Metaverse Fashion Week highlights: from store openings to exclusive NFT drops
Decentraland’s highly-anticipated Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) has come to a close and with it the fashion world has had its first taste of what the industry could look like through a fully digital experience. Running over the course of four days, from March 24 to 27, MVFW boasted a hefty schedule consisting of over 60 designers, brands and retailers looking to get in on the virtual action.
Among the events, which were all completely free to attend, a number of afterparties, masses of store openings and a series of digital collections were available for viewing on the digital platform. Special areas dedicated specifically to brand partners or the fashion industry as a whole were also launched in the 3D world, a possible nod to Decentraland’s intention to continue building on fashion’s place in its virtual world.
Store openings, digital retail and meta malls
Among the lengthy schedule of runways and afterparties, brands took advantage of the event to debut digital stores and pop-ups in various districts in Decentraland. The expansive range of purpose-built store spaces each displayed an assortment of brands’ phygital collections, exclusive non-fungible token (NFT) drops and branded activations that brought the user into their world. Many of these stores allowed their visitors to purchase both digital and physical items and NFTs from their offering, linking directly to the platform’s own cryptocurrency through digital wallets.
Luxury retailer Selfridges was one of those that took to the event, unveiling a flagship store complete with an immersive experience by Paco Rabanne and Victor Vasarely. The location itself, which resembled Selfridges’ Birmingham store, contained an art gallery of exclusive NFTs that visitors can view through a guided tour of the building.
Threedium and Boson Protocol also teamed up to open a digital mall during MVFW, at which users could explore stores by a number of established and emerging brands, including DKNY and Casablanca. Tommy Hilfiger was among the store opening schedule at the location, offering up a digital remake of its spring 2022 collection as well as purchasable NFTs. Meanwhile, in Decentraland’s Luxury Fashion District, created in a partnership with UNXD, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro and Franck Muller also got involved in the store opening frenzy, each debuting locations along the digital street, which drew inspiration from Paris’ Avenue Montaigne.
Another district that boasted big-name brands was Rarible’s Fresh Drip Zone, where, along the New York-like streets, visitors could find pop-ups of 12 brands, including Puma, Perry Ellis and Fred Segal. Digital fashion houses The Fabricant, who also hosted a runway show, and Placebo were additionally present, offering virtual wearables and NFTs for the sportswear brand enthusiasts. At the helm of the temporary location was a dome-shaped Rarible store at which users could purchase one-off NFTs and a curated selection of unique digital garments.
Industry presentations, panels and parties
Special panel discussions took place throughout the event, covering everything from the world of NFTs to the history of virtual fashion. In total, over 30 guests were present according to David Cash, the curator of MVFW and CEO of Cash Labs, the web3 strategy agency that aided in the event’s development. Speakers, presented by Cash Labs on MVFW’s MainStage, included the likes of fashion photographer Nick Knight, editor in chief of Vogue Singapore Norman Tan and fashion/furniture designer Alexandre de Betak.
Meanwhile, Tommy Hilfiger was virtually present for a ‘fireside chat’ hosted by Boson Protocol’s Justin Banon and Victoria May and ‘metaverse expert’ Cathy Hackl. Hilfiger discussed his take on metaverse fashion and what it means for designers in the industry.
A handful of luxury brands took to the stage in a string of runway shows displaying looks often inspired by their physical collections. Among them, Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana debuted a digital collection of logo-heavy looks exhibited on feline-like models. Fast fashion brands also got involved in the action, with many hosting pop-ups, opening permanent stores or also getting a taste of runway activations. E-commerce brand Cider was one of them, launching an immersive retail space and presenting a fashion show that allowed visitors to buy digital wearables for their avatars.
Dundas closed the event’s runway line up with a showcase of digital dresses at its pop-up in the Luxury Fashion District. Bespoke items created specifically for MVFW shown at the event were available for pre-order via UNXD’s marketplace and were displayed among a branded store interior complete with Dundas’ signature black panther emblem. A screen in the store allowed visitors to also watch a real life version of models wearing the clothing.
While catwalks were one of the highlights of the event, afterparties and virtual performances also played an important role in bringing a selection of real-world experiences to the metaverse. Parties hosted by singers such as Tribute Band and Nicki Nicole were scattered throughout MVFW’s evening schedule, each hosted by either Kollectiff or other Decentraland partners. For its finale, singer-songwriter Claire Boucher, professionally known as Grimes, took to the virtual stage with a DJ set for the event’s guests. The performance could be viewed on a winding staircase that concluded with an avatar of the artist dressed in an Auroboros bodysuit dancing on a suspended platform.