This month's FashMash Focus explored the role that the Metaverse plays within the sustainable fashion movement.
If there’s one topic bubbling consistently in ‘future of fashion’ conversations of late, it’s the metaverse. A huge $74.4 billion is projected to be spent on digital assets by 2025, and many of those are so-called ‘skins’ for gaming characters. Our question then, is where does this cross with wider efforts on sustainability in fashion - is there a world in which these two are indeed complementary to an extent that it impacts the entire footprint of the sector? Our latest Focus roundtable honed in on this topic with a panel of expert members once more. We explored everything from redefining status symbols to the challenge of promoting consumption, alongside the more logistical pros and cons of sustainability in digital fashion.
Here are the highlight takeaways:
ON STATUS SYMBOLS
Sustainable fashion and the metaverse become a particularly interesting conversation if we use it to ‘dematerialise status symbols’. As per a recent article by Solitaire Townsend, Chief Solutionist & Co-Founder of Futerra:"What if likes and follows replaced limos and flashy watches?" In many ways with social media, they already have. So what if the garments in those images did too?
ON THE REBOUND EFFECT
Conversely, there’s a rebound effect to consider with pushing status symbols via the metaverse, and that being a continued cultural norm for newness, resulting in higher demand for consumption in real life alongside. The question is, can digital fashion provide the opportunity for experimenting with identity online so people don’t ever have to in the physical world? Can we counter overconsumption by satiating desire digitally?
ON LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES
While there are ongoing challenges surrounding the footprint of the metaverse itself, for digital fashion, there are some wider elements relative to sustainability to bake in from the start. Namely, it is a clear opportunity to learn from the mistakes the fashion industry has made time and time again. How do we ensure, for instance, we embrace transparency from the get go? How do we define digital sustainability? And how do we set it up in such a way so as not to create digital sweatshops in the process?
FashMash Focus is sponsored by Klaviyo.