Decentraland's inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week had fashion critics and reporters asking the same question. "Why does the future look so much like the past?"
True, the often pixelated images and glitchy graphics harked back to Y2K-era avatars. However, given fashion's love affair with nostalgia, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
As the world embraces the metaverse, we're seeing it inform IRL trends by evolving already-established aesthetics and adding an element of fantasy to take them to the next level. The concept of dressing like a video game character fits with nostalgic fashion trends like Millenium and sexy dressing as well as subcultures like fairycore or cyberpunk.
On a darker note, post-apocalyptic aesthetics have been bubbling up in response to the bleak state of the world. The notion of futuristic dressing hasn't varied from what was imagined in the nineties, with pop culture influences like The Fifth Element and The Matrix still reflected in physical and digital fashion today.
Styles lending themselves to these zeitgeists experienced an upswing in investment in Q1 2022 YoY. New arrivals for micro-mini skirts are up 56%, leather is up 58%, combat boots are up 20% and platform shoes rose 161% YoY. Pantone's Very Peri is a fitting color of the year as purple is synonymous with digital creativity and the metaverse. The shade has experienced a 60% increase in new arrivals for Q1 2022 YoY.
A digital avatar crossover with physical fashion was also prevalent during Fall 2022 shows, indicating what people will be wearing throughout the year. Cyber realities inspired Dolce & Gabbana's collection, noted in the proportion and silhouettes of its tailoring and iridescent colors, while catsuits at Coperni and Balmain were reminiscent of digital skins.
As Metaverse Fashion Week evolves to be more streamlined and brands sharpen their strategies, we can expect higher-res shows and designers to push the boundaries to create truly futuristic and limitless designs. In the meantime, the pixelated nostalgia works in tandem with IRL fashion and serves as a reminder we still have one foot in each universe.
* A selection of this data featured in Vogue Business - Is the metaverse influencing real-life trends?