Welcome to JCA | The Metaverse Becomes a Platform to Unite Fashion Communities
A recent report from technology research and consulting firm Technavio predicts that the Metaverse will reach a market share of $50.37 billion by the year 2026. It should therefore come as no surprise that the trillion-dollar fashion industry is taking a keen interest in the Metaverse.
While most luxury labels and brands continue to focus on creating non-replaceable tokens (NFTs) to replicate physical items, a handful of projects have begun to bring their communities into the Metaverse.
For example, on September 5, Vogue Singapore launched a fashion-first Web3 community known as “Vogue Singapore’s New World.” While Vogue Singapore has previously expressed an interest in NFTs by symbolizing their September 2021 cover, Natasha Damodaran – director of Vogue Singapore – told JCA that the publication has gone a step further by creating a virtual experience that takes the theme of “Fashion’s New World.” Damodaran explained that the platform allows the community to interact with different types of content and images. She said:
“Vogue Singapore’s New World is currently allowing users to explore a surrealism-inspired world with a welcome video from Vogue’s cover star and supermodel Lina Zhang in September 2022. Users can also experience an AI-generated beauty shoot called Bio RESONANCE by artist Terry. Gates, along with digital couture from Beijing-based designer Yimeng Yu, created exclusively for Vogue Singapore.”
Damodaran explained that Vogue’s metaverse is powered by Spatial.io, a Metaverse platform that specializes in 3D spaces. The virtual space was also designed by Polycount.io, an agency that focuses on NFTs.
Gianna Valintina, head of marketing at Spatial, told JCA that Vogue Singapore’s Metaverse can be accessed through mobile devices, desktops, and virtual reality (VR). She added that users entering the New World can create a custom avatar that can then be dressed up in two exclusive Vogue wearables from fashion designer Yimeng Yu. Damodaran further noted that users can interact directly with Vogue Singapore’s September cover, while reading various bits of content related to images.
While Vogue Singapore’s New World enables a more engaging way for users to view and read content, Valintina emphasized that it also empowers brands and communities to build better experiences. Indeed, Damodaran noted that the Metaverse offers labels the opportunity to expand their reach into other market segments while showcasing creativity and craftsmanship. “For Vogue, that means connecting the fashion community and introducing them to Web3 and vice versa, while still creating engagement opportunities that are relevant across digital platforms,” she said.
While this concept is still new, it resonated with Yu, who created the two digital couture designs for the platform. Yu told JCA that the development of digital technology and the rise of online life in the post-epidemic era have opened up new opportunities for the fashion industry. She said:
“Digital technologies and intelligent manufacturing are innovating the fashion design paradigm, production process, display method, shopping aisle, and user experience within the fashion industry. Both in the creativity of designers and in the perspective of the user experience, the Metaverse offers the fashion industry endless possibilities.”
The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is a non-profit trade association founded in 1962 by American fashion designers. Its CEO, Steven Kold, recently told Cointelegraph that the CFDA has decided to launch an exhibition in the Metaverse in order to increase the international influence of American fashion.
While planning our 60th anniversary, we knew we wanted to do something forward-thinking, and we thought an exhibition in the Metaverse would be the perfect way to celebrate our history while also looking to the future.
Kold, like Vogue Singapore, expressed hope that the CFDA’s debut into the Metaverse will reach new audiences while also inspiring interest in American fashion and designers: “Because it’s in the Metaverse, people don’t have to go to see it; they can do so from the comfort of their own home.”
Does the Fashion community want to be a part of the Metaverse?
While encouraging fashion-focused communities to join the Metaverse may be the next step for some initiatives, it is unknown how people will react. While Vogue Singapore’s New World is unique, the concept may not immediately resonate with the publisher’s target audience. While brands on the Metaverse tend to have a greater relationship with their consumers, according to Brian Trunzo, metaverse head for Polygon Studios, media outlets are still working to better comprehend this:
The media has yet to fully grasp how to utilise Web 3.0 applications to transform audiences from passive viewers into active participants and, at the very least, diehard fans. Converting an Instagram user into a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) member or NFT holder is not an easy task, as even those who have succeeded in this in Web2 can attest.
However, Jinha Lee, co-founder, and chief product officer of Spatial, told TBEN that users collectively spent more than four million minutes on the platform within a week of New World’s launch. “When you see this, it shows that a large majority of people have enjoyed space during the launch of Vogue Singapore,” he said.
While this figure is impressive, Justin Banon, co-founder of Boson Protocol — a metaverse trading protocol focusing on digital and physical fashion — told TBEN that, as with any new technology, there will be an initial time when consumers explore the site. rather than a strong desire to do anything else. While adoption may be delayed, Banon believes that projects like Vogue Singapore will have a long-term impact on the fashion and media industries.
We can only conclude yes when we ask if more fashion magazines want to join the Metaverse. The fashion industry has been proud of its originality and authenticity since the beginning, and the METAVERSE is the natural progression of these values into a new space. The only fashion magazine I expect to see in the future that hasn’t embraced Web 3.0 and the Metaverse is one that’s already defunct.
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