Many of us know that to be ahead of the fashion curve, strategy needs to be creative and innovative. However, we may be surprised to learn that an upcoming stream of success are collections that aren’t physical at all. With brands like Gucci leading the way, the rise of fashion solely in the digital realm is all too apparent. What does virtual fashion look like – and will it last?
With users signing up for digital releases and collections quickly selling out, virtual pieces are being issues as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), with interest being propelled for virtual fashion houses. The potential for NFTs seems endless, with collections able to be designed for AR experiences, gaming and metaverses. Though the potential is there, the market – much like the phantom phenomenon of cryptocurrency – is still largely unexplored. The fact that many of us don’t quite understand it yet is a key barrier to it being largely adopted. Experimenting with the new market means tailoring a specific set of expectations before treading the waters.
It’s firstly worth bearing in mind that NFTs can already be volatile. Their price dropped nearly 70% over recent weeks, with governmental blows dealt by crackdowns on crypto laundering schemes. Entering into the virtual world means brands need to decide whether it’s a short-term flirt or a long-term investment – and quickly. Like many other facets of the fashion industry, maintaining flexibility through changing circumstances remains beyond essential. Ensuring plans for long-term maturity is also worthwhile, as the market mainly benefits from initial growth in its current stages. Committal will require endless testing of new technology and approaches that they might need. Though there hasn’t been any real hesitance to joining the digital ranks, there may be a large reliance on relevant partnerships, as one technology doesn’t necessarily fit all types of output. Real change will be made through creative cross-collaboration, and fashion leaders will be needed to really push mass adoption.
That being said, many brands have a digital collection somewhere along the pipeline. There seems to be a real value in using such technology for commercial growth, with exciting new methods of consumption such as photo try-ons and virtual showrooms. There’s no stopping the integration of fashion and software – the question will be if the industry can overcome potential challenges through open source collaboration.
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