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To talk about fashion in the metaverse, it is necessary to do it with a cool head, with a posthumous perspective on events that, in the moment, the intellect spirals out of control in the wake of excessive enthusiasm. By avoiding a plethora of sensations in favor of a Wordsworthian emotion unearthed at rest, we can now focus on what the new digital dimension holds for fashion and creativity, limiting the usual lorem ipsum of names and numbers. After several projects that herald the start of the fashion market in this unknown land of the web (from the CryptoJanky NFT collection created last February by Gucci and SUPERPLASTIC to the Plein Sport line presented in Milan by the humanoid Romeo 1.0) , kicked off the first Fashion Week in history’s metaverse, which took place from March 24 to 27, 2022. While the prospect of an ether coexisting with the mundane in a land of pixels has enticed the fanatics of innovation as an end in itself, there are many who look with skepticism at this further experiment which has our individuality as the only guinea pig. Consider the increasingly contradictory approach to social media.

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A declining popularity of companies and users towards influencers, as well as a parallel turn of many fashion houses towards the abolition of Instagram and Facebook profiles (enough to mention Bottega Venice), confirmed that desire for concreteness that is lacking in today’s world, with an attached decree-law passed by the Norwegian government that will mandate the use of filters in sponsored content from the summer. The meaning of the metaverse, therefore, seems to waver in the face of evidence of an underlying fatigue that, finally, wants to return to qualitative norms, free from indeterminate consumerism and more focused on authenticity. Yet the mass adherence of brands to this elusive revolutionary program raises serious doubts about the direction fashion has taken and how it intends to reconcile its dual nature as a work of art and a commercial product. On the one hand, the metaverse certainly offers untapped creative possibilities. Without physical formulas to regulate and limit the imagination, any form can come to life, gravity is mocked and weight is replaced by an eternal elusiveness, just as colors and transparencies are no longer subject to the materiality of the fabric, of the leather, of the substance. Emerging brands like AVAVAV, led by creative Beate Karlsson, and independent designers like Masha Batsii, whose bags are loved by none other than Kanye Westfind in NFT another means of expression and digression for a young and sparkling flair, who wants to break out of the box by challenging the impossible.

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However, it is equally true that before them the big names in fashion, from Paul Poiret ad Alexander McQueen, have acted on the tangible of an existence made above all of flesh and blood, a truth that has recently been reflected in an experiment and research into innovative materials that trigger a process of environmental regeneration. The attraction to novelty is understandable, as is the reduction in production costs, but the problem remains. We are always talking about fashion, clothing, a discipline where the abstract has no reason to exist, because what good is buying a dress if you can’t (physically) wear it? In addition to the indie realities, there are also the big names of couture, who presented themselves en masse at this multimedia fashion week with collections and proposals of clothing and accessories limited to the metaverse and for sale exclusively through cryptocurrencies. Longing for the innovation or action necessary to always uphold the appreciation of highly discerning luxury consumers? A question that may never be answered. The debate is widening: there is already digital body positivity, with avatar models always slim and perfect, of cultural inclusion and appropriation, of translating unresolved issues into another dimension, without the bureaucratic rants over sales. of digital objects whose ownership is certified solely through blockchain technology.

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Despite the optimistic economic forecasts of virtual fashion (which will reach fifty-five billion by 2030 according to investment bank Morgan Stanley), we remain stuck in an oceanic shoal, stranded on the metaverse’s raison d’être and the need to invest in a digital wardrobe. Apparently a forced containment pandemic was not enough to make people see the value of working on knowledge, to encourage companies and entrepreneurs to constantly think in digital terms. The metaverse will thrive and expand the size of our living space into a Sims replica world where our lookalikes can experience experiences that we have been denied. Nevertheless, the pleasure of experiencing the concrete will remain, as will the pleasure of feeling the texture of a fabric on the skin, of knowing the artisanal processes that place handmade bags on our shoulders, keeping the experiential value of real life intact. stays. In a famine of fantasy, in a crisis of human values, in a world torn apart where interventionism is more important than ever, thinking about a digital escape may be like a phrase never uttered, but gone down in history, where a Silicon Valley incarnated in Marie Antoinette, in the face of our hunger for life, our lack of bread, she begins with a perpetual “let them eat brioches”.

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