Digital dress codes: What will we wear in the metaverse? (2022)

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

In the near future, instead of going to your closet to choose something to throw on for your next video call, you might instead turn to your virtual wardrobe to pick out a 3D-rendered digital outfit to "wear."

At least, that's what a number of people in the fashion and tech space are banking on as more businesses look to the promise of digital fashion. And they're wagering those virtual outfits won't just be for your Zoom calls, but could eventually be worn all over the "metaverse" -- the concept of an interlinked extended reality world -- in games, across social media, and eventually, perhaps, viewed on your body in the real world through augmented reality (AR) glasses.

In McKinsey & Company and The Business of Fashion's annual "State of Fashion" report, industry leaders looked ahead to this immersive frontier.

"There are more and more 'second worlds' where you can express yourself (but) there is probably an underestimation of the value being attached to individuals who want to express themselves in a virtual world with a virtual product, (through) a virtual persona," Gucci's chief marketing officer Robert Triefus is quoted in the report as saying.

Digital dress codes: What will we wear in the metaverse? (1)

Digital fashion marketplaces have recently opened, including DressX, hoping that shoppers will be keen to start a virtual wardrobe.

Credit: DressX

Outfitting our digital personas is nothing new, from making pixelated Dollz in the early 2000s to shopping these days for new wardrobe additions in Animal Crossing. The video game industry has more recently laid the groundwork for digital fashion, with outfits or "skins," in games like Overwatch and Fortnite generating billions in revenue.

(Video) Utopia VR - Digital dress codes: What will we wear in the metaverse?

Some major fashion players have already begun capitalizing on the gaming market -- in 2019, Louis Vuitton designed skins for League of Legends, and Nike and Ralph Lauren have this year offered avatar accessories through the virtual world-building platform Roblox. Outside of gaming environments, NFTs -- or non-fungible tokens, which use blockchain technology to verify ownership of digital assets -- have allowed digital fashion to be monetized more broadly as well. (This fall, Dolce & Gabbana's NFT collection sold out for 1,885.719 ETH, at the time equivalent to $6 million).

At the same time, discussions around virtual worlds have accelerated due to the pandemic and remote working. Facebook's rebranding as "Meta" has only spurred more interest. (In a recent keynote for Meta's Connect 2021 conference, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that we'll have "a wardrobe of virtual clothes for different occasions" in the metaverse.)

And without physical runway shows last year, fashion designers were forced to get creative in how they presented their clothes. American luxury label Hanifa put on a digital show that eschewed human models in favor of headless, floating figures wearing 3D-renders of new garments, while Chinese designers Xu Zhi, Andrea Jiapei Li and Roderic Wong presented collections during Shanghai Fashion week through an AR virtual showcase.

"Brands realized that they had to create digital showrooms and digital fashion sell their collections in 2020," said Karinna Grant, who co-founded the NFT fashion marketplace The Dematerialised with Marjorie Hernandez, in a phone call. Because of that, she added, consumers were exposed to new ways of seeing clothes presented digitally.

Digital dress codes: What will we wear in the metaverse? (2)

The Dematerialised offers NFT fashion through limited "drops." Outfits and accessories can be traded on the secondary market.

Credit: The Dematerialised

And, quick as a flash, the first wave of digital fashion marketplaces has already arrived, with sites including Replicant, The Dematerialised and DressX offering varied but still somewhat limited functionality. (Currently the latter overlays the clothes on your submitted photo within 24 hours). Snapchat allows users to "try on" digital garments through AR, and Instagram has tested AR clothing filters as well.

Labels like Gucci, Prada, and Rebecca Minkoff are eagerly getting into the space, with Minkoff selling digital versions from her most recent collection on The Dematerialised -- which was priced between 50 euros and 500 euros ($56 to $562) and sold out almost immediately. Just this week Nike announced it had acquired RTFKT, a collective that designs virtual kicks among other digital collectibles.

Replacing the physical

As the field develops, Grant sees three ways of using digital garments: wearing them yourself through AR, outfitting your avatars, and minting them as NFTs to be collected and traded -- the last of which has already seen a boom in the digital art space.

(Video) I Wore Digital Clothes For A Week

But why should we replace our physical clothes? Proponents say there's unlimited creative expression through digital outfits, which now look increasingly more refined thanks to developments in 3D rendering and AR technology.

"Clothing represents an expression of a personality. It always has in the physical world, and it will in the virtual world," said Simon Whitehouse, the former head of label JW Anderson who now helms the sustainability agency Eco Age, in a video call. His artist collective, EBIT, recently launched a mental health-focused game called "Yellow Trip Road," which includes the ability to purchase digital outfits, called "Bumper Jumpers," as NFTs.

On DressX, shoppers can purchase gravity-defying sci-fi looks from "tech-couture" brand Auroboros that might take a fashion house (or a cosplay designer) weeks to engineer physically, with some elements impossible to make at all. In addition, virtual outfits offer a more affordable price point into luxury brands -- like when Gucci launched new digital-only sneakers for $12 this past spring.

"It's like an entry point where you're not spending thousands of dollars, but you can still participate with a brand," said Caitlin Monahan, a consumer tech strategist for trend forecasting company WGSN, in a video call.

From the brand side, it's "incredibly lucrative" to sell clothes without producing physical garments, she explained. Which, by the same token, means virtual fashion is far more sustainable, as well.

"It's reinventing an entire supply chain," Monahan said. "There's no water usage, there's very limited CO2 emissions. There's no samples being sent out or returns. There's no show rooms, there's no physical prototyping."

Digital dress codes: What will we wear in the metaverse? (4)

For brands, digital fashion is also "incredibly lucrative" as a way to sell apparel without producing physical clothes.

Credit: DressX

(Video) Why the Metaverse Is Fashion's Next Goldmine | The Business of Fashion Show

So far there is limited data about the reduced impact of digital fashion, but according to DressX's 2020 sustainability report, production of a digital garment emits 97% less carbon than a physical garment, and saves 3,300 liters of water per item. The marketplace's founders, Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova, first targeted the influencer industry, since influencers often receive clothes from brands for a single image, but the duo has recently partnered with a number of brands and publishers, including Google Pixel and Vogue Singapore, to introduce the company's capabilities to a bigger audience.

"We're working on popularizing digital fashion and mass adoption for it," said Shapovalova in a phone call.

They say an NFT marketplace is also on the horizon for DressX, giving some designs more exclusivity and the ability to collect and sell them on the secondary market. And, though garments minted as NFTs will be less sustainable than non-minted digital garments due to the carbon emissions of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, Whitehouse, Grant and Monahan all pointed to more eco-friendly ways of building NFT platforms, such as using blockchains that operate on an allegedly greener "proof of stake" system, or offering the ability to pay in fiat money instead of crypto.

"As more and more players get into the market in terms of software, I think even more alternatives will begin to arise," Monahan said.

Any adoption of virtual fashion could mean positively impacting an industry that is a major contributor to the world's carbon emissions and microplastic pollution in the ocean -- as long as it is successful in replacing some of the clothes in your closet, and not just an addition.

"We don't need any more physical goods on the planet," said Whitehouse. "Look at what's happening in landfills all over the world. Fashion the top five most polluting industries in the world."

An interconnected future

As more of the fashion industry dips into the virtual world, the interest in staking a claim in it may, at first, outpace the technology itself. Having a single wardrobe that can be used across multiple gaming environments as well as social media and other platforms will require them to be compatible, explained Irene-Marie Seelig, CEO and co-founder of AnamXR, which designs virtual experiences for brands. Otherwise the digital fur coat you've just purchased won't be able to be worn between applications.

"It's very disconnected at the moment," Seelig said over the phone. "And in the future, I foresee it being a lot more interconnected...where you're able to connect into different metaverses with your avatar, your digital wardrobe."

Seelig created the Bumper Jumpers from EBIT's Yellow Trip Road using Unreal Engine, a popular game engine that supports console, mobile and desktop gaming, as well as VR. The outfits could conceivably be ported into games, including Fortnite, one day -- if those game developers decide to open that door.

Digital dress codes: What will we wear in the metaverse? (5)

The developers of these "Bumper Jumpers" from the gaming experience "Yellow Trip Road" hope they will eventually be worn across multiple virtual settings, and not just limited to the game.

Credit: EBIT

(Video) Digital Clothing is the Future of Fashion | Dell Talks with Daria Shapovalova

Some critics are skeptical that there will be a metaverse at all, but if there is, achieving the utopic "open metaverse" with a single wardrobe will be challenging for a number of reasons, ranging from the technical -- if some virtual worlds require a particular graphics card or crypto wallet to function, explained Grant -- to broader IP issues. Will tech companies be willing to share the metaverse space?

It's unclear how everything will shake out, but Monahan is optimistic so far on the fashion side of things.

"In my conversations with digital fashion players, everything seems incredibly collaborative...instead of traditional fashion houses being quite private with their product and the research and development," she explained.

That leaves it up to consumers to decide whether they see the benefit in ditching their material goods in favor of virtual ones.

"One challenge right now is the attitude shift towards paying for something that isn't tactile," Monahan said, recalling the internet reactions to Gucci's cheaper digital-only sneakers. "There were so many comments...saying, 'This is a scam.' 'This is scary.' 'This is the beginning of human extinction.' There was such a resistance to it."

But Monahan believes there are enough people who will be keen on the idea to change the tides. She likens the future of virtual fashion to that of streetwear. The hype around the latter has sent sneakers' secondary market soaring -- and enthusiasts collect to display it, not necessarily to wear.

"It's almost like an art piece, something that you have this kind of emotive connection to -- and I think digital fashion works in the same way," Monahan said. "And just because something isn't tactile, it doesn't mean that it lacks value. And I think proving that utility and proving that craftsmanship will really be key to mainstream adoption."

Top image: Virtual influencer Kuki (@kuki_ai) wearing a digital garment by Marco Rambaldi, purchased from The Dematerialised.

Animation: DressX founders Natalia Modenova and Daria Shapovalova wearing garments from BalmLabs and DRESSX Kandinsky Art collection. Photos by Olga Helga.


What will you wear in the metaverse? ›

In the metaverse, “what you wear becomes your visual identity,” Ms. Greene said. The shredded jeans and crop top or iridescent sci-fi priest's robes or branded hoodie may be all the users your avatar interacts with know about you — and hence the first signals of shared tastes.

Is the metaverse the future of fashion? ›

During the Drapers Future of Fashion conference in June 2022, Hilsum, the senior director of product innovation for the luxury fashion global platform Farfetch, took it a step further and shared that the metaverse (along with developing technology) will be “the next stage of luxury shopping.”

Can you buy clothes in the metaverse? ›

The new virtual store is launching on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger and will allow users to buy digital clothes for their avatars.

Why is fashion obsessed with the metaverse? ›

Fashion is obsessed with the metaverse because it is a place where people can be whoever they want to be. In the metaverse, people can experiment with their style and appearance without having to worry about the judgement of others.

What will metaverse look like? ›

Most metaverse environments will be accessed in virtual and augmented reality. Several companies, including Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Facebook's parent company Meta, are working on metaverse products. Experts forecast that virtual reality, a $30 billion market in 2021, will more than triple to $300 billion by 2024.

How metaverse will change the world? ›

The metaverse, by offering a 3D environment, has hopes of being the virtual environment for these social moments. Employees of the same company spread across the globe will have the potential to meet up in the metaverse to brainstorm at highly creative levels so as to solve problems.

Will metaverse change our lives? ›

The Metaverse cannot change that situation, but it can come as close as possible to offering real-life experiences in so many other realms. Whether it's travel, online casino play, a personalised experience or a simple trip to the shops, the Metaverse has that potential to revolutionise our everyday lives.

What is the most popular metaverse right now? ›

Leading 10 Metaverse Platforms
  • Decentraland (MANA) Decentraland has a market value of nearly $5.6 billion. ...
  • The Sandbox (SAND) Sandbox is the second-most-popular metaverse coin. ...
  • GALA (GALA) ...
  • Enjin Coin (ENJ) ...
  • Metahero (HERO) ...
  • Celebrity Atlas (ATLAS) ...
  • Bloktopia.
12 Sept 2022

How does fashion work in the metaverse? ›

The appeal of digital fashion

The evolution of design technologies allows creative freedom for all designers, but some clothes they design can never be worn in the real world. The Metaverse removes this hurdle — a digital avatar can wear any garment without any constraints of type, design, fabric and use.”

How do you sell clothes on metaverse? ›

Here we'll give you some tips to help you get the most from your metaverse branding efforts.
  • Replicate the physical retail experience with a virtual venue.
  • Integrate augmented reality.
  • Create virtual items for digital avatars.
  • Host immersive virtual events and build other experiences.
3 May 2022

Is entering the metaverse free? ›

You can look at the metaverse as a way of accessing the internet. So, the metaverse won't be any more free than the internet is now. Even though no company can charge you a toll to access the metaverse, you will need some kind of internet or data connection to access it.

What's the point of digital clothes? ›

New styles can be digitally reproduced, or “tailored,” onto the bodies of models (virtual and physical), celebrities, and influencers. On the customer end, improvements in augmented reality also can help buyers visualize and virtually “try on” products before they're even manufactured.

What are virtual clothes? ›

Digital garments are constructed based on real templates and using professional 3D applications for tailors. Hence virtual clothes can be produced in reality. You don't have to buy a new physical garment if you only need another catchy Instagram post.

What is the point of digital clothes? ›

Relative to traditional garment manufacturing, digital fashion is inexpensive and wildly sustainable. More importantly, it comes with zero creative constraints or production limitations. This is where the true beauty of digital fashion shines. The only limits are our imaginations.

Can you touch in the metaverse? ›

The biggest question many new users have when they enter the metaverse is “how do I touch things?” The answer is, you just have to will it. If you want to pick up an object or touch someone, you have to “try” to do it—and only if the other person consents to being touched will your avatar's hand actually move.

How do I enter metaverse? ›

Accessing the metaverse requires a combination of specialized hardware (phones, computers, headsets, 3D screens, gloves, etc.) and software (games, programs, etc.). What you need depends on exactly what you want to do. For instance, to play most popular VR games, you'll need a VR headset and controllers.

What are 3 games in the metaverse? ›

Top Games In the Metaverse:
  • Axie Infinity.
  • Decentraland.
  • Sandbox.
  • Illuvium.
  • Chain of Alliance.
  • My Neighbor Alice.
  • Krystopia.
  • Alien Worlds.
16 Nov 2022

Is digital fashion the future? ›

Digital fashion is the way of the future, they say. “We share a vision of the world where people will build digital closets that will be no less significant than the physical wardrobe,” Modenova says. Shapovalova agrees. “I believe that every brand in the world will have a digital fashion category,” she says.

What is a digital fashion brand? ›

Digital fashion is a relatively new industry that is snowballing. Digital fashion uses virtual avatars and digital models to sell (digital) clothing and accessories. This means customers can browse items online, try them in-store, and even buy them without leaving the house.

How smart clothes are made? ›

The Technology Behind Smart Textiles

One way to make a smart textile is by weaving electrically conductive yarn into a fabric to create a textile that can be used as a “Wearable Motherboard”. It can connect multiple sensors on the body, and is especially useful for health monitoring.

How will metaverse affect people? ›

The Metaverse has the potential to impact everyday life

While people will still need real human interaction, the Metaverse could create better ways to communicate with those who are far away. It could give users easier access to doctor visits, shopping, work, and styling.

What are the dangers of the metaverse? ›

10 Metaverse Risks To Watch Out For
  • Harassment And Cyberbullying. ...
  • Problems With Mental Health. ...
  • Theft Of Identity. ...
  • Companies Collecting Unauthorised Data. ...
  • Attacks Via Ransomware. ...
  • Perceptions Of The Real World Also Change. ...
  • Deepfake Videos. ...
  • Attacks Using Social Engineering.
16 Aug 2022

Is metaverse good for humanity? ›

While the metaverse is a great place to become a new version of yourself, it is easier to start with who you are already and build from there. Hyperreal technologies lower the barriers of entry for regular people that want to have everyday human experiences in virtual environments.

Who owns the metaverse? ›

No one owns the entire metaverse network. Metaverse is not a real physical thing that you can own. It is a virtual 3D world where everyone can participate. There are different metaverses created by different people or teams.

How will metaverse affect daily life? ›

We'll be able to create our own realities.

The metaverse will give us the power to design our own environments and experiences and share those experiences with others. This will have a massive impact on how we interact with others and experience the world—personally and socially.

What are the benefits of metaverse? ›

Metaverse has the potential to address all the existing challenges of remote work. It provides managers with a virtual environment where they can meet employees (their avatars), communicate with them, read their body language, and retain in-person interaction.

Who is the CEO of metaverse? ›

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg should focus on US midterms, not the Metaverse.

Who is the most famous person in the metaverse? ›

Lil Miquela. The most famous of all virtual influencers is Lil Miquela, who made her debut on Instagram in April 2016 and has millions of followers today. Miquela is presented as a 19-year-old girl, who would never age, maybe because she's digital.

Who creates metaverse? ›

Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992). The term metaverse was coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as programmable avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world.

How much are clothes in the metaverse? ›

Creating a fashion item in the Metaverse can vary in investment from $1 to $700 per item, while their MSRP can range anywhere from $10 to $8,400. According to Fashion Brain Academy, a first collection should include between 10 and 12 items, although some digital collections have presented collections of fewer looks.

What is shopping in the metaverse? ›

You may purchase items for your virtual avatar, dress it up, and add customizations to make it look more like you. Since there are currently companies that design digital clothing to be worn only by avatars in the Metaverse, the metaverse and metaverse shopping opens up new possibilities for digital fashion.

What are the 7 layers of metaverse? ›

The 7 layers of the Metaverse
  • Infrastructure,
  • Experience,
  • Discovery,
  • Creator Economy,
  • Spatial computing,
  • Decentralization,
  • Human interface.
18 Sept 2022

How do you make NFT clothes? ›

  1. Pick a style that you would like to create.
  2. Create a physical version of your NFT.
  3. Choose the blockchain for your NFT and set up your digital wallet.
  4. Create a digital version of your NFT.
  5. Introduce your new NFT to the world.
  6. Collaborate with other brands.
  7. Choose NFT marketplace.
  8. Establish the sale process.
6 Sept 2022

Can I make real money in the metaverse? ›

There are several ways to start earning money in the metaverse. These include flipping digital assets, hosting virtual events, participating in play-to-earn games, designing virtual spaces, and investing in metaverse tokens.

What products can you buy in the metaverse? ›

Here are some of the most popular purchases in metaverse shops and auctions:
  • Land and real estate.
  • Access to entertainment like amusement parks or games.
  • Tickets to virtual events like concerts or conferences.
  • NFT collectibles.
  • Virtual clothes, skins, and accessories for your avatar.
17 May 2022

Do you need glasses for the metaverse? ›

The forthcoming Metaverse will likely rely heavily on smart glasses.. Soon, workers and consumers will experience the internet as digital avatars, teleporting throughout endless 3D environments.

How much is an avatar in metaverse? ›

There are services that will build a custom avatar for you, and their prices range from a few hundred dollars up to $10,000. As the metaverse continues to grow, its uses will likely increase.

Can I create my metaverse? ›

Of course, as you might have guessed, creating a metaverse is an advanced task. However, it is a lot simpler than you might think. When you use the right Web3 tech stack, you can create your own metaverse with your JavaScript or Unity skills.

What are the 5 reasons we wear clothes? ›

Lesson will cover first impressions we make to others about the clothing we wear. It will also cover the 5 reasons why we wear clothing: protection, adornment, identification, modesty, and status.

How does digital clothing impact the environment? ›

According to DressX, the production of digital clothing emits 97% less CO2 than the production of physical clothing. Digital clothing on average saves 3,300 liters of water per item.

What do you wear for virtual work? ›

The Outfit Rules for Video Meetings
  • Steer clear of patterns, stripes, and plaids. ...
  • Avoid solid white next to the face. ...
  • Opt for solid, bold colors. ...
  • Keep jewelry quiet. ...
  • Simple jewelry or one statement piece (either necklace or earrings) can add some interest without distraction.
23 Mar 2022

What do you wear to a virtual class? ›

Clothing that is appropriate for the virtual classroom: polo shirts, button down shirts, blouses, t- shirts, sweatshirts, or sleeveless dresses or shirts with straps no less than 3” wide.

What do you wear to a virtual call? ›

Virtual meetings still call for professional attire; dressing in business meeting appropriate clothing is good virtual meeting etiquette. Do not be like the network news reporter who got caught on air wearing shorts under his suit top. Wear pants, even if you think nobody will see them.

What is the future of smart clothing? ›

New materials and devices could make clothes safer, comfier and more convenient. Smart materials are being developed for street-wear. Some types could better keep people warm in frigid conditions or cool while working out.

How does clothing affect your image? ›

Clothing that doesn't fit well or fails to flatter one's silhouette can lead to a poor body image, and that can do significant damage to one's self-esteem. Wearing clothing designed to complement your unique figure, will help you can experience improved body image and confidence.

Can you touch people in the metaverse? ›

The very first rule of the metaverse is that you can't touch another avatar without their consent.

What is a metaverse skin? ›

Here we explain what the metaverse skin consists of, one of the most interesting gadget we have seen. The metaverse is a space, which would combine elements of augmented reality and virtual reality to allow us to live in a “digital universe”. Photo: Pexels. LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño. Listen to this ...

Are there bathrooms in the metaverse? ›

If you've ever had to experience the lack of bathroom spaces available while you're navigating the metaverse; you will find the unique 'Meta Loo' a real positive. No longer will you miss out on valuable virtual time by constant bathroom breaks now that both you and your virtual selves can opt for the Meta Loo.

How much will metaverse glasses cost? ›

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday that his company's newest virtual reality headset, dubbed the Meta Quest Pro, will cost $1,500 and start shipping on Oct. 25. Zuckerberg debuted the device at Meta's Connect conference, geared toward VR and augmented reality developers.

How much do avatars cost in the metaverse? ›

For $1,500, you can enter a metaverse in which the avatars will soon have actual legs, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday (Oct. 11).

Is God in the metaverse? ›

VR Church is one of several evolving spiritual spaces in the metaverse that has seen a huge increase in size and popularity over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the best metaverse to get into? ›

Best Metaverse Crypto Coins to Buy in 2022
  • Dash 2 Trade - Overall Best New Cryptocurrency to Buy on Presale.
  • RobotEra - New Metaverse Token with Recently Launched Presale.
  • IMPT - New Cryptocurrency Offering Carbon Credit NFTs.
  • Calvaria - Best New Play-to-Earn Crypto to Buy in 2022.
5 days ago

Can you eat in the metaverse? ›

An avatar lives a virtual life in the Metaverse. This includes shopping, working, and eating.

Can you go to jail in metaverse? ›

As more and more people enter the Metaverse, internet sex crimes charges could easily be brought for harassment, child pornography, solicitation, and other serious, real-life crimes that will carry real consequences, including jail time.

Is the Metaverse real life? ›

In his book, Stephenson referred to the metaverse as an all-encompassing digital world that exists parallel to the real world. But in 2022, experts still aren't sure whether the metaverse IRL could evolve into something similar.


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