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Web3 and Digitalization in Fashion

The fashion industry is always distant from ordinary people, also not significantly related to the tech industry in the past. When we relate technology with fashion, the first to pop into our head would be the material advancement for clothing designs, like how new materials could fulfill designers’ ideas and unleash their imagination. Bella Hadid’s Spray-on Dress at the Paris Fashion week is an excellent example of how tech could relate to fashion, as we expect.

However, the highly cooperative web3 technology does not pass the fashion industry. And more, it provides a lot more advantages than we imagine, as reflected by the frequent appearance of brands and fashion adopting and experimenting with Web3 tech. In this article, we would like to talk about using Web3 and digitalization in the fashion field.

Audiences from new generations

Research shows that users of Web3 are primarily between 18–34 years old. This isn’t particularly surprising, and we can expect younger generations to get in when Web3 gaming and VR/AR technologies become more mature. Our world is slowly digitizing, and new kids are growing up with electronic gadgets and the internet. For them, the virtual world is a natural part of their life. The fashion industry needs to keep attracting new people, be interested and aware of the field, and contribute to the industry’s sustainability and brand awareness to potential fans and customers. Brands must be present and participate in the younger future’s life. And so, getting into the Web3 trend is an undoubted choice. The question now is how they will make an entrance and what we will get from it.

Use cases

We saw brands leverage web3 technology and digitalization on rebranding and experimenting. Here are some of the use cases when Web3 meets fashion.

Tiered memberships

Brands begin to issue memberships in the form of NFT, which gives access to a private club, exclusive events, and other benefits. The advantage of having the membership as NFT is that you can buy, resell and earn with your NFT membership. It gives more flexibility and value to the membership itself.

Collectibles

Fashion items can be scarce, with limited editions, and are demanding among collectors. As these items are physical goods, it requires extra care to store and preserve their condition for future usage or value retention. If such a fashion item is in the digital version, its condition won’t change and will remain the same forever. Also, as the item is in the form of NFT, it would be easier to trade and look for liquidity.

Some might say a physical item is better for display and appreciation. How about having the physical fashion goods bonded with the digital NFT, where the owner of the NFT could pay a fee to ask the manufacturer for a new version of a physical version and recycle the older one? It makes the NFT a certificate of the physical one, a guarantee for the physical condition, and long-term demand from the holder to the issuer.

Redeemable

As mentioned above, the nature of NFT makes the goods restore their condition and is favorable for trading. Brands can issue a new edition of fashionable items only in the form of NFTs and allow holders to redeem the physical one by burning the NFTs. The sale of the new launch item can be held online, save time for fans to queue up in front of the store, and allow global participation. Also, people who want to trade for profit could simply flip it on online marketplaces without the need to carry the physical one and require to deliver it to the buyer. The buyer could go to the shop to redeem it with his purchased NFT.

Breakthrough physical restriction

Some brands hold several metaverse fashion shows, with fashion designs beyond physical restrictions and limitations. Sometimes, designers do not design clothes for wearing but just express their ideas and concepts. The digital environment allows creations they can’t commit to reality and shows it on stages. For example, a dress floating in the air, a jacket made of water, or a cat doing a catwalk with a set of designed suits. Fashion is no longer restricted to handcraft, material, and physical constraints.

Forbidden materials

Some materials are banned or not encouraged to use as they might be dangerous or illegal. Fashionable items made with exotic animal furs are rare, as they are no longer available to produce due to legal protections. Fashion creation in the digital environment would allow designers to re-create fashionable designs with these forbidden materials. It might bring some of the classic elements back to the fashion world.

General Participation

Lastly, the digital scene allows more public participation in fashion. Web3 makes fashion much closer to the public than before, enabling users to participate with just their computer. The crossover of fashion brands with web3 IPs or non-fashion groups also creates fashion exposure to other fields, making high-end fashion more reachable to the public. In the future, the general public will have a fair chance and entry to participate in a fashion event or even own a piece of fashionable items easier.

Final thoughts

Web3 is helping and enhancing the experience of a lot of industries, where fashion would be one that made a huge difference. We are surprised by how rapidly and vigorously the fashion industry experiments with it, especially during the bear market, where not only developers are building, designers do too.

In the movie Ready Player One scenes, the characters can open their inventory and change their outfit with clicks. Users can equip themselves with styles they like, which are different from one another, to show their tastes and styles. Fashion is within reach of the hands of the public, and I am sure the day will be soon.

Austin Cheung | NEST®

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