According to the Harvard Business Review and Insider Intelligence, the amount of time Americans spend immersed in digital media has increased from a pre-COVID 6.3 hours per day to nearly eight hours. Bloomberg reported that over 100 billion US dollars were spent on digital goods in 2021. When this vast digital nation shifts from being on the internet to spending time in the metaverse, this number will explode.
When this shift happens, defining and refining our metaverse identities through digital fashion will become a worldwide obsession. Since my Oculus purchase, I personally spend over an hour a day in the metaverse—I game, work out, meditate, and meet with colleagues, but I estimated I’ve spent a quarter of my time creating and dressing my avatars. Long hair that I could never grow in real life becomes an instant reality. If I want a nose job, it’s done in less than a second without pain or recovery time. How about that smashing Valentino pleated leather coat? In real life, it’s too rich for my blood at $5000, but I can buy a digital lookalike at a fraction of the price.
Meet Your Avatar, Dress Your Avatar
An avatar is your digital counterpart, and it’s nearly impossible to navigate the metaverse without one. Sure, there are some apps where you float around as a formless presence. Not having a body can be a cool experience, but you need a physical representation to interact with others. Your avatar takes shape with facial features, hairstyle, and skin tone. Then, of course, you need to get dressed. This process illuminates how important fashion is to personal identity.
Within the first hour of entering the metaverse, the desire to assert one's individuality grows. Currently, avatars are not universal—this means you create one from scratch for each app. Active VR users end up with many versions of themselves, including cartoons, anime, realistic, etc. I would gladly drop some Crypto to add my signature glasses or to wear a fabulous matrix coat with streaming binary.
Much of the action around digital fashion takes place in the 2D metaverse. However, for genuine 3D fashion immersion today, for today, VRChat is your only real option. Here, the bar to entry is high. You can tour VRChat as a visitor, but you have to spend time chatting with others and visiting worlds to customize your avatar’s look. How long it takes to activate a user account isn’t a set amount. Instead, an algorithm measures your cooperation and contribution to the VRChat community before enabling advanced features. Interacting can feel awkward at first on this platform, and dressing your avatar is high-tech. Unity and Blender, which are 3D engines/coding platforms, are needed to create customizations.
Decentraland Fashion Week
Fashion Week recently happened in Decentraland last March 24-27, 2022. In real life, fashion week is a fashion industry event where designers display their latest collections in runway fashion shows to buyers and the media. These events influence the upcoming fashion trends for the current and approaching seasons. The first metaverse epitome showcased fashion from both major houses and small brands. Pop-up shops were fully branded with merchandising, logos, music, and invitations to follow designers on social media or subscribe to an email list. Each showroom had a completely different vibe. When not shopping, attendees took breaks at VR stages that were graced with acts like Grimes and Blond:ish and were popular stops between digital shopping sprees. Fashion Week was a triumph and a taste of the future to come.
DressX and XR Couture
I believe the actual future of metaverse fashion lies with 3D, but while we are waiting for that to be perfected, photos augmented with digital looks are novelty fun for influencers. Send a high-quality picture on which you would like to wear a digital item, and companies like DressX and XR Couture dress you in a creation of your choice, like a paper doll—for a fee. Some designs cost over $1000. Of course, if you want to spend the big bucks, one-of-a-kind NFT looks are available too. Check out DressX here, https://dressx.com/, and XR Couture https://xrcouture.com/
Putting it All Together
That’s just a taste of what I predict will become a multi-billion dollar industry. I’ll repeat the Sliice mantra, FIRST TO MARKET - FIRST TO SUCCEED. Over 100,000 style-mavens attended Fashion Week and those who didn’t, regret it. New fashion brands that build showrooms for Decentraland got a big boost that would have taken an enormous budget to achieve with conventional advertising. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s Fashion Week sees 10x the attendance.
Need help building your boutique or showroom in the metaverse? Contact Sliice. We are the first global agency dedicated to metaverse marketing and design. We will build crystal clear messaging that resonates with your audience in and outside the metaverse. Don’t go it alone—partner with Sliice to gain visibility in the metaverse and stake your claim today.
Watch the video here.
Catherine Oaks / Founder & CEO Sliice