Bridging the Gap Between IRL and Digital Fashion: How SMB Retailers Can Benefit from the Metaverse

Metaverse has as much to offer small fashion retailers as it does big brands, because authenticity – not brand awareness – will be one of the determining factors for success.

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The metaverse concept is still nascent, however, it holds immense potential for the fashion industry. Additionally, the freedom and flexibility of WEB3 allows fashion sellers of all sizes to enter the virtual world and take advantage of its vast opportunities, including – fewer barriers to market entry for emerging designers and a space that fuels creative expression.

Room for all

The world’s biggest fashion houses have already started dipping their toes into the uncharted waters of the metaverse. Last year, Italian fashion house Gucci released a digital-only bag, which sold for a much higher price than its real-life counterpart. Louis Vuitton, the French luxury brand, has gone a step further by launching an in-vehicle NFT mobile application “Louis the Game”. This year, the brand is investing more by adding new NFTs and quests for players to discover.

However, the outlook for new-age fashion isn’t just for the ‘best and greatest’. Indrė Viltrakytė, the co-founder of Rebels, an NFT project seeking to bridge IRL and WEB3 fashion, emphasized authenticity, a natural fit for decentralized values, and transparency as determining factors for successful meta projects. .

“In WEB3, people have the power to decide who is worthy of success. We have already seen half-baked projects from big brands fail, because this community can make the difference between initiatives supported by passion and those that do not seek. than profit,” she said. “In this space, money or size isn’t what leads to success — it’s being raw and authentic. That’s why a small fashion boutique has as much of a chance of getting noticed as industry veterans.

Easier entry for emerging talent

WEB3 also removes some barriers that could previously limit promising designers in the fashion industry. According to Viltrakytė, an independent designer or a fashion brand has to produce between 2 and 16 collections per year, which can be financially difficult for someone starting out.

“The Rebels is a continuation of our IRL fashion house, so we know how challenging the entire fashion cycle can be, from sample production to trade show attendance and consumer marketing. “, she said. “Turning your clothes into NFTs and selling them through blockchain-powered fashion marketplaces is much more accessible and affordable, especially if you’re a digital-native brand. Plus, an authentic origin story could help emerging talent establish a strong presence without the need for paid advertisements.

She also noted that Gen Z’ers, who are one of the primary audiences in the Metaverse, value originality and durability above all else, and that boutique brands can channel those values ​​much better than large conglomerates.

Introduce yourself as a non-tech company

While the idea of ​​moving into the metaverse can be daunting, especially for smaller brands, Viltrakyte reassured that – while some tech savvy is a must – the attitude with which a company immerses itself in the space is much more important.

“Approach with a ‘how can I add value’ attitude rather than ‘how can this benefit me? makes a big difference. Later, it all comes down to ‘learning by doing’, whether it’s selling digital collections, creating a first virtual fashion show, or listing an NFT collection,” the fashion expert said. “Additionally, I learned that the WEB3 community is very welcoming, and connecting with people on Discord, Twitter, and other hubs can help to better understand the space.”

Decentraland, Roblox, and other metaverses are quickly positioning themselves as a potential new channel to market brands. Since early adopters could enjoy first mover advantage, Ms. Viltrakytė urged to take advantage of it and encouraged fashion SMEs to join the virtual community.

“Many digital artists have already discovered WEB3 and NFTs as a way to make a living from their art. Now is the time for designers, fashion artists and small brands to discover the opportunities, reinvent themselves and capitalize on the best of this technology.

© Korea IT Times 무단전재 및 재배포 금지

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