While designers have dabbled in gaming for years, only now is the collective fashion industry taking its first earnest step into the metaverse. As it sets its fabulous foot into the blockchain-based virtual world of Decentraland for Metaverse Fashion Week, or MVFW, WWD will report on some of the sights and events in this running diary.
The inaugural installment begins with the opening of Selfridges’ Decentraland venue on Wednesday, followed by four days of runway shows, brand activations, interactive experiences and myriad shopping opportunities across multiple digital storefronts showcasing wearables for avatars, NFTs, artworks and more.
Participating brands span virtual fashion trailblazers like DressX and Auroboros to marquee houses and IRL brands, with notable names like Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Elie Saab, Nicholas Kirkwood, Perry Ellis, Imitation of Christ, Estée Lauder, Etro, Hogan, Dundas and others.
Virtual worlds have hosted their own fashion events before. Indeed, matters of style have loomed large in places like Second Life for years, as illustrated most recently in its own “Fashion Week” show in February. But the SL showcase hinged on a single designer, Jonathan Simkhai, while Decentraland’s MVFW stands out for its traction among an expansive array of brands, including houses more at home on New York, Milan and Paris runways than digital catwalks.
David Cash, Decentraland’s fashion week curator, pointed out another crucial distinction. “The differentiation is that this is on-chain, versus Second Life, which was off-chain,” he told WWD, referring to blockchain-based collectibles such as NFTs.
“I really hope that one of the things that people can discover by exploring virtual fashion week and Decentraland is what real unchained ownership looks like, in terms of virtual assets — versus what stored Web2 ownership of assets looks like — and understand what it means to own something on-chain,” he explained. “We’re trying to facilitate an open metaverse where people can go between centralized outlets like, say, an AR filter and Decentralized or even to other metaverse solutions.”
WWD’s Running Diary of MVFW Coverage
For Selfridges, shopping isn’t the point of its Decentraland location (coordinates 64, 14). While it does plan to offer NFTs at some point, its first virtual door was conceived as more of a gallery and NFT showcase, rather than a transactional experience or shop.
Set inside a digital recreation of its futuristic, but very real Birmingham, England, location, the London-based department store features its “Universe” project, which is based on Paco Rabanne’s fall collaboration with Victor Vasarely, and looks from Paco Rabanne’s 1966 archives , specifically the 12 Unwearable Dresses collection. The NFT series features 12 Vasarely artworks, with proceeds going to the Fondation Vasarely, a museum in Aix-en-Provence, France.
“We know that a lot of our customers don’t know much about NFTs or Web3, so we wanted to give them the physical representation of what they could buy in an NFT,” Jeannie Lee, Selfridges’ head of buying, told WWD.
The interior is anchored by a spiral walkway inside a geodesic dome-like environment. Upon entry, visitors are whisked to the top, so they can stroll down the path and take in the art along the way. —Adriana Lee
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