University of Fashion Blog

Category "Technology"

Unleashing the Future: The Second AI Fashion Week

A look from Kübra Karasu’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

In a dazzling display of innovation and elegance, the second edition of AI Fashion Week took place from November 30 to December 1, 2023, captivating the world with a mesmerizing fusion of technology and fashion. As fashionistas and tech aficionados excitedly tuned in, the virtual runway showcased a symphony of artificial intelligence and creative genius that left viewers in awe.

The event marked a pivotal moment in the fashion industry’s evolution, proving that the intersection of artificial intelligence and fashion design is not only a trend, but a transformational force shaping the future of style. From virtual front rows to holographic models, AI Fashion Week 2 pushed the boundaries of imagination and reinvented the traditional runway experience. With AI Fashion Week, the exclusive world of attending fashion events and shows becomes accessible to everyone around the world. Click the link if you haven’t already read our coverage of AI Fashion Week 1 in June 2023, where we covered the artificial intelligence computer programs and prompts that generate images from natural text: Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. 

A good start in learning how to create AI-generated images is to get a solid digital design foundation. Learn and/or brush up on your digital skills with UoF’s  CAD Fashion Art lessons in Photoshop, Illustrator, CLO 3D and 3D Browzwear software.

A look from Marloes Ratten’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

One of the highlights of the event was the collaboration between renowned fashion designers and cutting-edge AI algorithms. Designers partnered with AI systems to co-create unique pieces that seamlessly blended the human touch with the precision of machine learning. The result? A stunning collection that challenged preconceived notions of fashion, with garments that seemed to go beyond the limits of creativity.

AI-generated fabrics took center stage, showcasing the versatility and innovation that machine learning brings to the fashion palette. From color-changing textiles to materials that responded to environmental stimuli, the fabrics of the future were on full display. Designers embraced the challenge of incorporating these futuristic textiles into their collections, resulting in garments that not only looked stunning but also told a story of sustainability and technological progress.

A look from Annatarian’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

The virtual catwalk featured holographic models that brought a surreal and hypnotic quality to the showcase. These digital beings, crafted through advanced AI modeling, moved with grace and captivated the audience. Each model was a testament to the limitless possibilities when the worlds of fashion and artificial intelligence collide.

A look from Chie Kamijo’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

The fusion of fashion and technology extended beyond the runway, as AI-powered virtual stylists and fashion assistants took center stage. Attendees could interact with virtual assistants that provided personalized style recommendations based on individual preferences and body types. This immersive experience allowed fashion enthusiasts to explore and experiment with styles in a virtual space, revolutionizing the way we approach personal style.

A look from Catalina Arango’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

REVOLVE BRINGS AI GENERATED CLOTHES TO LIFE

The debut collection from Ope featured extravagant ruffling and body-conscious sequined pieces. (Photo Credit: Revolve)

Last season, fashion online retailer Revolve and Maison Meta, an AI-centric creative agency, teamed up for the first AI Fashion Week.  Revolve promised to create the collections from the top three collections submitted to a design competition that ran during the fashion week’s events into physical products — and sell them in their online boutique. All the looks were designed with generative artificial intelligence and manufactured by Revolve.

The first-place winner was an architect with no fashion background, José Sabral, who calls his new brand Paatiff. The second-place winner was Matilde Mariano, whose brand is called Molnm, also with no fashion design experience. The third-place winner goes by the name Opé Stylestar — which is also the name of their brand, Opé, and was the only winner with a fashion background, having previously worked at Betsey Johnson before becoming a stylist.

A look from José Sabral’s collection which bridges the world of architecture, fashion design, and technology. (Photo Credit: Revolve)

According to Cyril Foiret, founder and creative director of Maison Meta, the goal is to allow the winners to set up brands they can run independently if they choose.

Why would Revolve manufacture and sell garments created by AI Fashion Week? According to a press release, Michael Mente, the company’s co-founder and co-chief executive, said “Technology is a big competitive edge for Revolve. Through AI, we’re able to explore new emerging designers, brands, and trends that we are known for delivering in unique ways.”

Fashion is rushing to discover ways generative-AI tools could be useful. Thanks to technology’s ability to immediately create high-quality imagery, fashion is one of the applications where it could have a great impact. Designers Collina Strada and Heliot Emil are already testing the tools.

For the second AI Fashion Week, Revolve will again produce physical garments from the winning collections of the design competition, though there will be five winners chosen rather than just three, according to Maison Meta.

INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY

AI Fashion Week also addressed the industry’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Virtual models represented a spectrum of body types, ethnicities, and gender identities, challenging traditional norms and fostering a more inclusive vision of beauty. This commitment to diversity echoed throughout the designs, sending a powerful message that the future of fashion is one that embraces and celebrates individuality.

COULD AI FASHION WEEK BE THE FUTURE OF FASHION SHOWS

A look from Somm_bird’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

As the curtain closed on the second AI Fashion Week, the fashion world was left buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. The event showcased not only the technical prowess of artificial intelligence but also its ability to inspire, challenge, and redefine the very essence of fashion. The runway of the future is no longer confined to physical spaces; it is a dynamic and ever-evolving intersection of creativity and technology, where the possibilities are as limitless as the human imagination. AI Fashion Week has firmly established itself as a trailblazer, guiding the industry toward a future where innovation and style coexist in perfect harmony.

REMINDER

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So, tell us, do you think AI Fashion Week will replace IRL fashion shows?

Unveiling Fashion’s Futuristic Frontier: The First AI Fashion Show

The first AI Fashion Week 2023 (Photo Credit: Trendland)

In the ever-evolving realm of fashion, where creativity knows no bounds, a groundbreaking event has captured the world’s attention – New York City’s first-ever AI Fashion Week (AIFW). Though it was billed as a ‘fashion week’ the event was held on April 20 and 21, 2023 at Soho’s Spring Place, the iconic location of past IRL New York Fashion Week shows. The concept for the AI show was spearheaded by visionary minds at Maison Meta, the world’s first AI generative agency founded in New York City in 2022 by Cyril Foiret, in partnership with next-generation online retailer Revolve Group.

The first-of-its-kind event (which doubled as a competition), attracted over 12,000 registrations from global participants. Submissions from 133 digital artists and designers were selected and evaluated by an expert jury that included REVOLVE founder and co-CEO Michael Mente, Head of Fashion Innovation Agency Matthew Drinkwater, renowned makeup artist Dame Pat McGrath and Vogue Japan Head of Content, Tiffany Godoy.

Maison Meta unveiled the top 10 AIFW finalists, who were judged by another panel of industry experts that included Dame Pat McGrath, Vogue Japan’s head of editorial content, Tiffany Godoy, Céline casting director, Natalie Hazzout, and Erika Wykes-Sneyd of the Adidas Studio Web3. Maison Meta invited the public to take part by voting for the collections they liked the best on its website. Three of the winners will have their AI-generated designs produced and sold by REVOLVE for the real world.

At its simplest form, artificial intelligence is a field which combines computer science and robust datasets to enable problem-solving.

With strict guidelines in place, designers were not allowed to use prompts that relied on the work of exisiting designers’ work. Rather, they were encouraged to use heavily researched prompts in order to create wholly unique ideas. The results shattered preconceived notions by positioning artificial intelligence as a co-designer rather than a replacement for human ingenuity. Designers collaborated closely with the algorithms, guiding them to refine their output and infuse their distinctive artistic visions. This dynamic partnership between human creativity and machine learning algorithms birthed designs that were greater than the sum of their parts, displaying a harmonious synergy between man and machine.

Fashion Industry Early AI Adopters

Valentino was one of the first fashion houses to launch an AI-generated campaign, which blended AI-generated props & models and actual product photography with Photoshop. Fashion enthusiasts have also created their own idealistic brand mashups and campaign treatments with AI, such as the viral AI-generated Nike x Tiffany collaboration imagined by digital artist Rickdick using Midjourney.

The Future of AI for the Fashion Industry

This extraordinary union of technology and style is already refining the very essence of fashion, pushing the boundaries of human imagination and welcoming artificial intelligence into the design realm. Imagine a world where algorithms become brushes and pixels transform into fabrics, where data-driven creativity takes center stage.

The first AI Fashion Show served as a portal into this future, showcasing an ensemble of AI-generated designs that fused artistry and innovation in ways never seen before. This avant-garde spectacle transported attendees to a realm where fashion met artificial intelligence, and the possibilities seemed endless.

AI algorithms, fueled by vast amounts of fashion data and trained to detect patterns and predict trends, will be able to conjure designs that transcend the boundaries of human imagination.

Join UoF in celebrating the 10 AI Fashion Show winners who have, to quote the famous Star Trek line, “To boldly go where no man/one has gone before.” Click on each designer’s link to see their bio, the software used to create their designs and their entire AI collection.

I Fashion week top 10

Alves Knop – Brazil, Annatarian by Anna Leighton – LA, Anya Klyueva – Moscow and Aria Phenix – Braz

 

I Fashion week top 10

Chu/Rayshaun Smith – Houston, Gaby Roses – Uruguay, Gianluca Traina – Italy,  Matilda Mariano – Portugal

I Fashion week top 10

Ope/Style Star – USA and Paatiff/Jose Sobral – Portugal (Image credits: AIFashionweek.com)

As fashion continues its inexorable evolution, the first AI Fashion Show serves as a poignant reminder that the journey into the uncharted territories of fashion’s future has only just begun. If you’re interested in creating AI fashion we recommend checking out these artificial intelligence computer programs and prompts to generate images from natural text: Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. 

Brush up on your digital skills with UoF CAD Fashion Art lessons in Photoshop, Illustrator and 3D Browzwear software.

So tell us, are you ready to create fashion for the world of A.I.?

 

 

 

ARE YOU READY FOR DECENTRALAND’S METAVERSE FASHION WEEK 2023?

Decentraland Fashion Week 2023. (Photo Credit: Blockchain Witcher)

Fashion Month 2023 (IRL) may have ended but wait…there’s more! This time in the virtual world, as the concept of living in a virtual world is rapidly expanding. The fact that in 2021 the global virtual reality gaming market was valued at USD 7.5 billion and is projected to reach a value of USD 37 billion by 2028, it’s no shock to learn that the fashion industry wants in!

Virtual fashion has become increasingly popular, with designers exploring new concepts and pushing the boundaries of traditional fashion. After a high-profile debut in 2022, Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 will soon light up virtual stores and runways again, with a second installment set for March 28 to 31. Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) events are becoming some of the most highly anticipated events in the virtual reality world and a place where designers can showcase the latest trends and designs in both virtual and physical fashion.

What You Need To Know About Metaverse Fashion Week

First of all, here’s you ticket (March 28-31) to MVFW23  https://mvfw.org/

In 2022, Decentraland, a ‘decentralized’ virtual world platform, pioneered Metaverse Fashion Week to much acclaim. This year, Decentraland partnered with virtual-world platforms Spatial and Over, the latter a Metaverse specializing in augmented reality, for a greater cross-platform experience or, as they call it in virtual speak,” interoperability”.

For 2023, Decentraland is offering a cross-platform wearable design competition and the winners will be featured in a hybrid AR/IRL catwalk at a four-day event in Milan. Other Metaverses are interested in tying into MVFW with simultaneous agendas or satellite events.

MVFW23 promises that the global community will get to experience the latest advancements in metaversal interoperability and digital fashion and explore a place where users can buy, sell, and build on virtual land. Users can create their own virtual reality experiences, from games to social experiences, all powered by blockchain technology, which allows for secure transactions and ownership of virtual assets. MVFW is quickly becoming one of the most popular virtual reality global events. With a growing community of users, developers, fashion designers, influencers and fashion enthusiasts, it’s a great showcase for catching the latest creations and where the public can check out the latest trends in virtual fashion that push the boundaries of traditional fashion. It is also an opportunity to connect with others in the virtual reality community.

How to get to MVFW23 

Mark your calendar March 28-31 and here’s your “ticket” to MVFW23 https://mvfw.org/

Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week23 will feature over 60+ participating brands, artists, and designers from around the world and promises unique and immersive experiences that not only showcase the latest trends and designs in virtual fashion, but a place where attendees can expect a wide range of activities, including fashion shows, pop-up shops, networking opportunities and much, much more. #MVFW23

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 (MVFW) to highlight advances in digital fashion & interoperability. (Photo Credit: FashionUnited)

In an interview with WWD, Giovanna Casimiro, the Metaverse producer for Decentraland in charge of its fashion week, “One of the core values from the first edition was trying to unite designers and expand the aesthetics and the possibilities for brands. So after the first edition, we decided to go across metaverses,” she explained. “When we talk about extending the interoperability, it’s really starting to collaborate with other universes and metaverses to create an agenda [that’s] cross-platform.”

Interoperability also extends to NFTs, which is a major change for wearables compared to last year’s event. During Metaverse Fashion Week 2022, brands couldn’t link their external NFTs to their virtual clothes inside Decentraland, but its developers worked on this feature and in September, Dolce & Gabbana — a previous and returning MVFW brand — notably highlighted it by linking its Disco Drip NFTs to Decentraland wearables, allowing owners to wear them to their next virtual party.

Dolce & Gabbana goes all out disco in Decentraland. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

How Virtual Clothes Become IRL Options 

According to WWD, linking virtual fashion NFTs to physical product could simplify how brands offer avatar-ready digital twins of their real-world fashion. Some of those efforts may be destined for Boson Protocol, a marketplace for so-called “phygital” goods, which is another previous and returning MVFW participant this year.

“There is one particular case of Rubin Singer,” said Casamiro in her WWD interview, referring to the couture designer and his “Phygicode Dress” project. “He’s creating a digital piece in collaboration with Asian designers this year. So he’s creating a digital twin of a physical garment for [this event] especially, but I think different brands will be trying to bring that angle this year.”

Another connection can be made during Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023. The Vueltta artists collective plans to honor the late designer Vivienne Westwood with a tribute to the “punk queen of fashion”. Part memorial, part gaming experience, the installation was created with the goal of encouraging people to learn more about the designer’s life and work, according to Bay Backner, Vueltta’s cofounder.

One of Vueltta’s illustrations for Vivienne Westwood that will be featured in its tribute installation. (Photo Credit: imagenone)

“We structured this installation around a concept called ‘Dear Vivienne,’ which is a letter from us as artists to her, thanking her for her iconic style and activism,” Backner told WWD. There are different aspects, but they all work together.

Decentraland will also open a brand-new ‘fashion plaza’ during MVFW23 and it will be dedicated to emerging designers. The goal is to highlight and encourage collaborations between established brands and new talent, tying it directly to the MVFW23 theme, “Future Heritage”.

According to Casamiro, “it’s a way to bring a more critical discussion on the future of fashion” and to connect the dots between innovation, legacy and tradition. The Plaza’s featured brands point to this too, with emerging names like Gaian and Alo at one end, and Coach on the other, marking the luxury handbag company’s first direct showing at MVFW.

Coach’s first outing at MVFW will feature its signature Tabby bag. (Photo Credit: Photonone)

Here’s what else you can expect at Decentraland’s MVFW23:

CUTTING -EDGE VIRTUAL FASHON

One of the most exciting aspects of Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 is the cutting-edge fashion that will be showcased, since virtual fashion has many advantages over phygital fashion. Virtual fashion designers can create designs that are impossible in the physical world (for example: the need for zippers, closures and fit & wearability issues), allowing them to explore new concepts and to push the boundaries of traditional fashion. And, of course, virtual fashion is sustainable vs. traditional fashion, as it doesn’t require the use of physical materials.

Virtual fashion also offers a new level of customization and personalization. Virtual avatars can be customized to reflect the unique style and preferences of each individual user. Virtual fashion designers can create designs that are tailored to specific avatars, allowing users to express their individuality and to stand out in the virtual world.

INTERACTIVE FASHION SHOWS

Fashion shows are a staple of the fashion industry and Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week is no exception. The fashion shows at the event will be fully immersive and interactive, allowing attendees to experience the designs in a way that is not possible in the physical world.

Virtual fashion shows offer many advantages over traditional fashion shows. Virtual fashion shows can be more immersive and interactive, allowing attendees to explore the designs in a way that is not possible in the physical world. Virtual fashion shows can also be more accessible, as they do not require attendees to travel to a physical location.

The fashion shows at Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 promise to be a unique and enveloping experience, showcasing the latest trends and designs in virtual fashion. Attendees can expect to see virtual models showcasing the latest designs, and they can interact with the designs in various ways, such as changing the colors or textures of the clothes.

In addition to the traditional runway shows, there may also be virtual reality experiences that attendees can participate in, for example, attendees may be able to virtually explore a fashion exhibit or watch a 360-degree video showcasing the latest designs.

CELEBRITY GUESTS

Just like any major fashion event, Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 is likely to attract a wide range of celebrity guests. From fashion designers to models and influencers, the event promises to be a star-studded affair.

Influencers, celebrities, and designers can use virtual events like Metaverse Fashion Week to showcase their brands and reach a wider audience. The event offers an opportunity for these individuals to connect with their fans and showcase their latest virtual fashion designs.

VIRTUAL POP-UP SHOPS

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 will also feature virtual pop-up shops where attendees can purchase the latest virtual fashion items and accessories for their avatars. The pop-up shops will allow attendees to experience the latest virtual fashion designs up close and personal.

Virtual pop-up shops are not just a novelty; they are a real industry that is gaining traction in the fashion world. Virtual fashion items like clothing, accessories, and footwear can be bought and sold in the virtual world just like in the physical world.

Virtual pop-up shops offer a unique shopping experience that cannot be replicated in the physical world. Attendees can explore the virtual shops, browse the latest virtual fashion items, and purchase items for their virtual avatars. Some brands will be linking the designs to physical brand options and vice versa.

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 offers an excellent opportunity for designers, influencers, and fashion industry professionals to network and connect with each other. Virtual events like this offer a unique opportunity to connect with people from all over the world in a virtual setting. If you are an existing or aspiring virtual fashion designer, then this is your chance to get connected.

Networking is essential for anyone looking to make a name for themselves in the fashion industry. The event offers an opportunity to connect with other designers, influencers, and industry professionals, which can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and new business opportunities.

A GLOBAL AUDIENCE

MVFW23 will be accessible to anyone with an internet connection, making it a truly global event that can be enjoyed by fashion enthusiasts from all over the world.

A look at the arena at Decentraland, one of several venues lined up for MVFW. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Overall, Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023 promises to be an exciting event with plenty of brands returning in the luxury district, perhaps even scouting out talent in the fashion plaza or setting up shop in one of the countless other zones — from DressX and The Fabricant, to DKNY, Perry Ellis and Tommy Hilfiger, to Dolce & Gabbana and Dundas, and more. MVFW23 continues to attract new participants such as Coach and Adidas. Although MVFW enjoyed lots of hype and buzz last year, Decentraland is hoping that the 2023 event will top last year’s numbers of 108,000 unique attendees.

The experiences between zones, groups, organizations and companies will vary, as some tiptoe into the Metaverse, while others dive in, but one thing is for sure, this interactive experience may be the tip of the iceberg and the future of the fashion industry.

So, tell us, will you be participating in Metaverse Fashion Week 2023?

 

 

 

GOT THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT? LOOKING FOR THAT LAST MINUTE GIFT?

Five days until Christmas, the clock is ticking and suddenly you remember that you forgot someone on your Christmas gift list. OMG!

It’s too late now to order from Amazon, so what are you going to do? Solution…give a unique gift certificate to the world’s largest fashion education video library!

Our once-yearly sale expires 1/1/23 and so there’s still time to get in on our discount.

Get a yearly subscription for $40 off (was $189/now$149) or $5 off the first month of a monthly subscription (was $19.95/now$14.95). Click here to made it happen: https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/

If you are already a University of Fashion monthly subscriber or free member, just log in as usual and look on your left for one or more “Upgrade” offers equivalent to the above! Remember, all subscriptions gives unlimited access to every lesson on our entire website, that’s 500+ lessons!

 

WHY UNIVERSITY OF FASHION?

University of Fashion Home Page

University of Fashion has over 500 fashion education video tutorials, taught by fashion profs and industry pros, that both educate and entertain. We have 13 different disciplines to learn from: draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion art, CAD fashion art, CAD pattern making, menswear, knits, childrenswear, accessories, product development, and a fashion business section that encompasses retailing, merchandising, visual merchandising, branding & licensing,  as well as a lecture series that encompasses textiles, color theory, trend forecasting and lots more. Whether you’re interested in a fashion career, or perfecting your existing skills, or just ‘fashion curious’ – a gift certificate to UoF is THE most unique gift you can give.

Need some convincing? Read some of our testimonials:

“The University of Fashion Online is the most valuable tool that I found in relation to Fashion. It is a complement to my education. It is well structured and very complete. I am grateful to Francesa Sterlacci for having created it. I am also grateful to her Team for their contributions and great effort to put it all together. I love it! it is fascinating. I highly recommend it.” Espie Egger – UoF Subscriber – Switzerland

I was lagging behind in class and didn’t remember all the lessons my professor taught, so I went to the demos on University of Fashion for help. Thanks to the great demos I received a really good grade on the project! ” Chanica Pitaksakorn – Fashion Institute of Technology, Student

Everyone in the fashion industry, whether a student, a hobby aficionado or a professional should have a great resource for reference and support. University of Fashion provides the “how to” at every level for the first timers or just a refresher for the experts. A must have asset.”  Saul Kapilivsky Miami International University of Art & Design, Professor

“I have been teaching middle and high school for over 30 years and today I stand in awe of this amazing fashion tool. The University of Fashion video series is simply too good to be true. Every video is factual and correct. As I watch each video, I say; this is exactly how I teach this. The plus for me is that I do not need to do a demo over and over again before students get it. They can just watch these videos and also broaden their skills even beyond my knowledge. I am so grateful to be introduced to the University of Fashion.”  Callie Melton – Fashion Design Services Instructor/A.P.P.S Chair/FCCLA Advisor/Fort Lauderdale High School

 

DID YOU KNOW THAT WE ALSO HAVE COMPANION BOOKS AVAILABLE?

University of Fashion Book Series: Techniques for Beginners: Draping, Pattern Making & Sewing (Available everywhere)

Our book series was designed to complement our beginner draping, pattern making and sewing video lessons. Each book contains additional information to help with the learning process and they are another a great gift idea! Read some of our Amazon ratings:

DRAPING BOOK TESTIMONIALS 

 

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draping book testimonialDRAPING BOOK TESTIMONIAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PATTERN MAKING BOOK TESTIMONIALS 

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SEWING BOOK TESTIMONIALS 

 

 

And for that fashion history buff on your Christmas list, why not get them our founder’s book, Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry?

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry book

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry Second Edition

OTHER UOF PERKS

In addition to our 500+ video lesson library you will also be able to access our Resources library consisting of a fashion terminology A-Z, design tools, a marketplace, fashion books, magazines & blog info and a list of fashion schools and fashion museums. You will also gain access to our free croquis templates:

So treat yourself to a UoF subscription or give it as a gift OR why not do both?

WILL THE METAVERSE & PHYGITAL BECOME THE CENTER OF YOUR FASHION UNIVERSE?

- - Technology

British Fashion Council launched a Metaverse Fashion Award red carpet on Roblox. (Photo Credit: Hypebae)

Fashion week in any major city if often described as a sensory explosion, with vibrations of bass-heavy music as models sashay down the runway in an elaborate display of a designer’s latest collection. While established labels often dominate the various Fashion Weeks, this year was a bit different. The new kids in town not only showcased their work as physical designs, but also digitally, or better known as “phygitally” (physical and digital)

So much buzz is generated around New York Fashion Week for traditional designers, but are you familiar with the Nolcha Shows? These shows, also held during NYFW, are where independent fashion designers showcase their collections to a global audience of press, retailers, stylists and industry influencers. Over the past eleven years the Nolcha Shows have become an established platform of discovery; promoting cutting edge innovative fashion designers through runway shows and exhibitions. The real Future of Fashion?

This past September, during NYFW Nolcha Shows, blockchain gaming ecosystem Chain Guardians took up space next to traditional designers, presenting their phygital take on classic designs. Their collection included a colorful, anime-style bodysuit, which included an NFC chip that, when scanned, was linked to a non-fungible token (NFT) that is wearable in the Chain Guardians metaverse. With a virtual reality (VR) headset, a user can physically try on garments, as well as interact with the brand’s virtual storefront.

Megan Kaspar is the managing director of Web3 venture capital firm Firstlight, and founding member of digital fashion house Red DAO. By the way, in tech lingo, a DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) – a system developed to distribute decision-making, management, and entity ownership dictated by code on a blockchain. Kaspar has been a pioneer in blockchain-based digital wearables Web3 styling. In October 2021, she “wore” three pieces from DRESSX – a multi-brand retailer of digital-only clothing, NFT fashion items and augmented reality (AR) looks – on a Yahoo! Finance news segment using AR filters. In January, she had nine digital Fendi pieces tailored and transposed onto a photo of herself for the cover of Haute Living.

Megan Kaspar’s Haute Living Magazine cover. (Photo Credit: Haute Living)

“As we move to a reality where device disruption keeps occurring in the near term…that will come with the use of more digital fashion,” Kaspar told CoinDesk.

Kaspar describes digital fashion as having four major use cases at present in her interview with CoinDesk.

One of Dolce & Gabbana’s debut NFTs. (Photo Credit: Wired)

For starters, there are digital-only garments sold as NFTs, which are intended to be worn in the metaverse. This form of digital fashion was embraced by Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Forever 21 and dozens more designers who released full collections on the metaverse platform Decentraland during the launch of Metaverse Fashion Week in March 2022.

The second is AR photo filters, which Kaspar used in her appearance on Yahoo! Finance. These filters are often used to create overlays on social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, and can easily be integrated into live videos or photos.

The next example is digital tailoring, meaning that after a real-life photo is taken, digital garments can be placed onto a user’s photo, which is how Kaspar rocked Fendi on her Haute Living magazine cover.

NFT Nike Sneaker. (Photo Credit: Nike)

Last but not least, Kaspar mentions that people can also view digital fashion as investable assets – such as buying NFT garments as speculative assets, such as a pair of NFT sneakers to resell for a profit. Alternatively, consumers who purchase a rare digital designer handbag can prove their ownership over the asset on the blockchain.

Mason Rothschild’s 100 MetaBirkins NFTs honoring Hermes. (Photo Credit: Medium)

Kaspar states that while many people view digital fashion as speculative investments for now, she believes that a “pretty viable solution” for mass adoption of these technologies will be created within the next five years.

Many emerging brands are looking to digital fashion and technology to help solve many of the problems plaguing the fashion industry, such as sustainability.

One of the biggest issues the fashion industry faces is the production of fast fashion, which has practically doubled within the last twenty years. Present fashion consumption trends result in enormous amounts of textile waste, most of which is sent to landfills, burned, or sent to developing countries. Additionally, it was estimated in 2019, that textile production creates over 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gasses per year, larger than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Of course, there are still concerns about evolving technologies like NFTs and their environmental impact due to energy consumption, but some emerging designers have found ways to use NFTs to tackle issues of overproduction and overconsumption of apparel. Notably, the Merge, Ethereum’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms has reduced the network’s energy use by over 99% to help make most NFT transactions more efficient.

KRWN Studio NFT. (Photo Credit: KRWN Studio)

KRWN Studio, a small fashion brand that sells virtual streetwear as NFTs, aims to make fashion greener by manufacturing garments on the blockchain.

Digitally native brands that adopt a phygital model take on some of the environmental responsibility related to manufacturing, including the physical production of garments alongside minting digital replicas as NFTs. Although, many recognize that they can scale operations and mindfully release products in small batches to avoid mass production.

Digital wearables present users with tools for self-expression and are often used to adorn an avatar or another form of a digital identity. Metaverse Fashion Week, for example, was fueled by a desire for self-expression and individuality online.

Digital fashion also makes the fashion industry more accessible for both producers and consumers. NFTs make it easier for a designer to get their pieces out to the public and provide a wider range of prices for consumers.

Web3 wearables marketplace The Dematerialised (DMAT) prides itself on using blockchain technology to fix the mistakes of other retail giants. Co-founder Karinna Nobbs told CoinDesk that DMAT prioritizes accessibility and hopes to set a standard for future digital fashion houses.

“Whether crypto native or non-crypto native, people should be able to access digital fashion and NFTs. For us to have a luxury and an aspirational aesthetic, but to be able to have accessibility at different economic points, is really important,” Nobbs told CoinDesk.

For designers and creators in digital spaces, the limitations of what fashion is and who is invited into the exclusive world continue to grow. The digital fashion landscape is now infinite and spans various platforms and mediums. Digital images are finally moving  away from blocky 8-bit creations (an 8-bit image is a method of storing image information in a computer’s memory or in an image file, so that each pixel is represented by 8 bits (1 byte) to more life-like images.

Fortnite X Polo Ralph Lauren. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

Even video games have collaborated with fashion designers. Fortnite has had ‘digital skins’ from Balenciaga, and Ralph Lauren. Nintendo Switch also got into the fashion world with their game Animal Crossings with designers like Marc Jacobs and Valentino creating looks for avatars.

Tommy Hilfiger’s virtual collection with Roblox. (Photo Credit: The Fashion Starter)

If you still think that digital fashion is a thing of the future, well, we’re here to tell you the future is NOW.  According to Business of Fashion, Roblox says it has over 11.5 million users designing over 63 million virtual clothing and accessories for its virtual worlds, and millions more are willing to pay for these items to dress their avatars, according to a new study released by Roblox and Parsons School of Design. Most of these items were created by users rather than established brands, so we are pretty sure we can soon expect to see designer Roblox-specific items. Business of Fashion also reported that Alice Delahunt left her role as Ralph Lauren’s chief digital and content officer to strike out on her own and to start a new web3 company in the belief that digital fashion is reaching a turning point.

All this is our way of telling you to subscribe to UoF and start learning all about 3D design software. Check out our 3 new lessons in Browzwear:

image of 3D design software lesson

UoF lesson: Intro to 3D Design

 

Iris Hopkins - first lesson in 3D for

UoF lesson in 3D stitching

Iris Hopkins - second lesson in 3D for UoF

UoF 3D lesson in creating a pant

So, tell us, are you as excited as we are about 3D designing in the metaverse?

INTRODUCING OUR NEW 3D DESIGN INSTRUCTORS

From our first lesson – Browzwear: Introduction to 3D Design & VStitcher

If you have been reading the University of Fashion blog for the past 4 years, then you know how bullish we are about 3D design technology as yet another tool in the arsenal of fashion designers and retailers. If you haven’t then you may want to read our past posts: Augmented Reality (AR) for Fashion Retailing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Fashion, and The 3D Revolution Parts 1, 2 and 3  from 2019.

As fashion companies are now expanding their workspaces to include true-to-life 3D in the areas of design, product development, sales & marketing, we are thrilled to announce the addition of 3D design as a new learning category to our existing 500+ video lesson library.

Those already working in the world of 3D digital fashion design all agree, that without a solid hands-on foundation in the other 3Ds – draping, digital drawing, drafting, plus sewing, you are just an imposter. According to Amy Sperber, a 3D-user and Assistant Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology:

Foundational knowledge of grain, fabric behavior and construction variations are essential at being a competent 3D fashion design software user. The challenge for fashion designers with little digital background is that the interfaces may be intimidating at first. Those with a working knowledge of Illustrator will find familiar tool experiences in the 2D pattern making portions of 3D software. The next generation of fashion designers will need to be technically creative and digitally fluid.”

For our 3D design series, we recruited two top instructors, Brittany Gray and Iris Hopkins, who are both currently working in the industry using Browzwear 3D software. We will also be adding lessons in CLO 3D in the future so stay tuned. Meanwhile, we thought that you would be interested in hearing from Brittany and Iris about their journey into 3D design and get a sneak peek at their first lessons for us. They are both working on a series of lessons that we will be rolling out this year.

 

MEET BRITTANY GRAY

Brittany Gray instructor

Brittany Gray – 3D design instructor at UoF (photo credit: Brittany Gray)

I was first introduced to 3D/virtual prototyping in my junior year of college. I went to the University of North Carolina Greensboro, who was partnered with VF corporation. VF heavily used 3D so we adapted it into our curriculum. At the time, I only knew the basics, but was on the hunt for an internship that was required for me to graduate. Walmart corporation reached out to my university, eager to hear that students were learning 3D and were looking for a student to intern as a 3D Technical Designer. Though I was reluctant to apply due to my very basic knowledge at the time, with the support of my instructor Anne Woods, I applied. I promised them that if they accepted me for the internship, by the time I needed to relocate to Bentonville Arkansas, I would have mastered the program. Two weeks went by and I received the offer as the very first 3D Technical Design Intern for Walmart Corporate. I worked in the software everyday leading up to my internship. Once I arrived in Arkansas, I fell in love with the flexibility of the 3D workflow, so much so that I decided to stay in 3D and later relocated to New York to be a 3D designer at The Moret Group to jumpstart their 3D journey. Now I am currently working at Under Armour and love the ability to assist my teammates in their 3D journey’s as well.”

To learn more about Brittany, click these links:

https://browzwear.com/indie-designer-spotlight-brittney-gray/

https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/brittney-grey/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/brittneygray3d

Brittany Gray’s first lesson for UoF

MEET IRIS HOPKINS

Iris Hopkins – 3D instructor at UoF

Iris Hopkins – 3D instructor at UoF (Photo credit: Iris Hopkins)

I have always had an interest in bridging the gap between the traditional way of pattern making and innovation and 3D seems so fitting in my efforts. As a professional in this business, our goals are to get quality product to market faster with a focus on waste management through less sampling, eco-friendly materials, and upcycling. I want to be a part of a new generation of pattern makers who understands these points while remaining true to the craft through technology and innovation. In 3D, I have the ability to utilize all of this knowledge and skillsets in one place. My keen interest in 3D has led me down a path of exploration for about a year, teaching myself Browzwear VStitcher, followed by an enrollment in a five-week extensive learning program. Through my experience, I have found that the worlds of traditional pattern making and innovation do meet and connect in 3D and it is a great skill to have.

 For more about Iris and her 10+ years in the fashion industry click this link: https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/iris-hopkins/ and check out her work on IG @imhswim

Iris Hopkins – first lesson in 3D for UoF

Iris Hopkins – second lesson in 3D for UoF

Our new lessons require access to Browzwear VStitcher software. Software Licenses, BW support and access to the BW community of experts are available through this link: https://go.browzwear.com/indies-applicationIn the “I was referred by” field, type University of Fashion.

So, tell us, how interested are you in learning 3D design?

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS PART 3: FUR – WOOL – DOWN ALTERNATIVES

 

Stella McCartney champions ethical fashion with fur-free collection. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)

Design is not just about product. Design is about responsibility.”

If you haven’t already seen this quote by Dr. Carmen Hijosa of Piñatex, you will, it is ubiquitous on the web. Every eco-friendly brand uses it as its mantra. And, every fashion student in every school on the planet is making sure that they incorporate it into every single one of their classes. After all, if the design process starts at desk of the designer, well then, it’s up to us to be on top of alternative textile and material choices when designing a collection.

In 2021, Google launched a fashion supply chain platform called called Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE) in partnership with Stella McCartney, The Textile Exchange and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to help fashion brands understand the environmental risk of their raw material sourcing. The tool, which is built on Google Earth Engine and uses Google Cloud computing, assesses the environmental risk of different fibers across regions in terms of environmental factors such as air pollution, biodiversity, climate and greenhouse gases, forestry and water use. In 2022, Google and WWF transitioned GFIE to Textile Exchange, a global non-profit focused on positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry. Their Friend Level Membership is reserved for small to medium-sized enterprises that generate under $5million in annual revenue, as well as universities, non-profits and NGOs.

Last week we educated our viewers on earth-friendly leather and silk alternatives, that are being created using a variety of materials made from pineapples to coffee grounds, sea shells, cactus, bamboo, mushrooms and spiders, just to name a few. This week we’d like to focus on fur and wool alternatives.

Cruelty-free Fur Alternatives

Last Chance for Animals – Global Ban on Fur (Image credit: lcanimals.com) 

The wearing of fur, just like leather and silk, has long been associated with luxury and wealth. However, beginning in the 1980s and after decades of massive pressure from PETA & activists, many designers and retailers announced that they would stop selling fur due to the cruel methods used in killing the animals. In 2019, California became the first state to make it illegal to sell, donate or manufacture new fur products and in 2021, Israel became the first country to ban the sale of fur clothing, although their are several carve-outs, including one for educational reasons and another that permits residents to buy skins and pelts for religious purposes.

Enter…Tencel® and Koba® faux fur

Faux fur was first introduced in 1929 but didn’t become popular until the 1950s. Due to fur’s growing unpopularity since the 1980s and the fact that many countries are now banning fur farms, the use of faux fur increased. Two reports issued by eco experts at Ce Delft, an independent research and consultancy company, found that five faux fur coats have significantly less impact on climate change than that of one mink fur coat.

Since most faux fur is manufactured with non-renewable petroleum-based products and synthetic fabrics it can be toxic to the environment unless it is recycled properly. Today, technologies and innovations offer new ways to design amazing and ethical alternatives to fur and fake fur as well. Popular kinds of faux fur include faux rabbit, faux fox, shearling, sheepskin, and sherpa and luxury faux fur fabrics include chinchilla, sable, beaver, ermine, marten, lynx, and leopard.

KOBA®  the first vegan faux fur (Image credit: Ecopel.com)

Ecopel, a leader in the development of high end faux fur, supplies more than 300 top fashion brands that have stopped using real fur. In partnership with Dupont, they launched KOBA® faux fur, integrating DuPont™ Sorona® fibers, creating the first faux fur made with vegetal ingredients.

UGG’s new faux fur shoe brand using Tencel®  fiber (Image credit: Tencel.com)  

Lenzing, a leader in the field of botanic cellulose fibers and famous for its flagship brand Tencel®, is providing solutions to faux fur production. Their fibers are derived from certified renewable wood sources using an eco-responsible production process that generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to generic viscose. In 2021, the company partnered with UGG and debuted Plant Power, a collection of shoes made with carbon-neutral, plant-based materials.

Wool Alternatives

Spinnova partners with the outdoor brand The North Face. (Photo Credit: The North Face)

As we have previously reported, controversies surrounding leather and fur are well-known, however there is a common misconception that wool is a ‘gentle’ fabric that simply implies a ‘haircut’ for sheep. Wrong. According to Plant Based News, “One little-known fact about wool production is its environmental impact: sheep, just like cows, emit large quantities of methane gas, which has several times the global warming potential of CO2. The 2017 Pulse of Fashion Industry Report put wool in the fourth place on its list of the fashion materials that had the highest cradle-to-gate environmental impact per kg of material.” And that doesn’t even touch on the undercover reports of the systemic cruelty involved and the abuse the animals suffer.

Enter…hemp, organic cotton, Tencel®, Spinnova®,  soybean fiber, linen, bamboo, woocoa and nullarbor

Wool had its peak in the 1990s and then continued to be replaced by synthetics and cotton blends. Today’s eco-conscious consumers are shunning animal-derived or petroleum-based fabrics and are searching for alternatives. Luckily, there are options. From cotton to wood to coconuts and soybeans, technology is helping drive the movement. As we have already discussed, Tencel is a great replacement and we covered the benefits of organic hemp, cotton, linen and bamboo in a previous blog. 

But did you know about Woocoa? This is a material created by a group of university students in Colombia made from a coconut and hemp fiber ‘wool’, treated with enzymes from the oyster mushroom. Keep you eye on this space. Another bio-tech creation is Nullarbor, developed by Australian material innovation company Nanolloose. This fabric is created by using bacteria to ferment liquid coconut waste from the food industry into cellulose. Spinnova

Spinnova® is a fiber made by Spinnova, a Finnish sustainable materials company. They are the only company in the world able to create textile fiber out of cellulose without involving any harmful chemicals, minimal water use and emissions, and zero waste.  The company has worked with a number of recognized brands, such as Bestseller, The North Face and Marimekko, in fact, Adidas is one of their investors.

A Pangaia fitted short puffer. (Photo Credit: Pangaia)

Down Alternatives

A little known fact about the use of down feathers in the production of down jackets, handbags, pillows and comforters is the level of cruelty involved in the extraction of the feathers. According to Gentle World, “while most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat may be plucked repeatedly while they are still alive. This process is repeated every 6-7 weeks before the bird’s eventual slaughter (or death from the trauma of the plucking process itself). For birds that have been killed for their flesh and/or internal organs (foie gras) the process usually involves scalding the birds’ bodies in hot water for one to three minutes so the feathers are easier to pull out. The body feathers can then be plucked (often by hand), after which the down is removed by hand or machine.”

Where using polyester microfiber was once considered a cruelty-free alternative to down comforters and clothing they use a mass-produced petroleum-based polyester, a nonrenewable resource. They are also known to contain chlorinated phenols, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carcinogenic dyes, allergens and irritants. The production of these materials require a lot of energy, are impossible to break down and eventually end up in landfills.

Enter…next-gen down

Rather than using a polyester microfiber, try a next-gen down, which uses plants, recycled PET, or other sustainable materials to create the pillowy feeling many brands and customers crave. While many, like H&M and Jack Wolfskin, have incorporated next-gen down into some of their products, Pangaia, a materials science company and Save the Duck are two companies that have set up a ‘business-to-business’ line selling their eco-friendly down alternatives to other brands.

Pangaia’s FLWRDWN™ is a bio-based down-fill material made using a combination of wildflowers, a biopolymer (made from maize (corn) and is fully compostable) and a patented biodegradable aerogel. This warm, breathable and animal-friendly innovation is the first of its kind and is used in their outerwear jackets, vests and accessories.

Save the Duck’s RECYCLED PLUMTECH® is a padding made by polyester fiber entirely coming from recycled materials, including plastic bottles. All the jackets from the RECYCLED collection are distinguished by the green and white logo.

A large part of unsustainable fashion is the result of poor fabric choice. Many materials that make it into our clothes harm humans, animals, and the environment. Not to mention, they release harmful chemicals and microplastics into our environment for hundreds of years. So, all of you designers out there, get onboard the eco-textile train. It starts with YOU!

Are you as excited as we are about material innovation and the exciting developments that are still to come?

 

WELCOME TO THE FIRST METAVERSE FASHION WEEK – DIGITAL FASHION HAS ARRIVED

An Imitation of Christ look for Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Spring 2022 Fashion Month may have ended last month, but runway shows continued. Where you ask? Welcome to Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW)!

For the past three years UoF has been reporting on the importance of the 3D design software and the concept of the Metaverse and its potential within the fashion industry. And so, at last, we finally got to watch the first major fashion industry-backed Metaverse fashion week, Thursday, March 24th to Sunday, March 27th. And just like that, fashion history was made.

Where was Metaverse Fashion Week Held?

Decentraland, a 3D virtual world browser-based platform, hosted the first Metaverse Fashion Week, with more than 60 luxury and digital brands presenting. (I wonder if the CFDA be adding  MVFW to the fashion calendar?).

Several innovative, early adopter fashion brands, and even some established brands, virtually presented their Spring 2022 collections in different “neighborhoods” or “districts” on Decentraland’s platform within their newly created ‘Fashion District’. The four-day event was packed with fun events that included digital fashion shows (which took place on three virtual runways), after parties, and even shopping events. Some merch was offered for sale as ‘wearables’, while others were offered as collectibles that were later uploaded to NFT marketplaces like OpenSea.

Before the event launched, Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, head of Metaverse Fashion Week, told WWD, “I think people will be amazed, because our team has been working so much to really achieve unique spaces in 3D and unique shops for the stores.” The team created a broad range of activities, with multiple simultaneous events. Casimiro added, “But they will be planned in a way that people have a chance to see all of them.” There will be plenty of after parties. The idea is that we bring people to see the events, but they can stay inside the platform and see a great performer and DJs. It’s going to be really fun.”

Inside the Metaverse Fashion Week runway arena. (Photo Credit: WWD)

The MVFW team anticipated a large number of new visitors joining the metaverse for the first time, so Decentraland offered instructions on their website to help first time visitors enter as guests. They also helped newcomers set up their digital wallets to shop, but visiting and touring the venues was free and open to all.

The opening installment began with Selfridges’ Decentraland venue on Wednesday, March 23rd, which was followed by four days of runway shows, brand activations, interactive experiences and countless shopping experiences across multiple digital storefronts which showcased wearable looks on avatars, NFTs, artworks and more.

Brands participating included Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab, Nicholas Kirkwood, Perry Ellis, Imitation of Christ, Estée Lauder, Etro and many more, with several setting up shop in digital stores where guests could teleport, browse, and of course, shop.

In the Luxury Fashion District, Decentraland’s newest district, visitors were able to attend fashion shows and shop for luxury items in the metaverse. The Luxury Fashion District, which was sponsored by UNXD, a curated marketplace for the best of digital culture, and Vogue Arabia, was where many brands made their Web3 debut, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Elie Saab, Imitation of Christ, Dundas, Nicholas Kirkwood x White Rabbit, Faith Tribe, and Guo Pei.

Tommy Hilfiger remarked, “When I founded my namesake brand in 1985, I never imagined I’d see a time when fashion weeks would be held in a 3D, fully virtual world. As we further explore the Metaverse and all it has to offer, I’m inspired by the power of digital technology and the opportunities it presents to engage with communities in fascinating, relevant ways.”

The Rarible District hosted a temporary space with pop-up shops that included Placebo Digital Fashion House, The Fabricant, Fred Segal, Perry Ellis, Artisant in collaboration with Puma, Miss J Collection by Crypto Couture, NFT artist Marcomatic and more.

According to sourcingjournal.com, “Mango’s development in the metaverse environment is yet another example of the company’s innovative character and its strategy based on constant innovation,” said Jordi Álex, Mango’s director of technology, data, privacy and security. “We have created a specific team dedicated to the development of digital content, where new professionals will be joining in the coming months, in order to develop new projects in the future that will allow us to add the virtual environment to the digital and physical environments in our channel ecosystem.”

Oh, and if you are interested in owning property in the metaverse, (yes, you CAN buy property there and will need a realtor) you could go to the virtual real estate marketplace Parcel x Metaparty Community Precinct.  The Community Precinct offered a multilevel experience with mini-games, chill-out floor, and fashion show experience that highlighted Decentraland’s wearables designer community. Meanwhile, the MetaTokyo community launched a museum, Space by MetaTokyo, plus its own wearable collection through the Decentraland marketplace. DRESSX, was virtual store inside Metajuku, another shopping district.

Boson Protocol’s metaverse marketplace hosted more than a dozen brands that were selling NFTs tied to exclusive, real-world luxury products. Modeled after Paris’ Avenue Montaigne, this boulevard of metaverse stores featured brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Hogan tomWeb3-first brands like Cider, IKKS, Deadfellaz, 8sian, The Rebels by House of Kalinkin, Christine Massarany, Anrealage, Wildfangz by Fang Gang, Wonder and more.

At Threedium Plaza, brands ranging from DKNY to Phygicode by Wyldflwr showcased their 3D creations in the plaza. Here, shops featured 3D wearable pieces, but also went beyond fashion with fun experiences including General Motors’ latest electric vehicles.

Interior view of Cash Labs’s mixed media art gallery. (Photo Credit: WWD)

The Meta Funaverse

Metaverse Fashion Week also hosted plenty of fun parties, such as #FashionFridays a pre-party show that got fashion week off to a festive start on TwitterSpaces. Luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana held the first after-show party, while Hogan + Exclusible held a soiree on Saturday. And the parties and festivities kept going on and on.

A few other captivating projects took place, such as The Vogu x Hype and Sophia the Robot’s look at the future of A.I. fashion, Imitation of Christ’s installation and performance, and a luxury eyewear store by Garrett Leight, with exclusive frames and wearables for your avatar.

The Philipp Plein show at Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Martino Carrera)

Metaverse’s Early Adopters

German fashion designer Philipp Plein took the metaverse by storm. Viewers attending his event were provided the full fashion show experience with a runway show held in his own $1.4 million Decentraland estate, an afterparty with real-life DJs, and a see-now- buy-now collection, which was available as limited-run NFTs on Decentraland’s marketplace. His show took place on Thursday night at the Plein Plaza central square surrounded by Plein-branded skyscrapers. The runway was a metallic skull-shaped animatronic that opened its mouth revealing avatar models in the designer’s latest creations. The collection was named Pleinverse $eason 1 and was developed by Crypto King$, the nickname behind Plein and digital artist Antoni Tudisco, who spearheaded the label’s metaverse activities. The label also hosted an afterparty, with the Australian DJ duo Miriam and Olivia Nervo who were pumping up the music.

Italian luxury house Dolce & Gabbana held one of the most realistic metaverse fashion shows. Guests had to “teleport” to the location, and that’s only if they managed to understand how to do it. The experience was not unlike finding the right show address down the winding streets of Milan, Paris, London, or New York, with the exception of being stuck in traffic. As for the show, the label featured cat-faced avatar models emerge from two giant lotus-like structures dominating the two sides of the runway. Just like a IRL show, there was strobe lighting, upbeat music and charming digital clothing. Case in point, a LED-lit broad-shouldered mini frock. As for showgoers, attendance was disappointing, and they were not your typical fashion insiders. Some avatars jumped onto the runway while the show was going on, while other attendees typed in the chat box so they really did not pay attention to the models. While it was a fun experience, Dolce & Gabbana’s regular clients were missing from the scene.

Imitation of Christ. (Photo Credit: WWD)

The Imitation of Christ store was an ode to punk-rock fashion, as well as an antiwar statement. There were signs aimed at Putin to stop his war, as well as support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian flag. On the first floor, mannequins were dressed in streetwear looks, such as hoodies, catsuits, kilts, and fashionable combat boots. Meanwhile, on the second floor, you could find the label’s signature couture-like designs.

Scenes from Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Guo Pei, the Asian designer best known for her luxurious, couture-like pieces, had a boutique on Luxury Street. There you could find a digital version of the designers exquisite creations, but unfortunately, the digital version did not compare to the magnificent embroidery of the real-life version.

Meanwhile, for Selfridges, the goal was to offer a “fusion of fashion and art,” Jeannie Lee, head of buying for Selfridges, told WWD.“We currently have launched a project called ‘Universe,’ based on a collaboration with Paco Rabanne and [Victor] Vasarely,” she said. “He used the prints of it from the artwork, and we were so inspired that we decided to build a physical installation featuring artwork from the Fondation, then also wearable pieces from Paco Rabanne’s archives, from the 1966 collection called the ’12 Unwearable Dresses,’ and everything is on display like a museum-grade, temperature-controlled [exhibit] in Selfridges.”

Selfridges’ Decentraland venue, which opened Wednesday, evokes its real-world Birmingham, England, location. (Photo Credit: WWD)

In the future, Selfridges does plan to release NFTs, but at this point the store was used to create a visual experience and to celebrate fashion and art.

The Etro “Liquid Paisley” fashion show at Metaverse Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Martino Carrera)

Etro also held a virtual runway show and pop-up shop in the Luxury Fashion District. The brand’s digital collection launched the Liquid Paisley pattern, “a contemporary take on one of the house’s most iconic codes, in a vibrant palette of fresh and joyful shades, with a gender-fluid approach driven by Etro’s open and inclusive vision. A collection without gender boundaries in a fashion show that will be accessible to everyone,” Veronica Etro, creative director of the women’s collection, said in a statement to WWD. Customers will be able to buy Etro’s ready-to-wear and accessories, as well as customize their avatars with collection items.

In a recent interview with Luis Fernandez of @LUISFERN5 Creative Design Agency, published on the CFDA website, Fernandez was quite bullish on the future of the metaverse for fashion, especially the experiential ‘Store of the Future”.

As we enter this new digital universe, the opportunities are endless. It will take the creative and entrepreneurial minds of those of us in the fashion industry to push the boundaries and to be on the cutting edge of how to marry the ‘real’ world with the ‘tech’ world. Let’s face it, no one ever thought that online fashion education would ever be a ‘thing’ when University of Fashion burst onto to scene in 2008, right? Meanwhile…. We are now madly working on lessons for our subscribers on how to design in 3D. So stay tuned!

Tell us, are you as exited about the metaverse as we are? Will you use the Metaverse to build your brand?

WELCOME TO THE FASHIONVERSE – METAVERSE

- - Technology

Gucci in the virtual game Roblox. Photo (Credit: Vogue Business)

Faithful followers of our blog know that at University of Fashion we love, love. love the history of things. In fact, our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, co-wrote the book, Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. So we thought before we talk about how the Metaverse is poised to revolutionize the fashion industry, we’d take a look back at the thing we love to hate and yet can’t do without…the Internet.

Did you know that January 1, 1983 is considered the official birthday of the Internet, and that it wasn’t until August 6, 1991 that the World Wide Web went live to the world?

Now, more than ever, we rely on technology. With the click of a button, we order our groceries, hold business meetings, learn fashion design online (thanks UoF) and purchase everything from underwear to luxury clothes…even cars! We are so completely hooked on our electronic devices that to be without them even for a day, it’s like the world has come to an end! And now, thanks to the pandemic, we have become even more reliant. Is that even possible?

Through the internet, we maintain social relationships, communicate with family and friends and interact via Facebook®, Instagram® and all of the other social media platforms, incessantly. The Internet has also expanded our vocabulary. We all ‘surf’ the web, use google as a verb, and learned a slew of new acronyms like HTTP, HTTPS HTML, FTP, WWW, and more.

Well buckle your seat belts folks….here comes the metaverse, (with it the fashionverse) and a new set of vocab terms like avatar, blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs, burning NFTs, AR, VR, and Web 3.0.

What is the Metaverse, you ask?

When Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s name change to ‘Meta’ in October 2021, tech giants like Google and Microsoft started investing heavily in it, portending the next big tech revolution. The metaverse, now in its beginning stages, is a digital experience that will evolve into something that blurs the lines between the digital and physical world.

According to Michelle Cortese, a virtual and augmented reality designer, artist and author, the metaverse is essentially, “a spectral layer on top of our existence. It is represented by avatar interactions, and constructed experiences, ultimately altering how we interact online, how crypto is adopted, how brands advertise, all while offering a hyper-real alternative world for people to coexist in. The concept that was beloved by tech enthusiasts, a desire for a decentralized virtual world and a place that is aligned with the physical world, has now penetrated the mainstream landscape. Virtual experiences have spiked dramatically with millions of people indulging hours upon hours as digital avatars into virtual social spaces such as Fortnite and Roblox or digital NFTs and cryptocurrencies.”

Michelle Cortese depicts the stages of the Web and the advancements we have endured to reach Web 3.0 more clearly. “When we say ‘Web 3.0’ we refer to the three stages of the Internet: [1] the desktop computer dial-up of the 1990s; [2] the socially-driven mobile Internet of the 2000s and 2010s; and [3] the “Embodied Internet” or Metaverse – this next generation of the Internet anticipates that people will interface with the web in a more embodied, virtual way.”

All sounds like a sci-fi movie right? But advanced technology is making this possible. Using a combination of technologies and incorporating virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), users can actually “live” inside a digital universe. In the metaverse, users are part of the action.

What does this mean for the fashion industry?

Think of the possibilities for brands to reach potential customers in the metaverse. The fashion industry is already evolving in this advanced digital world and the pandemic offered many in lockdown mode the opportunity to explore the gaming world, a perfect intro into the ‘virtual world’. In the metaverse, the user can shop in digital stores and there is even a “try before you buy” feature where the user can take a 360-degree look at an item. They can zoom in and examine all the details of that piece of clothing before they make a purchase.

Consumers now have the ability to virtually try on products by dragging one or more items onto photos of themselves. So the metaverse is literally bringing the fitting room into your home and can offer the consumer the same experience as walking into a brick-and-mortar store.

The metaverse is therefore quickly transforming the fashion industry. Luxury house Balenciaga is at the forefront of the shift into the digital world. The house (known to embrace virtual apparel) announced plans to introduce a business unit specifically committed to exploring opportunities in the metaverse.

Fortnite x Balenciaga, 2021. (Photo Credit: Epic Games)

Balenciaga presented its Fall 2021 collection through a gaming app and famously partnered with the video game Fortnite to create a number of “skins” for the game’s characters. At this point, most of the fashion world’s investments in the metaverse have been through video game skins (cosmetics that customize characters), reports Business of Fashion. These developments provide a peek of what fashion in the metaverse could look like.

According to Business of Fashion, digital environments are increasingly transforming from transaction-focused consumer spaces, to multi-dimensional worlds that foster collaboration and creativity. Naturally, fashion is expected to be key player in this coming era.

The metaverse is a virtual reality that redefines how we use technology, integrating both digital and physical worlds. And it’s not some faraway reality, we’re already there. Nowhere is the crossroads of fashion and metaverse more evident than in the current explosion of fashion related NFTs.

Adidas Originals is jumping into the metaverse. The brand’s entry arrives as part of a partnership with Bored Ape Yacht Club. (Photo Credit: Adidas)

So, what exactly are NFTs?

The simplest way to explain NFTs or “non-fungible tokens” are that they are cryptographic tokens which are stored in a blockchain. These cryptographic tokens allow someone to buy, sell, or trade, ‘real’ items such as artwork or real estate. NFTs are especially suitable when they tokenize items that are collectible and unique. In the fashion industry, NFTs now bring a new level of exclusiveness and an opportunity to turn digital designs and collections into an extremely limited, valuable, luxurious, and unique collector pieces. And labels from luxury to activewear are getting into NFTs.

Burberry releases NFT collection in Mythical Games’ Blanks Block Party. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

Burberry, for example, partnered with Mythical Games to launch an NFT collection in their flagship title, Blankos Block Party. Working with Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party, Blanko the shark, can be purchased, upgraded, and sold in-game, the brand moved into the digital space after the success of its own game, B Bounce, which launched in 2019.

Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian fashion luxury house, launched its own collection of NFTs on the Polygon (CRYPTO: MATIC) blockchain last August of 2021. Named Collezione Genesi. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana personally designed a 9-piece, one-of-a-kind collection exclusively for UNXD. Collezione Genesi³ that featured hand-made, museum-grade items across Alta Moda (women), Alta Sartoria (men), and Alta Gioielleria (high jewelry). It is digital couture!

UK department store Selfridges has begun selling NFTs and digital fashion in its Oxford Street store in London, bringing digital goods to real-life shopping and broadening their accessibility in fashion. Combining the virtual and physical worlds, Selfridges has a pop-up that will showcase artwork by Victor Vasarely and new physical pieces from the designer label Paco Rabanne inspired by Vasarely’s work. The NFTs, can be purchased via an in-store digital screen using a traditional credit card, and will include digital versions of the first dresses designed by Paco Rabanne.

The Sefridge’s NFT project ca;;ed Universe. (Photo Credit: Vogue Business)

Approximately 1,800 NFTs are dropping between 28 January and 12 March, with prices ranging between £2,000 ($2,709.27) to over £100,000 ($135,456.30); select Paco Rabanne NFTs will be sold with their physical counterparts, and the digital versions can be worn in several virtual platforms. Some items will be adaptations of 1960s archival designs that were never produced. Funds raised will go to the Fondation Vasarely Museum in Aix-en-Provence, the artist’s archive that houses and restores works.

Even Barbie is getting in on the act! Barbie is making a splash into the digital art world as everyone’s favorite doll, dressed in head-to-toe Balmain. The two brands are collaborating with a ready-to-wear collection, an accessories line and a series of NFTs. Executives from both companies say the NFT launch is a historic moment for fashion, tech and toys.

From a nostalgic 1990s Barbie logo to a Barbie pink Pantone, Barbie’s signature color dominates the clothing collection and NFT trio. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Txampi Diz, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Balmain, is betting on the future of NFTs as a powerful customer engagement tool for high-fashion brands. “I believe it is going to completely change the fashion industry, and it will have the same impact as when social media first started or when the internet first launched,” he says in an interview with Forbes.

“It’s a milestone, it’s the first NFT presentation that the Barbie brand has ever made,” says Richard Dickson, Mattel president and Chief Operating Officer (COO) in an interview with Forbes.

Three one-of-a-kind Balmain x Barbie NFTs are currently up for auction via mintNFT, a new marketplace for NFTs that focus on creative collaborations. James Sun, founder and CEO of mintNFT, says such NFT partnerships redefine the meaning of brand ownership for customers, as it symbolizes a purchase into the company’s ethos. “What’s so beautiful is they’re not just purchasing an NFT, they’re saying, I want to be part of this brand on the blockchain . . . It’s very philosophical.”

Looks from Nigo’s first limited-edition capsule collection for Kenzo.(Photo Credit: Kenzo)

Kenzo just dropped its first limited-edition capsule collection under the house’s new artistic director Nigo, and will feature floral graphic sweatshirts, long-sleeve T-shirts, a jersey cardigan, and nylon jacket. Along with the limited-edition collection, Kenzo released a limited edition of 100 NFTs, each drop will be complemented by a collection of NFTs that unlock exclusive access into the world of Kenzo.

Gucci and Superplastic introduce a three part NFT drop Supergucci. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

Each day, more and more labels are joining the metaverse and offering NFTs. Supergucci is a collaboration between the Italian fashion house Gucci and Superplastic. The “ultra-limited” series, Supergucci consists of a multi-pronged approach to be released in three parts. The first drop was on February 1st, and included ten different limited NFTs that paid homage to Gucci’s storied archives with signature prints, icons, and motifs, all revamped to to incorporate the imagination of Superplastic’s synthetic celebrities and artists. In this instance, they are Janky & Guggimon; virtual “humans” created by Superplastic that have already gained a strong social media following. The launch is also accompanied by ceramic sculptures handmade in Italy and co-designed by Gucci and Superplastic.

“Our collaboration with Superplastic dates back to 2020 when we launched the Gucci Sneaker Garage project in occasion of which we dressed Superplastic’s virtual characters with the Gucci Virtual 25 sneakers,” the brand states. “This project therefore represents the natural development of our relationship with this partner that allows us to experiment with Gucci’s codes through new forms of creativity.”

Supergucci allows the metaverse to come into play, too, where users will accompany Janky & Guggimon to the Gucci Vault, an online concept store created from the vision of Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele. The Vault will also be releasing restored, reconditioned vintage Gucci pieces in tribute of their latest juncture; works hand-picked by Michele and archivists of the House. There will be two more surprise drops coming soon.

Artist Mason Rothschild created the MetaBirkin. (Photo Credit: MetaBirkin)

A “Baby Birkin” NFT, which was an animation of a baby growing in a Hermès Birkin bag, just sold in a Basic.Space auction for the equivalent amount of $23,500. Although this is where it can get tricky, Hermés, who owns the trademark for the Birkin bag, was not involved in the issue of the NFT and has send out a cease-and-desist letter to the creator of the NFT. Recently, Hermès filed the lawsuit in New York’s Southern District Court claiming trademark infringement and dilution. Hermès claims the artist, Mason Rothchild, was ripping off Hermès’ famous Birkin trademark by adding the generic prefix “meta” and calling the NFT “Metabirkin.”

The psychology of NFTs 

Fashion houses are creating a new world of engagement with a digital experience for its users in the metaverse. Unforgettable items can boost customer loyalty. Consumers may capture, exchange, and appreciate one-off experiences and exclusive moments in time, which is something that all these corporations could use to establish a permanent connection with their clients.

We are living through and witnessing another digital revolution. NFTs and the metaverse are opening up new worlds of economic opportunity and risk. The fashion industry is at the forefront of many of these new developments. As we embark on these exciting new possibilities, some companies are a bit hesitant to rush into the metaverse.

Louis Vuitton gets into gaming with Louis The Game Video Game. (Photo Credit: LVMH)

For example, Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of luxury conglomerate LVMH, has stated that is in no rush to charge into the metaverse. The brands under the LVMH label are performing well in the real world as the company reported record full-year revenues and profits for 2021. Arnault stated to WWD, that while he was curious to explore the opportunities of the hotly hyped digital environment, he was also wary of a repeat of the dot-com bubble (LVMH was, after all, a major investor in the ill-fated Boo.com in the late ’90s).

“Let me start by saying that it’s a purely virtual world and until now, we are in the real world and we sell real products. To be sure, it’s compelling, it’s interesting, it can even be quite fun. We have to see what are the applications of this metaverse and these NFTs,” Aunault said in a videoconference with analysts and reporters. “If it’s well done, it can probably have a positive impact on brands’ activities. But we’re not interested in selling virtual sneakers for 10 euros,” the LVMH chairman and chief executive officer added. “In conclusion, I would just say, beware of bubbles. I remember this from the early days of the internet, at the beginning of the 2000s,” Arnault continued, noting there are a multitude of companies building the metaverse. “There were a bunch of would-be Facebooks back then, and in the end, only one of them worked out. So let’s be cautious.”

Buyer beware – what it means that some brands are ‘burning’ NFTs

To give you an idea of just how complex the NFT world is and why you must really study the particular NFT before you buy it (says our founder’s son who has been investing in NFTs), here’s what you need to know about “burning” NFTs and “creating scarcity”.  According to Maghan McDowell of Vogue Business, “A key feature of blockchains and NFTs is that they can’t be changed, replicated or deleted, allowing for authenticity, ownership and scarcity. So, what happens if a luxury brand — many of whom are now experimenting with NFTs — wants to change or eliminate an NFT they’ve put on the market? They can burn it. Burning NFTs, which are tokens stored on a blockchain, is the process of permanently removing a token from circulation. This can be done to eliminate unsold or problematic inventory from an NFT drop, or it can be used to engage collectors and fans through “upgrades” that replace an original NFT with something else.”

According to Vogue Business, “For fashion and beauty brands, burning NFTs could offer a way to manipulate scarcity, and therefore price. It could also lead to more intriguing NFT projects, in which consumers must weigh risk and reward by burning an NFT in exchange for something else. These scenarios, among others, are already playing out among artists and gaming startups, paving the way for fashion. Already, Adidas is using a burn mechanism to change the state of its NFTs when NFT owners make a purchase. Apparel brand Champion recently partnered with Daz 3D’s NFT collection, Non-Fungible People, and will use burning to enable peoples’ profile picture NFTs to digitally dress in Champion gear, while Unisocks invites NFT owners to burn them in exchange for physical products.

As we all watch and explore the metaverse/fashionverse, the possibilities are endless and so are the pitfalls, so ‘buyer beware’.  

Did you know that UoF has been covering the digital revolution for years? Check out our past blog posts on the topic:

The Future of Textiles – Digital Realm

Gaming & Fashion: Two Aspirational Worlds of Experiences Combine

If you’re interested in exploring a career in this new age technology, check out University of the Creative Arts digital fashion MA program

 

So tell us, is your head spinning right about now? Will you promote your brand in the metaverse?

ANNOUNCING OUR NEW DIGITAL MARKETING SERIES


MEET YOUR NEW INSTRUCTOR: ROZA SALAHSHOUR

The University of Fashion is honored to add Roza Salahshour to our distinguished list of talented instructors.  Roza is a Digital Marketing Consultant & founder of Branderella, a 360° branding agency based in Paris.  She will be sharing her knowledge and expertise in our new Digital Fashion Marketing series. We are pleased to announce the launch of her first lesson, Introduction to Influencer Marketing.

Whether you are an established fashion brand or an aspiring fashionprenuer, knowing the ins and outs of digital marketing puts the power in your hands when launching your brand.

Roza began her career as a graphic and multimedia designer for tech startups before pursuing her interest in digital academically through a bachelor’s degree in Web Media technology (BSC), a  joint degree program between Staffordshire University UK, and Asia Pacific University, Kuala Lumpur.

During her studies abroad in Kuala Lumpur,  Roza had the opportunity to model part-time and participate in the marketing campaign for various fashion brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, JOGSHarper’s Bazaar & Bimba & Lola. In 2012 Roza took on the role of a fashion events coordinator launching & curating fashion shows for Harley Davidson & product shows for Laura Star through their Asian divisions.  In 2013 Roza co-founded MAVN Models designing and launching its digital presence before moving to Paris to pursue her MBA in fashion, luxury & Cosmetics at IFA PARIS. 

After short assignments for COTY Beauty & Iman cosmetics, Roza was sought out by various business schools to share her diverse international experience at the intersection of fashion, technology & business.

To date, Roza has served a variety of different universities including IPI (Group IGS), IPSSI, a digital marketing school, INGETIS, a BTS web & engineering school, Toulouse Business School, GBSB Business school, Madrid  and CIEE Paris, a study abroad Institution for American students wishing to explore Paris.

During her time at INGETIS, Roza created the Introduction to Technoprenuership Program for undergraduate students in Web Development and Networking curating a range of mini-modules including Startup Universe, Cash Cow & Founder’s Story.

At IPI, Roza designed and founded the Introduction to Digital Marketing Program along with practical coursework and online examination.  For Toulouse business school, she designed the Marketing Exchange Evolution program, a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary module at the cross-section of luxury, digital, and entrepreneurship.

At GBSB Business School she teaches Social Media & Public Relations for master’s students in luxury & business.

As a creative individual passionate about digital technology, Roza enjoys creating innovative modules that help creative enterprises tap into the exciting opportunities in the digital ecosphere!

Email:  Info@rozasalahshour.com

LinkedIn:  http://linkedin.com/in/rozasalahshour

Website:  https://www.branderella.com/

Check out the lesson preview: