Hailed as “the world’s first fashion metaverse for creators,” GN3RA is on a mission to bring an accessible Web3 future to all. The first port-of-call in this long-term endeavor was unveiled earlier this month, when the digital fashion initiative appointed the help of The Royal College of Art (RCA) to bring seven of its alumni’s creative visions to the metaverse.
Each bespoke digitized pattern was made available for other creators to co-design, wear and share via the platform, using GN3RA’s dedicated toolkit. Acknowledging the stark lack of easy-to-navigate and free-to-use resources available to rising artists in the space, founder and CEO Lili Eva Bartha developed GN3RA with the intention of tackling these barriers to entry and helping fledgling innovators overcome the challenges they face when exploring their creative practice.
GN3RA’s vision extends further than a one-time project. Over time, the platform hopes to cultivate a strong and supportive community that harbors pioneering ideas and encourages artistic freedom. The company will also continue working alongside selected creators, influencers, brands and media “to grow a community of digital fashion ambassadors,” demonstrating the long-term possibilities available in the online world.
Below, we asked Lili Eva Bartha about GN3RA’s latest partnership with the Royal College of Art, the importance of accessibility for rising Web3 talent, and the initiative’s future endeavors.
Why do you think we’ve seen such a boom in fashion and Web3 over the past year?
After the initial experimentations in 2021 fueled by acceleration in tech adoption due to landscape defining tendencies, 2022 demonstrated high productivity in fashion and Web3 activations. Fashion has been at the forefront of these experimental approaches, with digital clothing playing a key role in this year`s rapidly unfolding landscape of digital self-expression. With a radically different mindset and consumer behavior, for example increased individualism and the desire for more extensive ownership and true authenticity, Gen Z has been fueling a significant acceleration in Web3 activations and collaborations in the fashion and lifestyle sector this year.
What challenges do you think Web3 and fashion will face over the next year and how can brands approach them?
While the bear market might be here to stay for a bit longer, there is great potential in Web2 and Web3 gaming, with its ability to quickly adopt highly innovative content, slowly paving the way towards another bull market to come. Cherishing individuality while driven by community values, there are a lot of evolving processes in the sector that will have a significant impact on Fashion and Web3 in the new year. For example, models such as `Play to Earn` are shifting towards `Play and Earn`, with the experience of the gameplay and the pure joy of the participation at its core, emphasizing its significance next to monetization opportunities.
Do you think that we are going to see a breakthrough of up-and-coming digital creatives in fashion thanks to a more accessible metaverse? If so, what barriers to entry into Web3 do you think these rising talents still face?
Today’s society is transitioning from a technology-first Information Age to an Imagination Age, centered around individual and collective creativity. This collective creativity along with early stage, experimental tools, (for example browser-based 3D platforms) open up a whole new landscape of digital creatives, ranging from emerging designers who started out in the space with their new media practice as a profession, to users, contributors, players, who are coming from mainstream adoption looking to author digital content for platforms they use.
During the development of our drop in partnership with the RCA we asked the emerging designers about the most common challenges they face. They shared their struggle due to often encountering a stigma around digital creations having less monetary value. This is due to a number of reasons: limited understanding of the amount and quality of labor going into the artworks from the public’s perspective, as well as the fact that the limitless nature of the digital realm makes it often challenging to relate to the artwork itself for those who are accustomed to more traditional forms of fashion.
Besides self-expression, what other benefits do you think avatars are bringing to the world of fashion?
Consumers see avatars as an extension of themselves, with Gen Z often dressing their avatars similar to what they wear in real life or vice versa. This motivates more and more brands to trial experimental approaches in the space, for example testing potential new products in a digital environment and monitor how consumers react to them.
Some recent brand initiatives suggest that if an item has significant traction in the virtual space, there’s a good chance that it’s going to be successful in real life too. Forever 21 has recently released their new black beanie in Roblox which is on track to be sold 1.5 million times this year alone. Inspired by the success of this digital item, they are making the beanie, along with other top-performing digital-first items available physically, in-store and online. This experimental strategy offers a new way for brands to get a better understanding of their target audience’s preferences both URL and IRL, while minimizing risk by releasing digital-first items.