Following Metaverse Fashion Week, Glossy spoke with Decentraland’s metaverse producer, Giovanna Casimiro, about what worked, what didn’t and how brands used the metaverse to their advantage.
With fashion being an expansive, creative and largely sensory field, what happens when the clothes can no longer be felt? This was the question the crypto social platform Decentraland explored during its inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week, which amassed a roster of brands including Etro, D&G, Imitation of Christ and Auroboros. It was one of the first explorations of the fashion week experiences in the metaverse. A separate event, Crypto Fashion Week that launched in 2020, held its second edition at the same time. It was more focused on design creativity and a high-definition experience.
Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week dialed down the resolution and added a social component for guests to experience the shows and buy digital wearables using MANA, Decentraland’s cryptocurrency. The idea is to help brands expand their offering through the new revenue channel of the metaverse, which brands including Off-White have started to embrace.
Although the event did provide a metaverse platform to a number of brands, it also proved it has a long way to go, in terms of competing with established fashion events. Complications around user access, a lack of cross-channel strategies between the digital and the physical spaces, and insufficient gamification were some of the biggest letdowns. Giovanna Casimiro, Decentraland’s metaverse producer is keen to note that, as with all technologies, the first will be iterated upon and improved. She priomised a sleeker, more fashion-orientated event next year.
In terms of numbers, Decentraland saw 108,000 unique attendees during the five days MVFW was held. 166,000 free wearables were minted during the five days, while 7,000 were sold by different designers and brands. In total, about $77,000 worth of wearables were sold during MVFW.
As it was an inaugural event, these numbers are promising for brands like Tommy Hilfiger that are looking to engage with new gaming consumers. “We had 30% of new users — a big number for us, considering a lot of people from the traditional fashion industry gave us a chance to come to the metaverse for the first time,” Casimiro said. “We mainly considered our impact on the traditional fashion and luxury industry. We were able to make a mark on that.”
Brand reception from the event was good, according to Casimiro. For many brands, it was their first time seeing their stores and catwalks come to life in a virtual space after weeks or months of development. “Some had some criticism [and requested] customizing the avatars more in the future. That’s something we’ll definitely try more, with more time,” she said. “But I think we’ll have a good retention of these brands in cyberspace.”
While brands like Dolce & Gabbana were able to bring forward cat-like avatars for their catwalk and other brands had more expansive garment options, this will be a priority for all the brands involved going forward. “The catwalks were one of the major challenges for our team, because it’s pretty much a sequence of animated elements and characters that are synced with a brand’s expectations. They brought a new standard to the catwalks,” she said.
With the full schedule not being posted until the week of the event, the need for smoother operations will also be a focus next time. Casimiro said Decentraland will be doing an open call for brand inclusion in late July or early August of this year. The team will start producing from that point, with an aim to offer brands more customized experiences for brands and bring in more celebrities and press exclusives to fuel more publicity.
Casimiro also noted that brands saw better reception from the community when they created exclusive collections for the platform, which will tie in to more gamified experiences going forward. Not all brands created specific collections for the metaverse — while others like Dolce & Gabbana did.
“Some of those corporations and luxury brands still want to try to abstract from what they already have in their collection. Plus, the shops didn’t have any quests or any exploratory element. They were more like an exhibition display in the space. That’s definitely one thing that we should bring in: gamify more, reward players for being in that space,” she said.
One of the key issues this year was access, as noted by a number of members of the press and guests. A large number of guests coming into spaces at the same time were sometimes faced with a black screen or transported to different districts in the game. Moving forward, the platform will offer several solutions to mitigate that. For example, it will have the desktop client for MacBook and for Windows, which will help a lot of people see the experience with the highest graphics possible.
More importantly, the platform will also be accessible via VR wearables and AR. “It’s very likely that we are going to have VR capabilities for headsets in place by the end of this year or early next year, which will allow people to see the experience differently,” said Casimiro. “We’re hoping to create more connections between the physical and the digital next year. Augmented realities (AR) like video projection and real-time video mapping can easily make that happen.”
From now until the next MVFW, which is coming in March of next year, Decentraland will host multiple events that brands allowing brands to get involved. They’ll center on Pride Month, Art Week and the music-focused Metaverse Festival that was attended by Paris Hilton last year. Casimiro is also planning to collaborate with Paris Fashion Week on a phygital event. “We’re planning to keep engaging with the fashion community from different angles. We want to bring in different communities and key personnel from the fashion industry to showcase collections during these events,” she said.