Decentraland’s second annual Metaverse Fashion Week will be held March 28-31. Brands including Adidas, Coach, D-Cave, Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger are on board to engage with web3 communities while offering gifts and token-gated access at what organizers report is the largest digital fashion event. Last year, the event hosted 108,000 attendees. During its five days, more than 7,000 wearables were bought totaling around $77,000.
Metaverse Fashion Week has received many updates since the first iteration. For example, attendees can now buy featured items using credit cards, plus wearables that can be worn outside of Decentraland are being sold. Decentraland is the 3D virtual world that hosts the event. MVFW can be found in its Metaverse Group Luxury Fashion District and new Fashion Plaza for emerging brands. Brands pay the owners of the different Decentraland areas to set up activations, starting from $5,000.
The layout and format of the event in has also changed: There is a welcome area for first-time attendees and maps for locating various brand activations. “The virtual space is far more accessible than last year. It’s almost like walking around with Google Street View,” said a marketing executive who was at the event last year. MVFW is promoting the event through press and its social media channels.
“This year, we expanded production planning time, and the conversations with brands started six months before the event,” said Dr. Giovanna Casimiro, head of MVFW. As a result, brands had more time to plan and come up with uses for the new features.
The 2023 MVFW is focused on interoperability, where users can jump between platforms and have a unified brand experience. “We brought in [3D social network] Spatial to add more joined events with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, which will sell wearables that can be worn across platforms,” said Casimiro.
She added, “[AR avatar metaverse] Over the Reality was also [enlisted] to expand the experience; Decentraland creators can wear linked wearables purchased during MVFW on its metaverse platform, too,” said Casimiro.
Purchasing items is not as much of a focus this time around, according to organizers. Plus, the event is free to the public. Select brand events are token-gated through previous NFT collections. MVFW now has functionality allowing users to buy wearables with a credit card, as opposed to just cryptocurrency. It’s also evolved its marketplace with new categories like accessories, skins and emotes and features new tags showing an item’s rarity. For many of the participating brands — including Adidas, arguably the largest brand taking part for the first time — the value is in the experience and the opportunity to present wearables in an interactive digital fashion space.
Adidas will host a fashion show on March 29 as part of the dedicated “streetwear and retail” day. It will also host an immersive experience where users can try on the Virtual Gear collection, launched in November.
“Taking part in Metaverse Fashion Week is the first step into the open metaverse, enabling our community to get a digital twin of their Virtual Gear for the first time, without having to buy the 3D iteration,” said Erika Wykes-Sneyd, vp of Adidas’s Three Stripes Studio. “The Adidas Virtual Gear collection was designed to be the highest form of identity — both as a garment you own forever, authenticated on blockchain, and as a style-credible wearable for your alternative lifestyle as an avatar.”
The brand’s objective is to learn if the utility of wearables that can transfer to other platforms is beneficial to its community. “When you’re building anything in web3, there’s a give and take with your community. So for us, this is something we want to try and then see what the response is like,” said Wykes-Sneyd. “We also want to see how people respond to the idea of digital rights being realized in this way. We are curious to see if this will inspire others on the sidelines to adopt their alternative identity with Adidas.”
Adidas fans now have three ways to own the Virtual Gear collection: in their digital wallet; as a profile picture (PFP), via the Adidas atelier which is a branded profile picture styling tool; and now as a Decentraland avatar identity, through Metaverse Fashion Week.
Cross-platform ownership is also being trialed by Tommy Hilfiger, which will host new events on each day, including an unveiling of an artist-created blue, red and white “TH” logo that will cover the roof of the brand’s Decentraland store. It will also sell a wearable available for use on multiple platforms. “This will be a new opportunity for users to travel the metaverse while wearing the Tommy Letterman Varsity Jacket at all times,” said Avery Baker, Tommy Hilfiger president and chief brand officer.
Users will be able to purchase the Varsity Jacket in Decentraland and then be transported to the Tommy space on the brand’s hub in virtual store platform Emperia. They can then move via portals to Roblox, Spatial, Sandbox and Ready Player Me. The Varsity Jacket was a popular purchase at last year’s MVFW, so the brand is aiming to build on its success. The Jacket will also be sold on Roblox and the other platforms for a limited time, for 100 Robux or a similar on other platforms.
At the same time, Tommy Hilfiger will host an AI design competition within Decentraland, inviting users to leverage the world’s creator tools to create a piece of digital fashion in the brand’s signature preppy style. The winner’s submission will be created by DressX as a digital fashion collectible, AR filter and wearable for Decentraland.
With the various activations, participating brands’ ROI will mostly come in the form of awareness among a new audience and alignment with tech-forward brands. “Participating in MVFW can heavily influence a fashion house’s branding, shaping them as a technological trailblazer or a company on the pulse,” said Justin Banon, co-founder of metaverse commerce layer Boson Protocol. “The event also enhances brand exposure to new, future-looking audiences with an engaging style that is much more interactive than visiting a brand’s website or social pages.”
Fashion brand D-Cave — owned by OTB Group, which also owns Diesel, Maison Margiela and Marni — is partnering with Diesel and NFT project Hape for the event. It will offer four different token-gated wearables for free to the Diesel x Hype NFT community. The wearables can be automatically claimed by those with a Hype x Diesel NFT who enter the party event held on March 29 and connect a wallet. D-Cave’s Decentraland space will be open during MVFW and for a month afterward before the brand’s next big activation. As part of its first push into web3 in January, Diesel x Hype launched an NFT project that sold out within hours.
Stefano Rosso, co-CEO of the OTB Group and founder of D-Cave, said that the company has not yet seen sufficient ROI to do major marketing activations around MVFW. “But if a brand can make it work properly and if you’re able to bring the right community in at these events, it pays off, because you get something that is harder to get with standard marketing activities,” said Rosso.”The level of engagement with that fan base skyrockets, because they feel they’re participating in something unique, and the way they approach the brand is completely different.” When the brand talks about its NFT partnership on Twitter, the engagement rate is three times higher than the tweets for its fashion show, he said.
The process of getting brand fans to the platform is also different. “It’s not like looking at a billboard while walking on the street. You need to invest your time to attend, get inside, get your avatar, link to the different spaces and spend time there,” said Rosso. “If the experience is positive, it generates a very strong bond between the brands and the users. For us, the KPIs are going to be how many people will come to the event and what type of conversion rate we will have on the wearables.”
AR digital fashion platform DressX, one of the event’s main partners, is hosting an AR activation and launching a see-now, wear-now (in AR) collection as part of the fashion brand Dundas’s fashion show. “We think it’s crucial for fashion brands to take advantage of such opportunities, especially when the market is still in its infancy and the opportunities for new activations are endless,” said Daria Shapovalova, co-founder of DressX.
Even with all the improvements, what’s still missing is an obvious link from Metaverse Fashion Week to brands’ web2 communities. With most of the event’s and participating brands’ marketing focused on web3 communities on Twitter and Discord, the fashion industry’s biggest platform, Instagram, is still being left out of the conversation.