As technology continuously advances, the concept of the metaverse is becoming more relevant to society and fashion. A metaverse is a digital world where people can have avatars that all exist in a virtual environment. Think of a parallel universe, but digital and you have control over how you want to create it. Now, how does this apply to fashion and hair? Companies like Fabricant, which is a Dutch couture company, sell virtual garments that people’s avatars can use online like in VRChat. VRChat is a platform where people can choose avatars and socialize through a virtual world. One of Fabricant’s products sold for €9,000 to be used in VRChat. A ridiculous price for an item that you can’t even wear in real life, right? Wrong. The concept of “skins” has existed for a few years now especially thanks to the gaming industry. Skins are outfits, hairstyles, accessories, etc. that virtual characters can equip in order to customize them. One famous game that heavily utilizes skins is Fortnite. Fortnite is a battle royale game worth $30 billion and has become a social space as well. It’s also where Travis Scott held his virtual concert. Fortnite allows players to create their own avatars that are a representation of themselves, however, creating avatars and virtual worlds is not limited to Fortnite as many games and platforms allow users to do so. It is a form of self-expression, which is what fashion has been for many people for a long time. Not only are these digital fashion luxuries an expression of identity, but are forms of clout and status, which is already a prevalent practice in the real world. Many gamers invest a lot of money and time to buy clothes and hairstyles to create these avatars into their ideal personas, which is why fashion/hair can be so successful virtually and is a growing industry.
However, having virtual items does beg the question of how these expensive, non-physical items can be prevented from being distributed infinitely. Ever heard of NFT’s? NFT stands for nonfungible token, which is proof of ownership protected by blockchain technology. This is what prevents the product from being copied and/or stolen. Famous fashion brands like Gucci and Balenciaga have created virtual products since there is so much potential in this growing industry. Having a digital luxury/item equates to large margins as there is no physical product, so creators don’t have to worry about raw materials, distribution/supply chains, etc. A tremendous amount of costs would be saved. It is also more sustainable and humane as it would not require factories, or underpaid workers. There would also be no overstock, which leads to product waste. Having virtual products means endless possibilities even when it comes to creativity because designers would no longer be held back by physical limitations; creativity can flow. And just because it started off as a virtual product doesn’t mean it can’t be recreated into a physical form for people to purchase. It is evident that the virtual industry holds so much potential for not only fashion, but hair. There may not be large hair companies joining hands yet with social platforms or games, but this industry is still in its infancy and all of these benefits can be applied to the hair industry as well. Welcome to the metaverse.