As digital fashion evolves, the rift between its NFT and non-NFT versions deepens.
Last month Meta announced its Avatars Store, proposing to further customize the 3D Meta Avatars launched earlier this year. Along with the free outfit options, Avatars Store intends selling designer clothes, and it started strong with Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Brown. In a proper web2 fashion (pun intended ?), the outfits exist only on Meta platforms and cannot be used or sold elsewhere. So far nothing out of character for the centralized social media giant.
However, its latest partnership with a digital fashion company DRESSX did cause controversy. DressX started with web2 fashion, but the advent of NFTs opened a new door for its development, and it has been creating and selling digital fashion NFTs since.
Last week DressX made a turnaround and announced its collaboration with Meta’s Avatars Store, reigniting the debate about the future of digital fashion, as well as the one about the open-vs-closed metaverse. Unsurprisingly, the web3 space did not take it well, with some important players sharing their indignation over DressX’s participation in Meta’s “digital cage”.
While the move is indeed the antithesis of web3 and its principles of decentralization, freedom and self-sovereignty, it can be comprehensible from the commercial point of view. Digital fashion is only as important as the occasions it can be worn on, and it happens that Meta is in control of a big part of them. Its avatars can already be used as stickers in Instagram’s and Facebook’s stories and messages, with metaverse developments that will undoubtedly follow.
However, it is not certain if Meta will be able to keep its strategic advantage, however huge it may be. As users progressively grow conscious about the importance of decentralization and the dangers of a closed digital ecosystems like Meta’s, open metaverses become a real alternative. Moreover, an increasing number of online services are eager to implement some of the web3 elements, like the NFTs for example.
What does that mean for digital fashion? We would go on a limb here and say that creating designs in an NFT form, allowing its owners to use it across platforms and trade freely, could be a better long-term strategy. This does not stop a company from working in web2 fashion of course… but crypto community can be opinionated, especially when it comes to the epitome of centralization flaws, which is Meta.
In the meantime, companies like The Fabricant and DIGITALAX continue advancing digital fashion in the web3 direction, forging themselves the right image.
NFT fashion is yet to show all its potential.