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Why Is Fashion So Obsessed with the Metaverse?

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Why Is Fashion So Obsessed with the Metaverse?


What’s more, digital (or physically theoretical, you might say) clothing is one solution to the supply chain crisis that has put the industry in another chokehold over the past six months, and to fashion’s general sustainability problem. In the metaverse, you don’t have to physically produce anything. “The way young people outfit their avatars is incredibly important to them,” Hackl says, then issues a mandate for the C-suite: “Direct-to-avatar is the new direct-to-consumer.”

But if there’s no physical object, what is it that consumers are buying? And how effective will traditional fashion marketing be in convincing audiences to shell out for digital goods? Already working in that space is RTFKT, which recently raised over $8 million in a seed funding round led by Andressen Horowitz. RTFKT already has an answer: “It’s access to the community of the brand,” Pagotto, the cofounder, says. “We’re a community-driven brand. Also, you have a piece of the company. Because if the company does great, the NFT that you bought is going to go up, so you become some kind of a shareholder and a member at the same time.” Producing less physical products also means the brand is more sustainable, Le reasons.

“It really is a culture thing,” Le insists, explaining how, during the recent NFT week in New York, Bored Ape Yacht Club hosted events that were only open to those who owned one of their NFTs. “It really is creating this whole new cool culture of—I don’t know, Benoit, is there a name for this kind of culture yet?”

“It’s NFT culture, I guess,” says Pagotto.

“It’s different from crypto culture, too,” says Le. “It’s a culture thing.”

I suggested that this small community of people who own one-offs was a bit like the heyday of couture, in which a small, international coterie of women were connected by their ownership of one-of-a-kind designs made by geniuses. But RTFKT is eager to disrupt that idea, too: “Fashion designers going in [to the industry], they’re from fashion school or whatever, but with the metaverse, it opens the door to a way wider range of creatives.” Le has a background in designing skins for video games, not clothing—“but that gives me, I feel like, an advantage over a lot of designers,” he said, “because I can think differently.” The metaverse’s impact on fashion may be less as a new uniform for schlubby tech bros, and more like a fantastical uniform for the new and flush generation of crypto investors.

“We don’t need to respect the legacy,” adds Benoit, who hails from France, where fashion is protected like a national treasure. “We make our own rules.”



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