Fashion NFTs take to the runway in world's first Metaverse Fashion Week

WOULD you like to dress your digital avatars as well as you dress your corporeal self?

Fashion designers are betting that you do, with the launch of the first Metaverse Fashion Week (MFW) running from Mar 24 to 27 on the popular metaverse platform Decentraland.

Open to just about anyone with a computer and an internet connection, Metaverse Fashion Week features runway shows, after-parties and pop-up events, all centred around stunning digital garments, some of which can be programmed to dress your virtual selves.

Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Cavalli, Paco Rabanne, Tommy Hilfiger, Nicholas Kirkwood and Elie Saab are just some of the big brands participating in MFW, buoyed by the idea that fashion lovers want the power of fashion to transform their virtual lives as much as their physical reality.

In fact, the metaverse offers even more fantastical options than the real world: As an avatar, you can easily select your body shape, skin tone and hair style, and dress the alternate you in clothes that can change colours, sprout flowers, shed diamonds or blaze like a supernova.

There are now thousands of digital-only or digital-first brands creating clothes for virtual avatars, such as The Fabricant, Dress X and Auroboros (pictured above) - all 3 of which are also participating in MFW.

Singapore participation

From Singapore, there's Brytehall, a premium NFT marketplace that will present a conceptual pop-up showroom called Fashion Eden on the rooftop of the Cash Labs art gallery and screening space. Fashion Eden is a virtual garden enveloping fashion and art pieces curated by Hong Kong-based collective The Meta Art Club.

The pieces are created by The MetaArt Club artist and digital couturier Niccolo Casas and digital video artist FrankNitty3000, and will be auctioned as NFTs on Brytehall.

Inspired by water's transformation states from vapour to liquid and solid, Casas has created a phygital couture piece seemingly constructed out of ice crystals.

The buyer of the NFT will have the opportunity to have a 3D-printed version of the dress, priced at US$33,000, that includes the digital atelier process of customisation and fitting the dress to the buyer's body.

Casas' couture dress will also be reimagined as an edition of 25 art NFTs, while a phygital bracelet will also be sold as an edition of 15 NFTs, complete with a 3D-printed bracelet by Casas, made of recycled bio-resin.

Meanwhile, FrankNitty3000 - who has worked with Gucci, Burberry, Louboutin and Dior - is offering 12 high-resolution animated NFTs (above) featuring Hong Kong Olympic high-jumper Cecilia Yeung wearing Casas' digital couture dress.

More women in NFT space

Brytehall is a 7-month-old Singapore-born NFT marketplace that boasts curated drops of premium NFTs. According to Bettina von Schlippe, the co-founder of Brytehall, its priciest transaction so far has been a US$50,000 phygital bike from popular bike brand Specialized. The lowest-price transaction has been 0.5 Eth (or S$4,021 at press time) for an art NFT.

Although men still dominate the NFT space as sellers and buyers, von Schlippe says: "Women are absolutely taking more of an interest in NFTs. Rather than simply purchasing a physical bracelet or a dress, there's definitely a growing adoption and appetite from women to consume their fashion in digital form, particularly as we see more events like Metaverse Fashion Week take place."

According to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, the NFT market surpassed US$40 billion in 2021. With nearly every luxury brand now embracing the technology, the fashion NFT industry is estimated to be worth around US$10 billion in 2022.

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