Web3 fashion is subverting the narrative at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) this fall. Fashion brands native to the Web3 space will be premiering in real life (IRL) at a two-day show put on by Nolcha Shows.
Nolcha Shows has been actively curating events for 14 seasons. Still, this year there will be a Web3 edition featuring Web3 native brands, along with a panel on Web3’s impact on the fashion industry's future.
In the last few years, fashion industry giants have been jumping into the digital universe at lightning speed. Gucci started to accept crypto in stores earlier this year, alongside its metaverse and nonfungible token (NFT) involvement with Roblox. Other major brands such as Balenciaga, Hermes and Phillipp Plein have also announced their own plans for Web3 integration.
While these brands have collectively made millions from their exploration of decentralized technology, brands native to the Web3 space are turning back to IRL events for visibility.
Cointelegraph spoke with Arthur Mandel, the co-founder of Nolcha Shows, to understand more about why Web3 native brands are heading back to physical reality.
The fashion brand ChainGuardians is one of the Web3 native brands which is taking to the NYFW runway. It’s a brand that leans heavily on the trending term “phygital,” which describes Web3 assets which combine aspects of physical and digital reality.
For example, NFT wearables are those which can be utilized in the Metaverse but also have a physical twin. Mandel says phygital products will lead as one of the most compelling Web3 integrations into the fashion industry:
“Phygital products that will blur realities and enable people to form numerous personal identities in both worlds — virtual and IRL.”
He also stressed that such products can be projected to also help brands cut costs on physical products and retail services.
The fashion industry held its first-ever metaverse fashion week in Decentraland on March 23-27 of this year. However, Mandel says for brands native to these digital spaces participating IRL events helps forward the Web3 principles of accessibility and community:
“The reason web3 native brands opt for IRL events is to lower the threshold adaptation. Right now, the entry point and access to bigger crowds in a meaningful way is at in-person events.”
According to the fashion industry veteran, it’s important to remember that while Web3 provides another dimension for in-person events, it’s not a full replacement:
“Phygital is cyclical and reciprocal. It’s about creating IRL products and experiences that will blur the lines between real life and virtual reality."
There is still a balance to be struck between those inside and out of Web3.
Right now Mandel says “tech jargon that people don’t understand and actually fear so prefer to ignore.” He believes that the flow of legacy brands entering the space and Web3 native brands stepping out into physical reality will help dismantle these barriers.