Swathes of consumers enter the metaverse looking to create their digital personas by cladding themselves in apparel that resonates with their identity. It is a new dawn for fashion labels, with the metaverse helping brands broaden reach, level-up engagement, and personalize customer experiences. Fashion giants like Balenciaga, Gucci, and Burberry are among the many brands pioneering in the metaverse through collaborations. Virtual fashion shows, digital showrooms, and interactive in-game experiences - the opportunities are truly limitless for fashion companies. As the metaverse continues to mature and develop, brands must watch out for opportunities they can capitalize on.
What do fashion brands do in the metaverse?
Brands from fast fashion to high-end labels are entering the metaverse to take advantage of digital channels to engage, interact and sell to audiences in a completely new way. Here are some of the reasons fashion brands leverage the metaverse:
Reach a wider audience and increase customer engagement
Fashion brands are creating next-gen immersive experiences in the metaverse, helping them tap into broader markets and audience pools. Younger demographics interact with luxury brands and fashion labels. Gucci’s foray into the metaverse with the Gucci Garden in Roblox attracted an astounding 20 million visitors and was a great example of reach.
Metaverse-driven fashion experiences also help increase user engagement. For example, virtual and augmented reality can help create digital experiences that allow users to experience a fashion retail store, try on garments, and interact with brand representatives in real-time.
Experiment with new styles and designs
The metaverse blurs the boundaries between physical and virtual fashion. The fashion industry depends on the ability of designers to be creative and express themselves. The metaverse helps them unleash their creativity and design without constraints. Fashion brands can experiment with new styles and designs that might not be feasible in the physical world. Some avant-garde fashion designers use fabrics like liquid gold, water, fire, or smoke to design digital apparel.
Creating garments on this virtual platform can also be a trial run for physical designs. Designing avatar skins that users can try on and provide feedback for could be a cost-effective way to experiment and iterate. Fashion houses should consider that people dress differently in a virtual and physical environment, and any testing must consider these differences.
Create immersive experiences
Metaverse technology allows brands to build interactive, immersive, 360-degree virtual experiences, presenting new ways for fashion brands to exhibit their collections. For example, digital fashion shows with 3D runways, pop-up shops or elaborately designed online showrooms are just scratching the surface. The possibilities are endless when conceptualizing how fashion brands can leverage the metaverse to create better customer experiences.
Encourage user-generated content and personalization
The metaverse also allows fashion brands to connect with customers on a deeper level by providing opportunities to create unique digital clothing and accessories. The physical world is limited by its ability to customise physical fashion for individuals. However, digital mass customization in choosing apparel for an avatar to the smallest detail can help users display their individuality and increase the amount of user-generated content.
Gather data on customer preferences and behavior
Fashion labels that build experiences and interact with customers in the metaverse will have a wealth of data to understand consumer behaviours, habits and product affinity. For example, digital stores can track user movements and interactions to decode shopping preferences, segment customers and target them with more personalised experiences.
Which fashion brands are in the metaverse?
Balenciaga, the Parisian fashion brand, is making big waves with its digital apparel lines in the metaverse fashion world. The brand was the first to release an NFT wearables collection in collaboration with the videogame Fortnite in 2021. The collection included garments, accessories and bags digitally created for Fortnite players to purchase. The high fashion brand also ran a VR fashion show for its autumn/winter 2021 collection. It also created a virtual showroom that allows customers to view and purchase their latest collection in a 3D environment, complete with avatars modelling each piece.
The fashion house, The Fabricant, pioneers several digital fashion initiatives - one of their significant breakthroughs is ‘Iridescence’, the world’s first digital couture dress that sold for $9,500 in a blockchain auction. The dress that The Fabricant created in collaboration with artist Johanna Jaskowska demonstrates the potential for virtual fashion to be a profitable market.
Gucci has been trailblazing in the virtual fashion industry with several initiatives and collaborations in the metaverse. The Italian fashion brand created virtual luxury sneakers called The Gucci Virtual 25 that can be accessed and worn in Roblox and VRChat. In addition to this collaboration, Gucci also tied up with the mobile game Genies to make digital footwear and accessories available for purchase during a limited-time in-game event.
One of Burberry’s digital ventures in the metaverse was their collaboration with ELLE Digital Japan to create a virtual replica of their flagship store in Ginza, Tokyo. Customers could interact with and navigate the store to explore Burberry’s spring/summer 2021 collection and make purchases. Following this, Burberry also launched its Blankos Block Party game by partnering with Mythical Games, a multi-player metaverse fashion video game.
The high fashion brand Louis Vuitton has also debuted in the metaverse and continues to create innovative virtual fashion experiences. For instance, the French fashion house launched a video game with NFT collectables in homage to their founder, calling it ‘Louis the Game’. The brand also entered the world of e-sports with its League of Legends partnership to create a virtual ‘capsule collection’ of clothing and accessories that players could purchase for their in-game avatars.
Examples of fashion brand experiences in the metaverse
Everyone, from legacy brands to modern ones, is stepping out of their comfort zone and fully embracing digital and virtual interactions to increase their brand’s presence and respond to changing consumer needs. These digitally activated experiences demonstrate the potential for fashion brands to create unique and engaging events for their customers in the metaverse.
Some examples of fashion brand experiences in the metaverse include:
Marc Jacobs’ virtual pop-up shop: In 2020, Marc Jacobs took its Heaven collection into the virtual world by creating a pop-up shop on Instagram. Users could browse through the brand’s collection pieces and make purchases using augmented reality filters.
Ralph Lauren’s virtual fashion experience: The American fashion company launched an immersive virtual fashion experience in 2021 called ‘The RL Virtual Experience’. It allows customers to enter a digital mansion to explore and interact with products, giving them an engaging shopping experience from the comfort of their homes.
Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week supported by LandVault: Decentraland’s first-ever fashion week in 2022 was launched through the collaborative effort of various metaverse-building companies, including LandVault. It celebrated fashion culture with over 60 brands. The event garnered a footfall of over 300,000 attendees and had a 70% conversion rate on digital items sold by brands like Dolce & Gabanna, Loreal, Selfridges and many others.
Tommy Hilfiger’s store in the first-ever Decentraland Metaverse Fashion Week: The iconic brand participated in the 2022 edition of Dcentraland Metaverse Fashion Week. The Tommy Hilfiger store located within Boson Portal enabled users to experience the brand’s classic American cool style immersively. Additionally, fans could teleport their avatars to a virtual store and shop limited-edition products from the brand's spring 2022 collection.
Brand metaverse experiences vs IRL experiences
Metaverse experiences help brands transcend the physical world’s constraints, increasing accessibility and personalisation for customers. The physical world, however, still possesses other benefits of tangible experiences and the ability to interact personally with one another. Understanding which type of experience works best for different brand objectives is vital to see how these experiences compare to each other. While brands can flag no single experience as the best, they must be able to deploy them in symphony.
The metaverse, driven by advanced technologies, presents new opportunities for brands to create experiences that were impossible before. Here are the possibilities that metaverse experiences create for brands:
Immersive experiences: Virtual worlds like Fortnite or Roblox create a more personal, immersive and interactive experience that people can access from anywhere with an internet connection.
Personalisation: The metaverse helps give users a more relevant experience through personalisation, creating opportunities to connect with users on a deeper level and increase engagement.
Global interactions: People can connect globally to socialise and collaborate in the metaverse, giving brands the power to broaden their audience and market reach.
Better data & insights: The metaverse also allows brands to gather better consumer data and insights that can translate into creating better products, improving engagements and optimising marketing.
Cost-effective: The metaverse allows brands to organise elaborate events and experiences that can be more cost-effective and efficient to produce than large-scale physical events.
The real world creates different opportunities for brands to connect with consumers. Here’s what IRL experiences can provide brands with:
Engage all five senses: Tangible physical experiences can help brands capture a consumer's five senses in a way that virtual experiences cannot. This helps boost multi-sensory marketing that can help brands get into not only the minds but hearts of consumers.
Face-to-face interactions: In a physical store, brands have more opportunities to interact face-to-face with consumers and understand them emotionally, allowing brands to better cater to their needs.
Tangibility: Brands can never do away with physical merchandising. Consumers have different preferences regarding how they wish to research, test and buy products. In some cases, experiencing items physically through touch and feel can encourage them to purchase.
Expensive: Brick-and-mortar retail experiences are more challenging to create for a brand. They are also costly investments for a brand to make but are still necessary to develop omnichannel experiences.
The metaverse, a creative digital universe to interact, create and transact, has massive potential for fashion labels. Brands are expanding into the metaverse to reach a wider audience, experiment with new designs, create immersive experiences, and gather data on customer preferences and behaviour. Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs are just some brands exploring the potential of VR and AR, NFTs, and other cutting-edge technologies to create new customer experiences. The metaverse is here to stay, and it's time brands shift gears to maximise their potential in digital environments.
Are you a brand looking to capitalise on the metaverse’s enhanced customer experiences? We can help you build, scale and monetise your brand experiences in the metaverse, so contact us today!