Digital Fashion Week NYC Is Bringing The Runway To The Metaverse

February 21, 2023

     The future of fashion is looking increasingly digitally integrated as technology rolls through the industry, morphing the ever changing landscape once again. With the onset of emerging innovations such as Cryptocurrency, NFTs, The Metaverse, XR, and a plethora of other technologies, participants of the fashion industry, like other industries, have been enabled to experiment and augment their brands and products using these advancements. On Saturday Feb 11th, Digital Fashion Week, a hybrid physical/virtual fashion exhibition debuted a Metaverse fashion experience with animations composed by 17+ creatives and a runway show featuring 4 designers. Through the use of Metaverse Integration and web3 technology, this unique concept is able to bring together an array of fashion designers and creatives from around the world and showcase their latest creations to a larger, global audience. Through the combination of virtual and physical elements, this cutting-edge approach to fashion allows people from around the globe to come together and experience the beauty of the fashion world in an immersive and engaging manner.

Models make their way through the runway, the audience and media take photos.
Attendants watching the virtual fashion animations curated by designers before the IRL event.
Models waiting for their walking queue.
Designer animations including digital wearables.
Clare Tattersall, Founder and Director of Digital Fashion Week.

     The Virgin Hotel venue filled up with guests quickly while models prepared backstage to showcase designs by Right Direction, DOPE Universe, The MOS brand and Sylvia Heise. Those walking the runway represented these accredited designers in style, leaving the audience longing for more. The well received virtual runway experience and engaging conversations around digital expression painted a unique outcome for a future of creative freedom that knows no boundaries. Technology has become a fundamental accelerator to many industries and the significance of the upcoming digital economy is apparent. Major luxury houses like Balmain, Burberry, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Givenchy and various others have been exploring how Blockchain technology can benefit their creative direction, logistics, marketing and various other departments for the last two years. We’ve seen a cultural integration with web3 more so than any other iteration of technology in the last century, outside of the original adoption of the internet.

Christina Kim, NJ/NYC based Hair/Makeup Artist setting up a model's runway look.
Utarah, Model and Designer.
A gorgeous NYC view offered by the Virgin Hotel.
Brooklyn/NYC based photographer Mike Santiago backstage.
Neferttiti, Model, Singer and Musician - backstage.
Dileina in modern, oversized women's wear - backstage.
A small production crew coordinate interviews.
Angela Jean Lopshire, model.
Aidan Henri, Chicago based model - backstage.
Mike J, fashion model and artist.
Runway director Rick Davy coordinating staff backstage.
Apollo Bual, model.

     Digital Fashion Week aims to influence the future of fashion by exploring innovations that can enable more powerful design concepts and consumer products. With the emerging concern over digital identity, fashion is quickly evolving to not only suit one’s identity in real life - but also in the virtual world we are recognizing. Clare Tattersall, Founder and Director of Digital Fashion Week is experimenting with several initiatives to effectively rework the fashion design process and change the way we intersect with the space.

“Each season we bring together innovators and creatives in new formats and collaborations to push the boundaries of what is possible in fashion experiences. Consequently, each season the innovators are moving the needle forward, it is not always perfect, but it is often the imperfection that is so exciting as it reminds us that we are making change in this industry, it is a long road of challenge and change. I am equally astounded by the designers' ability to adapt to change, to learn new technologies and to drive their skills forward.” says Clare Tattersall.

What kind of integrations do you want to see with technology and fashion going forward? 

“I would like to see more collaborations -- I truly believe that collaborations and partnerships are the only way to create a better future. The siloed, protective practices of the past are not really conducive to progress.

I am perhaps the most excited about the progress of AR -- I think it perfectly captures what is best about the fusion of IRL x URL. Technology should enhance human connections and experiences, AR easily provides layers within our world which will become increasingly nuanced.”

What do you have planned for 2023, and how can designers, artists and models get involved?

“We have more experiences planned for 2023. We will be expanding into more cities, providing immersive events and thought leadership. We are building partnerships and collaborations, providing more robust platforms for independent designers to maintain agency over their work and careers, while shedding a light on emerging innovation that can facilitate sustainable practices in the fashion industry and help make the world a better place.” -  Clare Tattersall.

Solava, model making her way down the runway stairs.
Jahmoy Jenner, model.
Evelka, Model, wearing The MOS Brand.

     This modern platform truly encourages industry professionals to connect and create new opportunities for collaboration with one another across creative, business and personal realms. One of web3's most underrated accompanying elements is networking. The technology branches an intersection for creatives, entrepreneurs, tech moguls and a multitude of professionals through dozens of industries. These integrations tend to bring in a very shuffled crowd which provides people an opportunity to expand their network with like minded individuals of different backgrounds and experiences. Hybridness has become a preference in many modernities and the integration of tech across every industry moving forward seems inevitable.

     Digital Fashion Week will make rounds through London in February following its NYC commencement. The lineup of events include two days of immersive web3 events, networking and deep discussions. Participants were offered a Metaverse fashion experience,  animations, virtual try-ons in XR/AR, NFT Drops, an IRL runway show,  and educational conversations around the virtual experience. A variety of panel discussion speakers such as Ori Ohayon(NFT BAZL), Jasmine Bacchus(Microsoft), Lorne Sugarman(TheMetaverseGroup) and many more led talks on hot topics relating to the space. A networker event also brought together event participants to connect and discuss opportunities for growing in fashion and digital industries. Special guests included attendants representing Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry and Ralph Lauren. Media partners from Vogue Business, Vogue Italia, Fashion UnitedUNRVLD and GLOSSY were additionally in attendance.

“The speakers were very well informed and not only experts in their fields, but vibrant and passionate as well. Clare Tattersall did an excellent job of bringing everyone together.

I am excited to see how digital fashion will influence the mainstream and push the envelope of creativity and inspire modern tailored looks. I am also excited to see where designers and consumers will take sustainable fashion this year. Beyond that, I’m seeing a move in the market to luxury investment pieces by new customers and access to luxury wear and accessories becoming available in new and unexpected platforms. I expect to see fashion blur the lines of art just a little more.” - Kimberly Babin, Panelist Speaker

Guests socializing between designer sets.

     In September 2022 Digital Fashion Week closed out at 2.7K visitors, 2K+ Metaverse exhibition visitors, 55 designers and agencies exhibiting, 29 brands in panel discussions, and 12 speakers. With the rise in adoption, experimentation and acceleration of web3 technologies and digital innovation, initiatives like DFW are conduits in educating the general population on the possibilities of the digital future. With the proper resources and exposure, millions of potential contributors can tap into a digital universe, creating an infinite amount of monetary and artistic possibilities. The birth of the Metaverse and digital collectibles has shifted the playing ground for how creators interact with consumers. 

      New York Fashion Week has been a long talked phenomenon since the 1940’s. It attracts some of the most respected media outlets, designers, personalities and creatives together to celebrate culture and art through exhibiting sophisticated collections of garments, twice a year – in February and September. Digital integrations and conversation around the Metaverse, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Digital Property have become ingrained in modern culture today, including pop and entertainment, proving it is more than plausible for technology to affect us outside of direct interaction. Additionally, there is an unspoken-of cool factor attached to the addition of tech in these generally sleek and carefully directed functions. Superseding its stereotype of being overly complicated and boring, web3 instead introduces technology as accessible and adoptable tools in a fun package.

Model Joe Johnson arrives for the follow up fashion show event at Virgin Hotel, NYC.

     A vast majority of traditionalists are still perplexed by the idea of virtual immersion being integrated into major industries but it is a change we have to accept. We will certainly be seeing a more refined integration of NFTs and Cryptocurrency over the next decade, however there is a lot of trial and error to be attempted still before we find a happy medium. Speculatively speaking, digital integrations have the potential to increase brand exposure, consumer engagement, fan-interactability, and so much more. It would be an oversight to say that tech moguls and major fashion industry representatives aren't keeping their starstruck eyes on Digital Fashion Week moving forward.

Evelka, Model, wearing The MOS Brand.

      If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Blockchain, Crypto, NFTs, Metaverse, entertainment and more - the biggest multi-day Web3 social convention on the West Coast is returning to LA March 20-23, 2023 as Outer Edge(formerly NFT | LA). The highly anticipated festival for creators, technologists, artists and entrepreneurs indulges in the spirit of freedom, creativity, hope, and empowering those who are passionate about building. Thousands of participants gather from all over the world to delve in well curated education  during the substance packed week. Witness art activations, panels and moderations from esteemed creators and power houses, live performances, inclusive events, high-level networking and the very best Los Angeles night life has to offer. Outer Edge is an experiential event like no other - immerse yourself in LA's new role as a global conduit for the adoption of Web3 in sports, music, art, and entertainment.

     This year’s event includes heavy hitting participants like actor and producer William Shatner, investor and 10x NYT best-selling author Neil Strauss, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Animoca Brands Yat Siu, LA Rams CCO Jennifer Prince, 2-time NBA all-star Baron Davis, IBM Web3 & Blockchain Services Lead Shyam Nagarajan, Founder of What’s Trending and Co-Founder of Peace Inside Live Shira Lazar.. just to name a few.

     To attend Outer Edge 2023, you can purchase a GA or VIP ticket here; for participation, collaborations, sponsors, affiliates, volunteers and more, submit an application here.

About The Author:

Joshua Sauceda is a highly-active NJ/NYC based creative director with a focus on progressive photojournalism, documentary, art curation, cinematography, writing and filmmaking. Joshua's recent endeavors include community building, public relations and investing within the web3 space. By telling culturally important stories through media capture and a plethora of other creative solutions, Josh has a goal of empowering motivated creators and entrepreneurs.





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