Metaverse Fashion Week has once again stirred up excitement in the digital fashion community. The event showcased the latest in digital couture and user-generated content on the virtual runway, while also hosting panel discussions and parties. The promise of interoperable metaverse lands added to the organizers' attempt to unite the space. MVFW received significant press coverage, and journalists and critics have shared their thoughts on what it means for the future of fashion and virtual worlds, as well as the event's benefits and shortcomings. Our roundup features insights from various articles published on this second edition of Metaverse Fashion Week.
With the rapid creation of these new virtual worlds, we seem to have a plethora of experiences but not enough people around to enjoy it or more importantly, enjoying it with the individuals they want to share the experience with at any given time.
Even if the metaverse is still in its infancy, this edition offered more exploration and a glimpse of what a future metaverse could look like. However, you did sometimes end up in a perpetual link marathon, sending you across different applications, platforms, social media, and marketplaces.
Platform accessibility for newcomers to Decentraland or Web3 is reasonably satisfactory, but not exceptional. Accessing Decentraland via a web browser allows guest users to explore the space without commitment and easily connect a wallet. New features added from last year include allowing individuals and brands to make purchases via credit card and renting virtual space instead of buying it. However, this convenience comes at the cost of a subpar navigation experience.
Brands are starting to experiment more with what’s possible in virtual social spaces like Decentraland, and big companies like Meta, Epic Games, and Roblox are trying to make their so-called metaverses attractive for those brands, too. But Metaverse Fashion Week is just the latest example of a clunky digital space that seems to exist only for the companies that make it, not for the users that actually visit.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the metaverse does not exist in silos. It’s inextricably bound to the real world with all the same components — from our obsession with tv reality shows to the red carpet moments of the MET Gala and the Oscars plus fashion’s links to the world of music and entertainment.
Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 brought high fashion to an average consumer, linking a highly exclusive event with online users. In many ways, it offered both brand followers and retailers something a physical world cannot: connection, virtual out-of-this-world experiences and a community. However, MVFW23 invited its guests to a space that seemed underdeveloped and glitchy. The high points were often accompanied by frustration and annoyance, thwarting the chance to fully enjoy the experience.
Perhaps digital wearables have, like so many other things, been lost in the shuffle as AI seizes the industry’s attention thanks to the success of ChatGPT and other tools. Maybe a third instalment of Metaverse Fashion Week will dominate the headlines due to technological advancements and a more favorable market. Another possibility is that fashion houses and clothing retailers entering the metaverse reverse course, motivated by the prevailing mood music and a sense that the metaverse hype-cycle has run aground. Only time will tell.
Early metaverse pioneer Decentraland recently wrapped up its four-day Metaverse Virtual Fashion Week (MVFW). However, the event struggled to attract users, with only 26,000 attendees. This marks a 76% decline compared to last year’s 108,000 unique attendees. This is also despite the participation of top brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, and Adidas, the maximum number of users signed in at one time was just over 1,000.
Falling on the heels of Facebook’s rebranding to Meta and ‘the metaverse’ being hailed as the latest hype tech, last year’s show – which was the first of its kind – was marketed by Decentraland as a breakthrough event in the global fashion industry. However, Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 ran within a very different climate – where major brands have made recent headlines for scaling back investment in metaverse-related products and sentiments about metaverse marketing seem to have shifted among advertisers.
It appears that just because the novelty of the metaverse has worn off, it doesn’t mean that virtual worlds lack massive potential to engage and entice users. Unlocking that potential, however, may take more now than just showing up.