“There is a huge opportunity that’s coming soon for fashion designers for dressing your Ready Player Me avatar or any other avatar at all,” said Clare Tattersal, founder, Digital Fashion Week NYC in a talk at the PI Apparel event in Manhattan on Wednesday. “The games industry is so far ahead of us. They have been doing the metaverse for years — over a decade.”
The just two-year-old, multiday extravaganza Digital Fashion Week NYC, through its digital boutique called “The Drip,” is hoping to support viable pathways for fashion designers. Through a partnership with Hologress, or specifically 3D design solution Meta-Tailor, the start-up wants to be a gateway for platform-agnostic digital fashion.
“It’s still in beta. If you buy an NFT right now — you still can’t use it for about another month… But [Hologress] created an ‘avatar zero’ and the designers dress the garment on that, and from there it can be exported into any game,” Tattersal said. “It’s the nearest thing we have at the moment to universal interoperability, which means that you can take a garment onto any platform… A big problem with the metaverse and games, at the moment, is everything is different.”
A garment purchased for one gaming world is unlikely to be adaptable to another digital venue. That issue of lack of harmonization — in many ways — is happening in the sustainable fashion space but with very different real-world repercussions.
Given advancing legislation on extended producer responsibility (as demonstrated in France’s shiny new anti-waste laws) and eco-labeling efforts (driven by the European Commission), another conversation at the event was billed as “A Model of Meaningful Sustainability: How Do We Make Strides Away From Greenwashing?”
The session was moderated by Kristen Fanarakis, founder and creative director, Senza Tempo, which is a made-in-Los Angeles ethical label. Fanarakis was joined by Niccolo Duranti, cofounder of Sustainable Talk with N&N, and Sarah Edwards, chief executive officer of Eunomia, a research and consulting firm based in North America. Eunomia was commissioned by Changing Markets Foundation to research EPR taxes as it relates to driving forward a circular economy for textiles in Europe.
Like many industry advocates, Duranti believes transparency will be the force that changes markets, with Edwards believing policy as the ultimate force to achieving any uniformed scrutiny on ESG.
Fanarakis is skeptical of marketing efforts to sanction conscious consumption (if there is such a thing) and bypass major issues like overproduction or garment utility. She urged brand leaders to lean more into social data (like a living wage) and follow advocacy efforts to put a price on carbon.
Her lingering question was, “Are you doing sustainability for marketing or are you doing sustainability for actual change?”