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What we learned about fashion’s future at the Superverse summit in Dubai

Blaise Lanphere travelled to the largest-ever collaborative event connecting creators, entrepreneurs, and artists that are disrupting their industries. She returned with a rundown for Thred on how Web3 – the next phase of the internet – is disrupting the style sector.

As in all sectors, technology is revolutionising how businesses operate.

Embracing artificial intelligence, data analytics, digital manufacturing, and so on, fashion is drastically evolving to adapt to the new landscape.

Its necessary merging with tech has been a long time coming, accelerated tenfold by the current climate crisis, which continually sees the industry facing immense pressure to improve its sustainability ambitions.

This transformation saves time and cost, has extensive environmental benefits, and successfully appeals to tech-savvy consumers.

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Plus, given the rising cost of raw materials (while the planet’s resources continue to decline), the vast carbon footprint associated with shipping goods back and forth from countries around the world, and the countless product launches attempting to keep up with social media trends, change is simply unavoidable.

But this shift also threatens creativity, job security, and eliminates the ‘human touch’ that’s an integral part of garment-making and design.

With the digitisation of manual processes a key factor in meeting the needs of conscious consumers, however, can this be achieved without losing authenticity?

We sent Blaise Lanphere to the Superverse summit in Dubai to find out.

The SUPERVERSE web3 summit covering metaverses, NFTs and SocialFi, is kicking off in Dubai | NewsBTC

What is Superverse?

Superverse is the largest-ever collaborative event connecting creators, entrepreneurs, and artists that are disrupting their industries as we turn our attention to the digital world and as our digital lives subsequently become more essential.

Held in Dubai last week, it set the stage for discussions around the transformational shifts that are shaping the way we create, consume, monetise, and identify ourselves in 2022.

How? By educating the masses about the Metaverse, NFTs, and Web3 – or the ‘next phase of the internet’ as it’s being referred to – all of which, as we know, are the future of technological interactions as our online and offline realities are further interwoven.

How does fashion tie into all of this?

Historically, fashion has been reluctant to jump on the digital bandwagon.

One only needs to look at Forrester Research’s international survey of luxury brands in 2008 for an example of this, which found just one-third of them to be actively selling online at the time.

Over the last decade of course (even more so during the pandemic), significant strides have been taken to rectify this, and the industry has slowly made its way to the forefront.

In 2018, we saw an army of AI influencers like Lil Miquela infiltrate the runway. Following this came a slow trickle of smart tach wearables, including Tommy Jeans’ Bluetooth microchips.

More recently, Balenciaga kickstarted the fashion-gaming crossover with Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a pivotal moment for the brewing relationship between the two contrasting sectors and one that’s showed no signs of slowing down since.

Today, akin to the art world’s heralding of the Non-Fungible Token (virtual certificates of ownership based on blockchain technology), fashion has welcomed Web3 with open arms.

How fashion got swallowed by the metaverse in 2021 | Dazed

This third iteration of the World Wide Web operates on decentralised platforms powered by public blockchains, which we’re already seeing with cryptocurrency and NFTs.

If it develops the way Zuckerberg predicted in his Meta announcement, then it will enable us to start honing our digital style with an avatar that can traverse through the infinite terrain of the internet.

At Superverse, Web3 was touted as being the next frontier in fashion, a ‘digital-first’ business model that’s disrupting apparel brands and which shows advanced capabilities in e-commerce.

In fact, according to Blaise, an uptick in the number of hours we spend online paired with the growing gaming community and staggering amount of virtual goods now available to us signals quite how influential this may be in years to come.

‘With the rise of virtual reality, the Metaverse and NFTs, it’s only natural we will see more fashion designers also design for the digital world,’ said Regina Turbina, founder of and one of the speakers on the Web3 fashion panel.

‘I’m exploring NFTs myself and think it’s an amazing opportunity, moving beyond what’s physically possible, contactless across borders and customisable for anyone.’

So, is this the future?

Without a doubt. Digital fashion presents the opportunity to sample and visualise clothing pre-mass-production very realistically, which will curb people’s appetite for more clothes and fast fashion fixes.

The primary draws of the latter being accessibility, inclusivity, and affordability – boxes that Web3 is more than capable of ticking thanks to its versatility.

‘Influencers will purchase or be gifted large quantities of clothing for different platforms, but there must be a more sustainable way to do this’ Blaise tells me.

‘At Superverse, it was clear that there is.’ By seamlessly adding 3D images of the outfits they would otherwise receive physically onto their photos instead, influencers can encourage brands to produce less, thus reducing the waste that would otherwise be generated for a one-time-use.

Not only this, but digital fashion allows us to actively identify with our virtual wins and avatars, changing how we value the way we look, dress, or even wear make-up in reality.

These are two undeniably appealing factors for Gen Z, a demographic as focused on protecting the Earth from total destruction as it is on pushing for unfiltered self-expression.

‘Limitless creativity is what I love about the physical realm,’ said Subham Jain, founder of XR Couture and another speaker at Superverse. ‘It’s not nearly the same IRL.’

Yet, as with most things, fashion’s digitisation isn’t without its challenges. It’ll be a while still before virtual dressing becomes the norm, namely due to its intangibility which the speakers at Superverse deemed the reason its development has faced so many barriers to date.

This, and a collective hesitancy to understand its value, but with improved education on the matter – as Superverse set out to offer – the hope is that this won’t be the case for much longer.

On this note, we best get going with that virtual wardrobe we were considering building. Why not if we’re moving towards a world that’s more connected online than it is offline, after all?