In the UK, the Institute of Digital Fashion is leading the fashion transition to the metaverse. Founded by a group of digital natives, the organization launched its IRL x URL Academy to teach designers around the world how to translate their garments into virtual objects. The group unveiled their virtual boss on the red carpet of the UK Fashion Awards last month when guests like Kristen McMenamy, Gabrielle Union, Evan Mock and Kehlani tried on the winged armor. “We wanted to deliver a metaverse experience that also democratizes the red carpet, democratizing the notion of traditional red carpet moments and uniting the worlds of IRL x URL,” explained Elliott Young. “It was designed to be worn and combined with other garments.” The virtual piece was later sold as an NFT.
The IoDF team sees meta-fashion not only as a place for designers to play with creativity, but as a vehicle to create a more inclusive and representative fashion industry. “The fashion industry is a big beast, with hierarchical structures largely dominating entry to the entry level. The digital arena is a wonderful community of free thinkers, and we wanted to mold that energy into a concise space where those, regardless of age, race, ability and gender, could embark on a career in digital creation, ”added Young.
“Not everyone has the opportunity to go to luxury stores or see catwalks, digital fashion changes these codes,” says Tet. “Anyone can become their own designer because they now have easier access to curated and valuable content designed for the web. I love that now everyone can feel the same thing. ”
So will the catwalks of autumn 2022 be occupied by avatars and inclusiveness? JW Anderson is already working on another project with Xydrobe and has revealed that his Fall 2022 collection will be showcased, in part, on digital cartoon characters. But perhaps thinking of a show as a phygital is already an old-fashioned idea. Anderson’s cardigan first appeared two and a half years ago, in June 2019, and is still one of the most popular items in fashion. If anything, digital fashion helps to extend the life of a garment, showing its intrinsic value and creativity. Tet offers another idea for the future: he says he’s taking the fall 2022 season off work with Collina Strada and KNWLS: “I’m waiting for those houses to finally sell designs over real garments. I could see designers selling 3D models that you could then get it made or printed with any material you want “. As brands make their plan A, B and C for the fall 2022 season, we hope the new wave of phygital fashion shows is not just about novelty, but also about translating lasting fashion ideas into the metaverse.