What’s next for brands launching into the Metaverse? No one can answer you . Print On Demand All(PODA) can find the answer with you.
The notion of access to the digital space is still difficult for those with traditional fashion backgrounds, making growth and innovation in the space slower than the demand of the industry. For many, the shift to technology takes years to master. After observing the space, The Fabricant are launching a new platform called The Fabricant Studio, where users without 3D technology knowledge can create digital items and mint their own NFTs. Michaela Larosse said, “To create digital fashion, you have to be quite tech-savvy, understand programs like Clo3D and be able to iterate in them. That’s a very long timeline to learn that kind of thing. We’ve tried to come up with a mechanism that allows people to customize and interact with digital garments that have already been created as templates and essentially create their own NFTs.” This shift to bring more people into the digital space is a way of breaking down the silos that typically exist in other craft professions, especially in fashion.
In the same way, Epic Games, the founders of Unreal Engine — the system behind Balenciaga’s previous game and latest collaboration — have committed $100 million dollars to help creators and game developers in the 3D space. The Fabricant was a recipient of one of these mega grants for a fashion show featuring its designs. Another was Delz Erinle, founder and lead game designer for the Astra Game from Thrill Digital that combines a virtual world where players compete in-game to win real-life luxury fashion prizes. In the demo, a simply-clad heroine walks into a store where she cycles through a variety of looks that she can buy after competing in combat sequences with other players outside the “store.” Talking with the founder, he describes it as the first iteration, hoping to become a full metaverse with growing support. “We’re attracting an intersection of people we call ‘fashion gamers.’ These are people between the ages of 18 or a bit younger to 35, who are interested in fashion and also like to play games. It is a broad community, everyone from millennials and Gen Z to Gen alpha.”
These metaverses — huge online worlds with their own currencies, communities and economies — are already starting to come into fruition. Star Atlas, an intergalactic planetary exploration game, already shows the possibility of an alternate gaming universe, where cryptocurrency economies are as real as those created in the real world. Better still, brands like The Fabricant are already getting involved, selling its NFTs before the game is launched this autumn. Cathy Hackl is an industry expert on the metaverse and has been a pioneer in developing and researching the space in her role as chief metaverse officer and CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group. “We’ll see an evolution of volumetric video and NFTs that will not only unlock unique access and experiences, but also take ownership of digital assets to new levels. We’re just scratching the surface of what NFTs will be able to unlock for fashion.”
The vocabulary of the future:
NFT: A non-fungible token, or a unit of unique data stored on the blockchain system that can be traded and sold. Most digital files can become NFTs, but in the fashion industry, NFTs have mostly been through imagery.
Crypto-currency: Different currencies that are used to trade digital items. The most popular are defined by three verification systems: proof of work like Ethereum, which has come under fire for using large amounts of energy through the mega computers needed to solve mathematical problems; proof of stake, where the person with a corresponding number of network coins verifies blocks; and proof of authority, where the users have to make themselves known to the network. The most popular cryptocurrency is Ethereum, although others also exist that are tailored to specific value environments.
Blockchain: The system that allows NFTs to be verified through a record of transactions across several linked computers. What makes the blockchain unique is that records cannot be altered, making it a perfect system for traceability and transparency.
Skins: Digital garments that exist in-game. Unlike NFTs, skins are rarely transferable through metaverses, but encompass anything that the avatar (online persona) is wearing.
Metaverse: The future of the internet and a shared 3D virtual universe that users can exist in perpetually. The next generation of this online reality will be across many metaverses that all have different characteristics and communities.
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