For most, the metaverse remains uncharted territory – though, with an ever-growing list of cultural happenings taking place in the virtual realm, full immersion seems increasingly inevitable. Case in point: Metaverse Fashion Week, the first of its kind, beginning today and hosting some of fashion’s biggest names over a busy schedule of shows and digital experiences, no invitation or travel plans required. All you need is a laptop browser.

The four-day event is hosted on Decentraland, a virtual platform whereby your 3D avatar can traverse vast digital plains, purchasing plots of ‘land’ as NFTs (the science part: Decentraland utilises MANA cryptocurrency and is powered by the Ethereum blockchain). For the purposes of Metaverse Fashion Week – this year in its debut, though designers from Jonathan Simkhai to Mowalola and Collina Strada have previously shown on other metaverse platforms – Decentraland has created a number of devoted digital spaces, accessible to all, whereby visitors can participate not just in runway shows but panel talks, shopping experiences, even ‘after-parties’. These colourful backdrops are influenced in their design by the longtime fashion capitals, drawing a link between past and future – the ‘Luxury District’, for example, recalls the architecture of Paris’ storied Avenue Montaigne, albeit rendered in futuristic style.

Selfridges, Decentraland, Metaverse Fashion Week
Selfridges, Decentraland

So what can ‘attendees’ to this unique fashion week expect? Yesterday evening, the event was opened by British department store Selfridges, a pioneer of the fashion-meets-crypto field. Earlier this year, it became the first major retailer to announce plans to sell NFTs in store, in collaboration with Paco Rabanne and the estate of Victor Vasarely (these NFTs will feature works by the artist, alongside digitally immortalised versions of the first 12 ‘Unwearable’ dresses created by a young Rabanne in 1966). This project continues for Metaverse Fashion Week, with Selfridges creating a new digital space – reminiscent of the futuristic curves of its Birmingham store – to house these NFTs, the gallery-like interior allowing avatars to take a ‘winding guided tour’ and ‘celebrate and immortalise works of art from the past’.

A number of fashion shows are also taking place across the schedule: Etro will host a fashion show titled ‘Liquid Paisley’ on Friday, focusing on the house’s heritage paisley print, Dolce & Gabbana will show a collection with NFTs of the looks available after the show, and Tommy Hilfiger, Roberto Cavalli and Perry Ellis will also host their own runway events. Elsewhere, there is a focus on shopping. Giuseppe Zanotti will allow users to purchase NFTs of its ‘Cobra’ sneakers, which avatars can then wear in a limited edition of 1,000; Hogan will host Hogan-X, an ‘after-party’ featuring special digital activations, including a selection of NFTs by creative studio Braw Haus, featuring various international artists (each will celebrate the brand’s ‘Untraditional’ sneaker); and ‘metaverse-ready fashion house’ Republiqe will collaborate with French accessory retailer Monnier Paris on a special store of ‘wearable’ outfits from brands including Coach, Ester Manas and Wandler. A performance by musical artist Grimes, in collaboration with Auroboros, will also feature as part of the schedule, as will films by Chanel and Lanvin, showing in a digital movie theatre.

Entering Metaverse Fashion Week is simple: head to the Decentraland website, and choose to enter as a guest or log in using your digital wallet. From there, a full schedule of fashion happenings awaits – simply follow the coordinates to discover each event. §