkhai’s debut dive into the metaverse questions the necessity of buying physical pieces. With the opportunity to browse, purchase, and dress our personal avatars online, are more consumers pivoting to virtual goods as opposed to IRL?
British brand, ROKSANDA, transformed their final runway look into a series of NFT’s in conjunction with their London Fashion Week collection. Collaborating with metaverse innovation provider, the Institute of Digital Fashion, the showcase’s demi-couture closing silhouette — a sculptural, geometric print gown — was converted into a non-fungible token and sold via a tier system. Consumers could choose from a selection of NFT options, including a 2D collectable to wearable, 3D animated renders. The collection marked the first time a non-fungible has been purchasable in pounds, rather than in cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum.
The Bottom Line: This virtual collaboration, as well as a physical one with Fila, will likely introduce ROKSANDA, known as a red carpet brand, to a new younger audience.
Chinese independent fashion label ANNAKIKI debuted its non-fungible token series at Milan Fashion Week, making it the first-ever Chinese brand to feature NFTs in their collection. Titled “Metacosmos,” the designs were a virtual counterpart of those that featured in the brand’s physical lineup. Celebrities, KOL’s and influencers such as Shen Mengchen, Wan Nida, and Nikki-Min featured in the digital campaign, which took Chinese social media by storm.
The Bottom Line: Despite the country’s tight Web3 restrictions, ANNAKIKI’s NFT drop is an example of how luxury consumers in China can still invest in the metaverse. Therefore, brands should not ignore their Chinese consumers when dabbling in NFTs.
DIESEL ANNOUNCES D:VERSE
After their Fall 2022 showcase at Milan Fashion Week, DIESEL announced the launch of their platform D:VERSE; a digital community that hosts a series of personalised services, limited NFT collection drops, metaverse wearables, and private access to NFT pre-sales. The platform’s debut NFT drop featured digitised counterparts of designs spotted on the brands preliminary physical runway, including hero products such as the original Denim Fur Coat, Prototype sneakers in an exclusive colorway and an ultra-rare, unique token that auctioned in collaboration with NFT marketplace, Rarible.
The Bottom Line: DIESEL’s latest virtual platform suggests that these immersive, online, consumer experiences are rapidly becoming totally commercialised in the luxury sector.