Metaverse Fashion Week: A Step Forward in the Digital Fashion World
“It is just the beginning. We need to take one step at a time.” – Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, Head of Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW).
This past March, the 2nd annual Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) took place, featuring a 5-day virtual extravaganza with over 60 participating brands, artists, and designers, showcasing their latest digital fashion designs. The event attracted a total of 26,000 unique visitors (similar attendance to an English Champion League football match), a decrease from last year’s attendance of 108,000 (a similar daily attendance to Coachella).
In 2022, 165,861 free wearables were minted and US$76,757 of wearables were sold. While this year, only 76,000 free wearables were minted, with around US$26,000 sold (Decrypt 2023).
At first glance, these statistics don’t scream success. However, when you look beyond the numbers, and consider the vast improvements made in terms of quality and engagement, you can start to see the bigger picture.
QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY:
“Dwell Time”, measuring the number of minutes spent in an online experience, has become a key metric of success. This year, American jewelry brand Ben Bridge garnered over 47,695 minutes of dwell time over the 4-day event, surpassing much larger global brands such as DNKY and Adidas. Even more mind blowing is that the average Ben Bridge MVFW visitor spent 14 minutes in the experience. To put this in perspective, multi-national fast fashion retailer Forever21 captured an average of 27 minutes of dwell time last year.
Tommy Hilfiger reported four times the retention in their activation compared to last year, according to Dr. Giovana Graziosi. And albeit attendance was considerably lower than the 2022 MVFW, tens of thousands of new visitors were welcomed to the Metaverse.
So, how did brands such as Ben Bridges keep customers so engaged? Gamification.
MORE THAN A CUSTOMER:
In order to captivate audiences, brands leveraged gamification to create engaging experiences. Charles Hambro, Co-Founder & CEO of GEEIQ, a leading third-party Metaverse analytics firm, states that “brands now want to have a deeper, more enriched experience with their customers. A three-second impression is not a deep and enriched experience” (2023).
With so much noise during MVFW, brands had to think outside of the box to make their mark. This meant moving away from the transactional nature of traditional online store strategies and experiences. In some experiences, visitors were guided by NPCs (non-playable characters) through custom quests, allowing them to explore the store, learn about the brand, and complete mini-games. And in return, those who participated in these experiences were rewarded with exclusive branded NFTs collectibles.
A brand that stood out to me was Coach. More than an artistic statement, the giant floating Tabby purse housed a bespoke interactive space to keep visitors engaged. Visually impressive, the only downside I found was the duration of the experience. Taking me less than two minutes to complete, their experience would have benefited from being longer, which would have in turn increased dwell time.
MORE THAN A PLATFORM:
Another exciting development at MVFW 2023 was the partnership with multiple technology platforms. Last years event, was hosted exclusively on Decentraland which received some negative feedback in terms of performance. Webpage crashes and glitchy experiences leads to a negative user experience and deterring visitors and brands.
It remains unclear whether MVFW partnered with new platforms likeSpatial.ioand OVER due technical issues from the previous year or as a desire to diversify visitor access and content consumption – but, it was good they did.
Vogue Singapore created a seamless journey that bridged across various platforms. A portal connected their Decentraland store to Spatial.io, offering a more realistic visual style and interoperable avatar system (ReadyPlayerMe). And the fun didn’t stop there. Buyers were granted access to an exclusive fashion show hosted by OVER (an AR platform) and entitled to discounts on real-life clothing, emphasizing the phygital nature of the Metaverse.
The 2nd annual MVFW demonstrated how smaller brands can compete with global brands in unique ways. As the Metaverse continues to evolve, we can predict that brands will push the boundaries of what’s possible, blurring the lines between out physical and digital realities.
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