During Paris Fashion Week, a few designers showed Web3 projects that showed how inclusive, sustainable, and creative they were.
Paris Fashion Week 2022 had 64 shows and 42 presentations, many of which showed what fashion will look like in the future. From the sprayed-on dress that supermodel Bella Hadid wore at the Coperni show to the upcycled fresh looks made from recycled clothes, Paris Fashion Week did a great job showing trends for the coming seasons.
Most Fashion Week attendees and designers focused on physical things, like in-person fashion shows and tangible designs. However, a few designers used Web3 features to show the huge digital potential of fashion.
Web3 democratizes fashion
Victor Weinsanto, a French designer who started his own brand in 2020 after working for two years with the popular Jean Paul Gaultier, explained this by saying that virtual worlds let people design without having to use real fabrics and materials.“In a sense this ensures sustainability, even though a lot of energy and time is used to create such collections,” he said.
Weinsanto showed off his first digital collection, M3TALOVE, right after his fashion show on Sept. 26 in the Marais neighborhood of Paris. The M3TALOVE collection was shown as 3D holograms in a series of glass cases in a dark room with bright lights and a DJ. This was different from how fashion week usually works. Since Weinsanto and the K-Pop girl band Lightsum worked together on the collection, this seemed like a good place to hold it.
According to Richard Hobbs, creator and chief operating officer of Brand New Vision (BNV), the Web3 platform powering M3TALOVE, the idea for this collection was inspired by the possibility of fusing K-pop culture with fashion.
“This was a collaborative experience with Victor presenting his concepts to each of the eight members of Lightsum, who then gave their comments and suggestions before BNV converted the sketches into digital outfits, along with individual customized avatars for the eight girls.”
Weinsanto went on to say that the M3TALOVE collection was one of the most effective ways to display a collaboration between music, the Metaverse, and fashion using nonfungible tokens (NFTs).“I wanted a collection that could be wearable, but still have details that would be impossible to incorporate in real life.”
One of the most important things about Web3 fashion is that it goes beyond realistic ideas. Hobbs said that M3TALOVE is a completely digital collection, which allows for more creative ideas and is also good for the environment.
“BNV’s business is digital fashion. If people can wear more virtual products and express themselves in that world while consuming less in the real world, that’s probably a good thing,” he said. It has been said that a typical New York Fashion Week releases up to 48,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Hobbs makes a significant point.
At Paris Fashion Week this year, the French luxury fashion house Balmain also showed off its Web3 presence. “Balmain Thread” is the brand’s Web3 hub. It is powered by the XRP Ledger and is meant to bring their community together through NFT projects. Txampi Diz, Balmain’s chief marketing officer, told that Olivier Rousteing, the house’s creative director since 2011, and the rest of the Balmain team are all very aware of the need to make fashion more accessible to everyone. Diz says that this is what led to the making of the Balmain Thread.
Diz added that when they picked up their tickets for the Balmain Festival, participants were also given the chance to become a part of the Balmain Thread community. In addition, he mentioned that those individuals who were live-streaming the festival were given links to participate on Balmain.com.
“And all of those in the audience on the evening of the festival were invited to join by launching ‘The Moment,’ which is a mobile photo experience app powered by MintNFT that allows participants to transform their favorite Balmain Festival fashion moment into their own unique NFT.”
Diz said that the main goal of Balmain Thread, even though it is new, is to give people who have never been involved in Paris Fashion Week new ways to connect with the brand’s fans while also giving them access to the event.
“Inclusion is a keyword in fashion, as we all know that the old vision of exclusivity and closed-off experiences is just not feasible for the new generation of fashion lovers. Web3 is one of the many interesting new tools that allow us to open our world to those who wish to enter.”
Famous fashion houses like Balmain are starting to use this kind of idea, and new brands are starting to use Web3 experiences to make their products easier for both consumers and creators to use.
During fashion week this year, the Paris-based fashion company Faith Connexion showed off their Web3 platform, Faith Tribe. Maria Buccellati, co-owner and co-founder of Faith Connexion, told Cointelegraph that Faith Tribe is an incubator under Faith Connexion that lets independent creators design and customize digital and physical fashion assets that can then be turned into NFTs.
“We had a showroom at Paris Fashion Week this year to display some of the collaborative names and labels that are part of Faith Tribe. This makes Faith Connexion an inclusive brand, which is different from the major players like LVMH. We are leveraging Web3 to give power back to creators.”
Buccellati told that during Paris Fashion Week, Faith Connexion announced that Gavin Magnus, a 15-year-old pop star and social media influencer, will be working with the brand to make an NFT line.
The co-owner of Faith Connexion, Wahid Chammas, also told that Faith Connexion is already working with hundreds of new designers to help them grow by giving them tools like virtual studios, IP registrations, and NFT minting.
Chammas noted that in contrast to BNV, which is solely concerned with digital collections, Faith Connexion places a strong emphasis on the physical output that is linked with digital twins.“We believe that any designer will be able to create and curate for us under their own brand, while we enable NFT tags to ensure consumers have digital ownership,” he said. The concept of NFTs for physical designs will also make it possible for designers working under the umbrella of Faith Connexion to have wearables in Metaverse environments that may be used to clothe avatars.
“We made it clear that those joining the Balmain Thread community would never need to master any of the complex workings of crypto or blockchains in order to engage creatively with the house – all memberships were minted on the XRP Ledger, while MintNFT guaranteed security by proving authenticity via their video verification technology.”
Even though Balmain chose this path, some experts in the fashion industry think it’s important to teach designers and creators at big events like Paris Fashion Week. Enara Nazarova, vice president of Metaverse at Hype, an agency that helps brands get started in the Metaverse, told Cointelegraph that Hype held its second digital fashion soirée at Paris Fashion Week to teach people about Web3:
“Inspired by the success of our New York Fashion Week soirée, we convened at the top of Centre Pompidou, where we welcomed the leading builders in the Web3 space to discuss what comes next for the fashion industry.”
Nazarova thinks that Web3 has made progress in the crypto space, but she also said that educating users and getting them signed up is important for driving adoption. Even though this is happening slowly, she is sure that Web3 will have a bigger presence at major fashion events in the future.
“Web2 brands can’t ignore digital fashion’s power to connect with millions of consumers through virtual products. Yet transitioning from Web2 to Web3 is not a one-size-fits-all solution, so companies have to embrace experimentation. I think the opportunities for fashion to leverage Web3 infrastructure are just starting to emerge.”