Guest Column by Antonio Maurizio Grioli: The elegant metaverse

Would you pay for a virtual outfit that doesn’t actually exist? With the metaverse unfolding, this could soon be a reality. We’re moving from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional environment to enhance our outlook towards virtual reality for work, design, education and even retail.

Following the success of Balenciaga and Gucci showing their collections and selling digital wearables in the metaverse, Decentraland hosted its first Metaverse Fashion Week in March. These events are an opportunity to disrupt the fashion system from its production cycle to accessibility and provide our avatars with well-designed clothes. At the Dolce and Gabbana show, a virtual and a real catwalk were sewn together. The show had a big screen with avatars wearing the collection in 3D form. A physical catwalk was projected into the venue. When the virtual models reached the catwalk, they disappeared, replaced by real models on the ramp.

Business of fashion

While visual storytelling in all design aspects will continue to be the core focus area, designers can present collections blending customer expectations and the virtual environment. Like how Balenciaga released their capsule collection in collaboration with Fortnite by Epic Games; the collection was launched in the game as well as in stores.

Gucci is showing their collections and selling digital wearables in the metaverse

How will these be created? By collaborating with professionals from the gaming industry, using key skills like 3D designing, modeling, and prototyping; understanding how quality designs using 3D software and game engines work.

The way ahead

Bringing these designs to life will be a challenge. So, there’s a need for designer-friendly technologies. As entertainment producers veer towards 3D, fashion designers and brands may need to be able to contribute to cross platform gaming worlds and movies, where the garments may have specific functions that can be viewed in a 360-degree format.

An understanding of Web 3.0 is crucial and designers must set a connection to the physical world when researching the zeitgeist and working with elements like fabrics etc. Blending the real with the virtual is a skill designers must now learn.

Antonio Maurizio Grioli is the dean of Pearl Academy’s School of Fashion and Design

Antonio Maurizio Grioli is the dean of Pearl Academy’s School of Fashion and Design

I Say Chaps is an occasional guest column that allows passionate, creative people a platform to have their say.

From HT Brunch, May 14, 2022

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