Paris Fashion Week might have to be renamed Pixel Fashion Week if the current trend of Minecraft-inspired IRL and metaverse-wear continues. Loewe and Weinsanto showcased the increasingly bi-directional relationship between physical and virtual couture.
Paris Fashion Week (PFW) had a digitally-inspired season with designer fashion brands bringing their physical collections into the metaverse or crossing digital aesthetics over into IRL couture often via the use of the trompe l’oeil effect.
“There always has to be something for me that’s slightly knife-edge. An uncomfortable-ness.” (Jonathon Anderson)
Spanish fashion house Loewe, which is LVMH’s oldest luxury fashion house founded in 1846, showed off surrealist 8-bit concept pieces that brought carefully crafted Minecraft chic to the PFW catwalks. Acclaimed creative director Jonathon Anderson adorned select models with bold pixelated outfits that contrasted against the minimal organic floral shapes that typified the rest of the brand’s SS23 collection.
“... wasn’t there a hint of a modern historicism to the outfits that appeared pixellated, like a 1990s video game with squared-off outlines and blocky degradations of colour that Anderson described as ‘glitched’ … It felt like a meta comment on our culture today, on our inability to define what’s real and counterfeit.” (Alexander Fury, AnOther Mag)
Celebrated as one of, if not the highlights of the PFW, the old-school metaverse aesthetics put side-by-side with references to 1940s Dior portrayed an exploration of the dissolving boundaries between virtual wear, a growing bi-directional relationship between digital and physical fashion, and the blurring of the virtual and real worlds.
“That was an explosive collection, turning the head of every major fashion editor and inciting a myriad of Substack entries and Twitter threads from high-fashion Internet kids … a deliciously consumable [collection] … that will fade seamlessly into digital data, in a wondrous, non-depressing way. Pixelization doesn’t scare us.” (Yuki Xu, Document Journal)
Meanwhile, the ballet-inspired Parisian label Weinsanto collaborated with digital-only metaverse fashion house Brand New Vision (BNV) and the teen K-Pop group LIGHTSUM for the M3TALOVE collection.
“Creating looks in the metaverse offers such an incredible design opportunity to express yourself in an entirely new way” (Victor Weinsanto)
The collection of NFT wearables was exhibited in a specially designed holographic environment in the basement of the 3537 cultural space.
Each design reflected a band member’s personal style translated into a new cyber-cabaret aesthetic that fused looks from Weinsanto’s previous collections.
“I wanted to create something they could see themselves wearing in real life” (Victor Weinsanto)
BNV helped Weinsanto bring his aesthetic vision to life in the virtual world. BNV refers to itself as the “digital tailors” that are aiming to be the “stepping stone to the economy of fashion in the metaverse” by offering immersive, accessible and interactive fashion experiences that push beyond the boundaries of physical clothing.
“It’s the combination of fashion and tech … the home of fashion, and there’s this symbiotic thing happening here” (Richard Hobbs, BNV founder and CEO)
Attendees to the physical exhibition received an attendance proof-of-attendance NFT, otherwise known as a POAP via scanning a QR code on their entrance cards. BNV hopes this type of accessibility to the metaverse will “demystify” it to a whole new high-fashion audience.
“The experience with NFTs and fashion through this collaboration was mind-blowing and so much fun!” (LIGHTSUM)
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Japan and the UAE signal further intent to become metaverse and Web3-enabled countries.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida revealed the country’s plans to further invest in the metaverse and related Web3 technologies such as NFTs as part of their digital transformation roadmap.
During his policy speech on the 3rd of October to the Japanese parliament, he reiterated the need to “expand the use of Web3 services that utilize the metaverse and NFTs”.
In an effort to support the “social implementation” of Web3 technology, his government has already created a specialized office to handle policies that reduce the bureaucratic hurdles that must normally be overcome in the country. For example, tax incentives for blockchain companies that are viewed as advancing “the new frontier of the digital economy”.
It is hoped that such policies will create an economic landscape that incentivizes companies to develop their Web3 businesses in Japan.
Meanwhile, at the recently held Dubai Metaverse Assembly, the UAE ministry introduced a new measure of their economic performance called Gross Metaverse Product (GMP).
“Gross metaverse product will be able to create billions of dollars in returns for Dubai without people being physically in the emirate but experiencing it in the metaverse” (Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Economy)
This new metric is to replace the gross domestic product (GDP) which is the most common measure of a nation’s economic success and is a bold move intended to accelerate the country’s digital transformation into an international metaverse and Web3 hub.
The levels of governmental commitment to the metaverse and Web3 shown by Japan and the UAE are based on the hope that their metaverse initiatives could one day rival the values of countries themselves and give them first-mover advantage in the emerging space.
Given that tourism and entertainment already make up a significant portion of many country’s GDPs, it is being argued that the GMP, rather than simply being a marketing gimmick, is in fact a logical step to become a pioneer in emerging virtual economies.
“We are also going to launch a task force to see the opportunities for exporting our culture to the rest of world using the metaverse … to create billions of dollars in returns … without people being physically in the UAE but experiencing it in the metaverse” (UAE Ministry)
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Flamengo, the most popular football club in Brazil and one of its largest sporting franchises, announces a new Web3 loyalty program.
Flamengo has announced a new loyalty program and fan engagement initiative in partnership with Web3 infrastructure company MoonPay, which also provides fiat-to-crypto on-ramp services.
The move is part of the accelerating trend of sports clubs transforming their products and services with blockchain technology such as NFTs and the metaverse, while also creating new direct connections with their fans that were not previously possible.
Latin America is currently the fifth largest market in the world, and there has been a threefold increase in tech investment in the region from 2020 to 2021.
The Flamengo sports franchise will launch new Web3 products such as blockchain-enabled digital ticketing and merchandise such as NFTs, as well as unique experiences and rewards. According to a MoonPay spokesperson, it will receive a share of the revenue from its collaboration with Flamengo, and in-turn sponsors Flamengo’s basketball team for the upcoming season.
“NFTs and web3 technology have helped increase fan engagement and loyalty as well as create new revenue streams worth hundreds of millions of dollars for sports teams around the world” (Ivan Soto-Wright, MoonPay CEO and Co-Founder)