Welcome to the Sociology of Business. If you are not subscribed, join the community by subscribing below and joining the Sociology of Business Discord. You can find my book, The Business of Aspiration on Amazon and you can find me on Instagram and Twitter. For those new here, in my last analysis, Decentralized Commerce, I explore why authentication, visibility and community are key features of future commerce destinations.
Decentraland’s first ever Fashion Week took place from March 24th-27th. It included shows, panels, shopping, afterparties and “how do I lift my avatar’s hands” moments.
Here’s the download of the good, the bad, and the glitchy:
There’s a metaverse Fashion Week, and it is free and open to public
There’s a dedicated Fashion District in Decentraland, including luxury fashion
There’s also gritty and urban Rarible Fresh Drip Zone, for those who are more streetwear-minded
The space is decentralized: brands mingle with digital artists and metaverse creators
Everything’s on-chain: Ethereum-backed NFTs let users wear their skins and assets across metaverse platforms.
Fashion mixed with art: CashLabs’s exhibition hosted 20 artists and designers, from Dematerialized to The Fabricant.
Not everything’s for sale: Selfridges featured, in a multi-story, gallery-like setting 12 Unwearable Dresses as part of its Universe Project, based on Paco Rabanne’s collab with artist Victor Vasarely
There were some glimpses of the future. NTR1-Meta created handmade leather shoes in the Decentraland form, physical form and tradable as an NFT collectible on the Polygon blockchain. There’s an element of surprise, as each sneaker is randomly generated in a mystery sneaker box, granting its NFT owners the right to a physical pair as well. NFTs have a dual purpose of being assets and as a way to monitor ownership and authenticate SKUs.
Tommy Hilfiger virtually showcased its Spring 2022 collection, with an option of customers buying NFTs for their avatars or physical goods for themselves.
POAP tokens: Hogan offered them to early visitors, as did Estée Lauder. So far they act more as participation trophies rather than unlocking any brand benefits in the physical world.
Everyone’s a VIP in the metaverse! (none of that “you-can’t-sit-with-us” vibe)
Everyone’s a VIP in the metaverse! It goes against our psychology (who am I going to envy) and against our social brains (how do I signal my status)
Collections, including Zanotti, Hogan, Tommy Hilfiger, Cavalli, Perry Ellis, Forever21 and Dolce & Gabbana, were mostly NFTs, with no physical counterparts - a missed opportunity.
Decentraland flagship stores looked a lot like physical flagship stores.
A lot of brands just replicated their physical campaigns in Decentraland. Not the point, brands.
Can’t see the craftsmanship and artistry inherent in luxury fashion. Decentraland isn’t hi-fi enough for that.
Estée Lauder created an Advanced Night Repair serum NFT, inviting users to step inside its bottle (?) for a virtual glow.
Panels were overpopulated with tech folk. Not nearly enough fashion folk.
Advertising is everywhere, just like on Times Square.
“Flex your wearable!” call to action.
For a fashion week, there were suspiciously little fashion people there.
Sophia the Robot (below) scares me.
Someone on Twitter asked, “Why does the Metaverse Fashion Week look like a Roblox beauty pageant?”
A lot of computer crashing and slow loading
Why did brands stream their films and DJ videos in the metaverse? There’s YouTube for that, and it works much better.
Aesthetics is too much video game, not enough fashions.
Those avatars excite no one.
I walked purposefully for a while, encountered a Space Man and another guy who presumably fell into Advanced Night Serum, then got bored and went on with my life.
For all the Metaverse Fashion Week’s innovation, there was little newness. There were also no celebrities, no Insta influencers and no street style. As the landscape matures, everyone can benefit from a more strategic integration of activities happening in the metaverse with the physical world. For now, fashion folk seems to be betting more on the red carpet than on Decentraland: #redcarpetstyle has 203,230 mentions on Insta vs #MVFW’s 1,977.
Recently, I spoke with The Freelance Founders about setting one’s own expectations. In our conversation, we focused on defining one’s own vision of success and prosperity, regardless of the ideas that we have been socially conditioned to adopt. Listen to our conversation here.