Future Fashion: The Industry Gets Dressed for the Metaverse

Nogah Senecky
January 9, 2022

Mark Zuckerberg may not be the first name that comes to mind when we talk about fashion, considering his conscious decision to wear the same outfit every single day. Still, when the man behind Facebook announced that the company was changing its name to Meta and declaring the metaverse as the next frontier, the fashion industry took heed.

The metaverse is a digital environment, fueled by augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and extended reality (XR) technologies, where online and offline experiences seamlessly blend. There, we use virtual entities that represent us in every possible way. In fashion, this brave new world opens the door to many creative endeavors, including the following exciting initiatives. 

The show must go online

Fashion shows went virtual during the pandemic, long before the metaverse was a hot conversation topic. Dedicated technologies will make hybrid shows that much better. Enabling guests and designers to participate remotely using virtual event platforms was a clever way of overcoming physical restrictions without giving up on the joy of the runway. 

In 2021, Milan Fashion Week remained virtual, and companies continue to embrace this as an additional option even after returning to physical shows. When Kornit recently presented printed designs at Kornit Fashion Week Los Angeles, we partnered with the Placebo digital fashion house to bring digital creations to the runway. 

Emerging technologies like blockchain and (non-fungible tokens) NFTs also give fashionistas a chance to own a small piece of digital luxury. Earlier this year, Gucci auctioned off an NFT video via Christie’s for $25,000, and Dolce & Gabbana sold digital fashion items for $6 million

We can expect the metaverse to further elevate this trend. When headsets and smart glasses become the norm, more fashion shows will offer virtual experiences. Our avatars will dress up and take a front-row seat next to Anna Wintour’s avatar, in its virtual bob haircut and sunglasses.  

Who are you virtually wearing? 

When the metaverse grows and we attend events and meetings remotely as avatars, we’d still care deeply about our outfits. Designers and developers will work together to create digital collections that fit our style. Not only that, but we’ll be able to shop and wear these garments in real life. RTFKT Studios, recently acquired by Nike, is a company that pairs designed sneakers with their digital NFT representation for the perfect online-offline fashion experience. As these worlds blend, they create business growth opportunities on all fronts.

Shopping centers will have their own corner of the metaverse. We’ll enjoy more accurate remote fitting, shops that exist both online and off, AR software that allows us to see the same outfit in different colors and fabrics without having to try it on multiple times, and more. 

What the fashionable metaverse needs to succeed

These virtual arenas require real, substantial resources to flourish. Here are a few key points to keep in mind.

  • Creativity should have no boundaries: The metaverse is an exciting, creative space where anything can happen—but why should physical fashion design be restricted? When developing technologies like Kornit’s XDi 3D decorative applications, we allow fashion designers to dream big and take their ideas in any direction they choose. Let’s not wait for the next stage of digital transformations to achieve that.
  • Demanding on-demand fashion: The above future-forward fashion concepts are made possible thanks to another production strategy we embrace today, which is on-demand manufacturing. In a sense, on-demand items do not exist in reality before we purchase them, and fast production technology enables their physical creation on the spot.  
  • Digital everything: Can you imagine a world where our VR avatars attend fashion shows, only to have the items presented there manufactured using traditional, non-digital methods? Advanced production that harnesses data, speed, and single-step procedures is already a must. Companies that lag behind might find themselves having to bridge a major gap to enter the metaverse fashion industry. 

Digital transformations offer an abundance of possibilities, many of which we have yet to wrap our heads around. We certainly don’t know everything about the metaverse, virtual fashion, and everything in between. Still, our avatars are excited for what’s to come.

If you’d like to have a front-row seat and experience the future of virtual and physical fashion, bring yourself and your avatar to Kornit Fashion Week London, a fully-immersive experience that will showcase how Kornit Digital is connecting the virtual and physical worlds, enabling sustainable on-demand production, and unleashing creative imagination in all its forms.