People are paying real cash for virtual clothes and fashion houses are noticing

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  • By Elizabeth Howcroft / Reuters, LONDON

People care about what avatars wear. Hiroto Kai, a Japanese-inspired designer, spent the night designing clothes for avatars when the virtual world Decentraland revealed in June that users could make and even sell their own clothing.

He said that he sold kimonos for US$140 each and made US$15,000 to US$20,000 in three weeks.

Virtual possessions are a real selling point, even though it may seem strange to spend real money on clothing that doesn’t actually exist. “metaverse” — online environments where people can congregate, walk around, meet friends and play games.

Digital artist and Japan enthusiast Kai’s real name is Noah. He is a 23 year-old American living in New Hampshire, USA.

He made as much in three weeks as he would in a year working at his music store job. He quit to become a full time worker. designer.

“It just took off,”Kai said. “It was a new way to express yourself and it’s walking art, that’s what’s so cool about it… When you have a piece of clothing, you can go to a party in it, you can dance in it, you can show off and it’s a status symbol.”

In Decentraland, clothing for avatars — known as “wearables” — can be bought and sold on the blockchain in the form of a crypto asset called a non-fungible token (NFT).

Kai’s kimonos include exquisite crushed blue velvet pieces with golden dragon trim.

NFTs gained popularity in the early part of this year as crypto enthusiasts and speculators flocked to purchase the new asset. It is a digital-only item that allows you to own online-only items such trading cards and land.

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The niche crypto assets are also capturing the attention of some of the world’s biggest fashion companies, keen to associate themselves with a new generation of gamers — although most of their forays so far are for marketing.

Louis Vuitton created a metaverse game in which players can collect NFTs. Burberry has also created NFT accessories branded by Blankos Block Party. This game is owned by Mythical Games Inc. Gucci sells non-NFT clothing for avatars in Roblox.

“Your avatar represents you,” said Imani McEwan, a Miami-based fashionNFT and model enthusiasts. “Basically what you’re wearing is what makes you who you are.”

McEwan stated that he has spent US$15,000-US$16,000 on 70 NFT items since January using the profits from cryptocurrency investments. McEwan’s first purchase was a sweater with a bitcoin theme. He also recently purchased a black beret that his friend had made.

It is difficult for us to estimate the size of the NFT wearables industry. According to NonFungible.com (a Web site that tracks the NFT market), the wearables sales volume in Decentraland was US$750,000 in its first half of the year. This is an increase of US$267,000 from the same period last years.

Some believe that virtual shops and wearables could be the future for retail.

“Instead of scrolling through a feed and shopping online, you can have a more immersive brand experience by exploring a virtual space — whether you are shopping for your online avatar or buying physical products that can be shipped to your door,”Julia Schwartz is the director of Republic Realm. This virtual real-estate investment vehicle has raised US$10,000,000 and built a shopping experience. mallDecentraland

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For NFT enthusiasts, online fashionIt does not replace physical purchases.

Paula Sello, and Alissa Ulbekova, the cofounders of digital, disagree. fashionAuroboros, a start up, claims it could be an environmentally-friendly alternative for fast food fashion.

Customers can send Auroboros an image of themselves and have clothing digitally added for £60 to £1,000 (US$83.19 to US$1,386.50).

Sello stated that virtual garments could reduce the waste of consumers purchasing clothes for social media. He cited a 2018 Barclaycard survey that found that 9 percent British shoppers had purchased clothes for social media photos and then returned them.

“We need to have the shift now in fashion. The industry simply cannot continue,” Sello said.

RTFKT, a virtual sneaker company, sells limited-edition NFTs that represent sneakers that can be customized. “worn”You can use Snapchat filters to create virtual worlds.

“It really took off when COVID started and loads of people went more online,”Steven Vasilev, RTFKT’s cofounder and chief executive officer, stated.

He said that the company has sold US$7 million and limited edition sneakers were sold in auctions for US$10,000-US$60,000.

The majority of our customers are in their 20s or 30s, but some customers are as young as 15 years old.

RTFKT’s NFTs can also be used as a token to receive a free physical version of the shoe, but one in 20 customers do not redeem that token.

“I didn’t do the redemption stuff because I couldn’t be bothered,”Jim McNelis (a Dallas-based NFT buyer) founded NFT company, nft42. “I try to avoid the physical stuff as much as possible.”

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