The normalcy of metaverse, seemingly progressing, has given a whole new value and platform to digital assets. As humanity would have it, the desire to be present in its entirety is the fuel that is increasing the popularity of metaverse worldwide. Metaverse has been around for some time, but the global population was not entirely welcoming of it. The pandemic of 2020 and the ensuing lockdown was the tipping point; the public was isolated and on lockdown, and the need to connect to others as closely as possible arose.
A world of virtual and augmented reality cannot flourish without digital assets. In a circle of metaverse enthusiasts and experts, buzzwords such as utility tokens, cryptocurrencies, hybrid tokens, etc., are thrown around, but what does it all mean?
What are Digital Assets?
Loosely defined, these assets exist digitally and hold a value that is defined and recognized by interested parties. In the metaverse, digital assets include non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital real estate, digital fashion, avatars, wearables, vehicles, digital real estate, even pets, and more. To many, it might sound like assets found in video games, but it encompasses much more. Unlike gaming skins, digital assets exist in all the metaverse and hold real value, i.e., they can be bought, created, traded and sold.
Like the real world, these assets have an intrinsic value and are utilized to conduct various business dealings in the metaverse. For various types of digital assets, blockchain technology plays a big part in promoting them in the virtual sphere. As blockchain technology guarantees many assets’ authenticity and ownership trails, metaverse users tend to gravitate towards investing in them.
Why are Digital Assets Gaining Popularity?
In this day and age of the digital economy, digital assets allow people in the metaverse to access various digital resources, interact with others better and fully immerse themselves in the metaverse. Gone are the days when humans were content with the physical world; they now want to take over the virtual world. The game skins industry is worth $50 billion and the global metaverse market was worth $63.83 billion in 2021.
As big tech giants and small yet driven startups are spending billions on developing the metaverse to mirror the real world, digital assets’ lucrativeness is increasing daily. It has been estimated that as of 2022, Gen Z’s screen time is around 8 hours. Meanwhile, 70% of the public (comprised of Gen Z and Gen X) consider their digital identity to be necessary. The study named The Opportunity in Digital Fashion and Avatars reported that digital ownership is viewed to be essential by 65% of people. 50% of them had plans to purchase a new digital asset in the next year (gaming items including skins, digital fashion pieces, avatars, or an NFT).
Digital Fashion & Expression of Identities
The continuous hype around metaverse and unexplored value streams is why digital fashion is gaining momentum in the metaverse. The Metaverse paves a path for people to express themselves, akin to the real world. The population stepping into the metaverse seeks to create and solidify their own unique identities that immediately singles them out in the multiverse of the metaverse.
The availability of digital clothing items and accessories allows the users to either match their real-world style with their avatars’ style or create an out-of-this-world look that is distinctive to them. The opportunity to truly express themselves through digital fashion that a metaverse user can find in this world is often not an option in the physical world.
The metaverse is gaining sophistication where parties are held, themed product launches occur, social gatherings occur, and much more. Such instances require the users’ avatars to be handsomely dressed. Thanks to the many fashion icons taking up shop in the metaverse, people can dress their avatars however they please.
Wearables and digital fashion are perhaps the most attractive digital assets in the metaverse. They are tailored to diverse groups, which promotes inclusivity. Wearables are anything from shirts, pants, and shorts to watches, hats, sunglasses, etc. In the metaverse, they are not considered accessories anymore, as users like to think of them as simulating proper experiences. The freedom to express themselves with a wide range of clothing by the top fashion brands is what fascinates and invites metaverse users.
New World of Creativity
In fashion, creativity has long been harnessed to create a person’s image and put forward pivotal societal standards. The recreational market of metaverse gives fashion companies an arena to expand their customer base, increase their sources of revenue and conquer a whole other plane of existence.
The big names of the fashion industry are trying to gain entrance and establish themselves in the metaverse. In 2021, Gucci held an auction for charity for its first-ever NFT, and in the same year, the company launched its 3D animated trainers to the public. Following suits, many others, like Louis Vuitton, Rimowa, and Dolce & Gabbana, released NFTs too. After the acquisition of RTFKT, Nike launched sneakers as NFTs, which has taken Nike lovers by storm.
A surprising yet welcoming advent of events is partnerships between fashion and gaming companies, which are creating waves in digital fashion. The gaming industry is worth $176 billion, and around 3 billion new players enter it from around the globe. With such potential, it is no surprise that fashion companies are collaborating to produce skins and other gaming items for the users of the metaverse. In partnership with Zepeto, Ralph Lauren launched its digital fashion line of skins to the users, and Balenciaga collaborated with Fortnite to allow players to shop for clothing and other products. Gucci did not stay behind and has fashioned various gaming items for Roblox, Pokemon Go, and Animal Crossing. In a collab with Mythical Games, Burberry, a luxury brand, launched an online game called Blankos Block Party. The game consists of modes, levels, and collectable NFTs for the players.
Interoperability is the next step in the advancement of the metaverse, and Cross-Metaverse Avatars are first to market and the need of the hour. These avatars are truly interoperable as they will allow the users to have true ownership and utility of their digital assets across multiple blockchains and virtual environments. Once they decide on their avatars and wearables, the avatars can be used across all metaverses: social, adult, work, and gaming.
If the increasing number of metaverse users and the projected value of the digital asset management market is taken into account, it is safe to estimate that digital fashion in the metaverse is only set to grow as it empowers users to be whatever version of themselves that they want.