After the latest showcase of designer Victor Weinsanto’s fashion collection in Paris’s Marais district, there was the typical post-show melee you’ll find at any Paris Fashion Week event: models with their hair in elaborate styles that give Bjork a run for her money, photographers taking street shots, and lots of cigarettes smoked and gossip exchanged.
Two floors down, however, in an underground room with all the lights off, was something very different: a series of glass display cases displaying 3D holograms of clothing that only exist in digital form.
These designs are the result of a collaboration between the designer’s titular brand Weinsanto, Korean pop group Lightsum and virtual fashion company BNV.
Dubbed the M3talove collection, the eight virtual looks were made in-house at BNV using digital 3D sewing techniques. Each reflects the personality of a different member of the K-pop group.
The outfits look like something that could be worn on stage, with little touches of glamor – a black feather trim here or a beaded hemline there. But unlike real stage wear, they never need to be cleaned and will always retain their texture. The way they were presented, on silver doll-like avatars of the band members, tempted viewers with the urge to play a dress-up game.
And fans will soon be able to do so when the designs are released as Ethereum NFTs sold on the BNV website. But first, it was important for BNV Founder and CEO Richard Hobbs to host a real-world event to connect a physical fashion experience to the expanding digital world.
“Whatever happens in the metaverse has to relate to people’s real lives,” he said. Decrypt.
To this end, NFTs will have various numerical and real benefits attached to them. At the event itself, attendees could hit a free NFT POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol) – much like a virtual ticket stub – as part of a partnership between BNV and Decrypt.
“It’s about experiences,” Hobbs said. “That’s what people want these days.”
blur the lines
The M3talove collection debuted with a preview and cocktail reception immediately following Weinsanto’s official Paris Fashion Week show. And it’s not the only Web3 presence at this season’s shows, which have already seen Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks avatars on the podium at Vivienne Tam’s recent show At New York.
Like many, Hobbs sees Paris as the perfect location for a digital fashion event, due to the confluence of crypto business growth and the city’s illustrious fashion history.
“It’s the combination of fashion and technology,” he said. “It’s the fashion house, and there’s this symbiotic thing going on here.”
The way the traditional haute couture industry has embraced Web3 contrasts with its slow adoption of online shopping in the 2000s. Hobbs suggests that this is partly because Web3 property items are suitable for high-value items, as NFTs are able to reflect the scarcity of goods from real creators in digital spaces.
Another benefit of making fashion for the Metaverse is the opportunities it provides to let the imagination take over, allowing designers to explore far-flung and even physically impossible clothing and accessories.
“Creating looks in the metaverse provides an incredible design opportunity to express yourself in an entirely new way,” Weinsanto said at the M3talove collection launch.
Even in Weinsanto’s actual show, there were hints of a designer wanting to push the boundaries of what’s possible with clothing. Models wore headpieces that were too big for doorways and skirts that were too wide for aisles. They carried pouches the size of bollards. The designer’s vision is literally larger than life, which fits well with one of the ways digital fashion advocates say the medium will create new opportunities for designers.
Hobbs said BNV is working to help create a digital fashion future in which there is room not only for virtual designers, but also for stylists, editors and many other traditional fashion professions. But awareness needs to grow over the next few years for digital fashion to reach its full potential, he said, which is why crossover events like this are so important.
“We have a number of avenues we’re following to bring more people into digital fashion, and what Web3 can potentially deliver,” Hobbs said. “It will make people say, ‘OK, that’s not what I thought. “”
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