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Oct 19, 2022

Metaverse vs. reality: which path forward for fashion?

As an emerging concept, the metaverse has received extensive attention from industry, academia, media and the public. On October 28, 2021, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be renamed Meta, and the business would turn to emerging computing dominated by the metaverse. On March 24, 2022, the world’s first Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) kicked off, hosted by Decentraland, the top virtual social platform based on the Ethereum blockchain. Brands such as Paco Rabanne, Etro, Tommy Hilfiger, Cavalli, Nicholas Kirkwood and Elie Saab also joined the official line-up for this fashion week. Therefore, the world’s leading companies have seen the changes in the metaverse era and tried to seize this rare opportunity.

Cyberpunk metaverse fashion show, made with Midjourney by Constanza Coscia

Metaverse fashion show, made with Midjourney & Photoshop by Constanza Coscia

The definition of the metaverse is still inconclusive. The essence of the metaverse is generalised three-dimensional cyberspace [1]. Combined with the following two articles [2][3], the metaverse is a digital society based on digital technology, in which people participate in digital identity and a ternary world digital society. The construction of the metaverse will go through three stages, as shown in the image below:

Construction stages of the metaverse

Construction stages of the metaverse

According to this image, we can see that the three stages of the metaverse are:

1. Virtual and real twins. The metaverse generates a mirror image of real space in virtual space based on technologies such as digital twin and simulation.

2. The virtual and the real coexist. With the continuous improvement of computer simulation technology, the authenticity of real space continues to retreat, and the symbols of space and time in reality gradually increase in value. At this stage, mass-produced imitations become equal to true copies.

3. The fusion of the virtual and the real. Reality and virtual reality are integrated and symbiotic, and the scope of virtual space will be larger than that of real space. When the metaverse reaches a mature stage, the virtual space will create a surreal and assimilate reality into itself.

To sum up, we are now in the first stage. At present, the metaverse is still limited to the field of games and social media, but its application scope is far more than that. Therefore, the development of digital technology heralds the coming of the metaverse era, brings new experiences and possibilities to fashion brands and consumers, and promotes the accelerated integration of virtual and real space, from the first stage to the third stage. Brands need to use new technologies to properly manage resources and business layouts to meet consumers’ interactive needs of low latency, high response, and high immersion in the metaverse era.

Backstage at a Metaverse fashion show, made with Midjourney and Photoshop by Constanza Coscia

Imagining a fashion show in the metaverse, a unique project created using Midjourney and Photoshop by Constanza Coscia

First, the metaverse can help us solve the problem of wearing on the “body” through technology. It can help us move freely in the virtual space for a remote experience resembling the physical world. With the advancement of science and technology, human-computer interaction has expanded from a two-dimensional interface to a three-dimensional interface, increasing the immersive experience. However, the current technology is still unable to realise the ideal metaverse; the interaction in the metaverse space now mainly relies on XR (VR/AR/MR) equipment and holographic images to achieve high immersion. With today’s technology, it is hard to design small and portable devices or to provide low-cost mass production so that consumers can enter the metaverse anytime, anywhere, providing an authentic, durable and fluid interactive experience. Moreover, mature technology has not solved the discomfort of wearing XR devices for a long time.

Metaverse fashion show, made with Midjourney and Photoshop by Constanza Coscia

Imagining a fashion show in the metaverse, a unique project created using Midjourney and Photoshop by Constanza Coscia

Second, we solve that the digital identity of each user is independent and unique. Through technical means, we complete a consensus and trust in the authority and legitimacy of user identity authentication in the virtual world in a decentralised system and ensure that His credibility is no less than his recognition of the uniqueness and independence of his identity in real life.

The third point is that the most fundamental significance of the metaverse is to solve the problem of trust in the digital world with decentralised technology and to find a way to establish the power and value system through the consensus of all users and players. 

The fourth point is that if the entire brand strategy is formulated through the understanding of technology and the advantages of technology, the sustainable development path of the brand’s metaverse can be planned systematically. At that point, the benefits of technology and user trust in the virtual world can be established.



YuXuan Wang
UG Fashion Design courses Tutor, Shenzhen