Friday, October 7

Cryptofashion, the virtual fashion that is paid with real money

In March, Gucci sold the cheapest sneakers in its history. They cost $17.99, about 15 euros. Of course, only virtual feet can wear them. The Virtual 25 sneakers, which can be used on online gaming platforms like Roblox, are an example of cryptofashion, the digital fashion that is marketed and authenticated in the block chain or blockchain.

While the idea of ​​spending real money on clothing that doesn’t physically exist is unnerving to many, virtual possessions drive real sales in the metaverse: online environments where people can walk, meet friends, and play games. the digital artist Hiroto KaiFor example, he made between $15,000 and $20,000 in just three weeks selling kimonos he had designed on his computer for $140 a suit. “When you have a piece of clothing, you can go to a party in it, you can dance in it, you can show it off, and it’s a status symbol,” Kai admitted after his success as a virtual designer.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the big luxury brands have also begun to be interested in the cryptofashion. Louis Vuitton launched a game in the metaverse where players can collect crypto assets or so-called non-fungible tokens (NFTs); Burberry has created branded NFT accessories for Blankos Block Party, a game owned by Mythical Games; Y Balenciaga has presented one of its collections through a video game in which the avatars wear pieces from the firm.

3D design by Russian designer Alena Akhmadullina.

This opportunity to create a feeling of belonging is going to be exploited by brands, institutions and influential people, according to the director of sales of the company specializing in financial technology Bit2Me, Javier Pastor. “The concept of avatars, metaverses and digital identities is under development. The society of the future will value having the digital representation of the signature of their favorite soccer player with a unique identifier of authenticity, which can be shown through social networks, as much or more than the physical signature itself”, he acknowledges.

In fact, in September this year, for the first time, the Crypto Fashion Week, with a Meta Gala virtual, inspired by the Met Gala in New York. The extravagant garments worn by the avatar models were auctioned off after the event, with part of the proceeds going to a new design fund to support the work of emerging digital fashion designers from around the world. “This industry has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of qualified jobs that add value to the industry and the country,” says Pastor. Design The empress of the metaverse, a collaboration between the digital fashion house The Fabricant and the influence digital Ruby 9100m, was the one that generated the most income, with a price equivalent to 8,161 euros.

For the fashion marketer Ana Diaz del Rio, the one from cryptofa­shion It is a niche that every company should attend. “It is a new sales channel where fashion brands can promote collections that dress the favorite video game characters for these consumers. Characters who are themselves in virtual realities in which to demonstrate personality, style or values”, he assures.

Frame of the first Meta Gala of the Crypto Fashion Week.
Frame of the first Meta Gala of the Crypto Fashion Week.

In addition to providing a layer of accessibility and more opportunities for personal expression by avoiding the limitations of the physical, these garments also provide environmental benefits in the face of excessive consumption in the fashion industry, according to Díaz del Río: “It is 100% sustainable and allows the loyalty of large masses of consumers for the brands that promote these products.”

But not everything are advantages. The general director of the blockchain development company Coinfabrik, Sebastian Wain, assures that the lack of knowledge about this type of technology and financing models can lead to scams. “More education is needed. We are talking about them having an idea of ​​when they are taking risks and when they are not, because people invest without having a clue of what they are doing,” he admits. In addition, Wain insists on the need for a clearer and more uniform universal regulation regarding the market for cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Qipao digital de la artista 3D Stephy Fung.
Qipao digital de la artista 3D Stephy Fung.

In this sense, the lawyer specializing in financial law Miriam Navas criticizes that there are large projects that are paralyzed or that go to other countries due to lack of legal clarity. Still, he is optimistic about the arrival of MiCA, the proposal of the European Union for the regulation of the cryptoactive market. “In Spain there is a lot of talent in the blockchain world, the only thing missing is institutional support in a clearer way, losing fear and betting on technology in an intelligent way. You don’t have to water everything indiscriminately, but be efficient with resources and efforts,” he says.

Experts agree that it is a good move to approach the new generation of gamers, undisputed opinion leaders today. What’s more, for many of them, online games have ceased to be a simple pastime to become their way of life thanks to cryptofashion.

Sneakers by RTFKT.
Sneakers by RTFKT.

This is the case of Zaptio, Ben and Chris, the three young people behind the virtual shoe creation studio RTFKT. “We grew up playing Diablo, Half-life, Runescape, Minecraft; watching DBZ, Evangelion, Akira, Star Wars; collecting, exchanging and reselling Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon cards”, they say in the presentation of their website. In 2020 they joined their passions and began collaborating with digital artists to market their footwear across the metaverse. The most notorious was his association with the designer Fewocious, 18 years old. The amazing result is also proudly told on their website: “With that partnership alone, we sold more than $3 million worth of digital sneakers in less than seven minutes.”

Designers who succeed in the metaverse

The 'Shishigami Shoes' from the digital fashion company Auroboros.
The ‘Shishigami Shoes’ from the digital fashion company Auroboros.
  • Fairy tales. The brand Alena Akhmadullina and its creator are some of the brightest stars in the history of Russian fashion. Its collections are inspired by Russian fairy tales and its clothes are worn by celebrities such as Eva Green, Patricia Kaas or Naomi Campbell. Now, Akhmadullina has also made the leap to the metaverse and has created a capsule of 3D garments to wear only in virtual reality. His fantasy dresses for avatars cost 128 dollars, about 110 euros.
  • Digital Qipaos. Stephy Fung is a 3D artist based in London, but she hasn’t forgotten her oriental roots. She is known for digitally bringing the form-fitting qipao to life. In fact, the traditional Chinese dress was one of the first digital garments presented by the designer and its current value is 60 dollars, about 50 euros. The collection in striking shades of purple, emerald green and blue can be seen and worn on the international multi-brand retail site, Dress X.
  • Fashion + science. Auroboros is the first fashion house to fuse science and technology with physical haute couture. His work is synonymous with innovation, sustainability and immersive design. The boots ‘Shishigami Shoes’ are one of his best known works. Inspired by the forest spirit of the Ghibli studio, they cost 230 pounds (more than 270 euros).