Metaverse and NFT: the beginning of a new era or a passing phenomenon?

Virtual reality and Non-Fungible Tokens are growing sharply, but Fashion & Luxury experts warn about their actual impact

The platform created by Mark Zuckerberg and the digital authenticity certificates have been the hot topic in recent months also in the Fashion & Luxury sector. As these realities catch on, though, the question as to whether these are revolutionary phenomena or temporary trends arises.

Record sales for NFTs

From a strictly economic point of view, the year 2021 was without a doubt the year of NFTs. Non-Fungible Tokens, or certificates of digital authenticity which designate contents which are intangible and can be duplicated to infinity, have, in fact, reached a value of 25 billions of dollars. The sales of these virtual works have concerned both art and fashion, reaching, then, all the way to videos and music.

The price of the tokens has increased exponentially, and the world of art was the fastest in cashing in, thanks to millionaire auctions. Even some of the most important global luxury designers, in the meantime, started selling their own NFTs. A significant growth, even if towards the end of the year there were signs of a slowdown.

The rise of Metaverse: a new challenge for luxury?

The topic of digital certificates is closely linked to virtual reality, which has just recently returned to the main scene thanks to Metaverse. The platform created by Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, is, to use his own words, “a sense of virtual reality that intends to replace the Internet, uniting virtual and real life and creating an amusement park with no end and open to everyone”.

Some observers already see a new challenge for fashion and luxury in this universe. It is estimated, in fact, that 75% of purchases is by now influenced by online channels, while large and small brands have not hesitated to announce their entry into Metaverse. The appeal of articles purchased in a virtual world, though, may not be as long-lived as expected.

The key factors to last in Fashion & Luxury

An interesting editorial published in Luxury Society identifies precisely three key factors based on which it will be difficult for virtual reality to replace physical reality: first, the power of real life. To cite the effective example provided, observing a digital tool, like an NFT will never be like seeing The Birth of Venus by Botticelli at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Second, the commitment of brands towards artisan skills. On one hand, businesses cannot abandon such an extraordinary heritage, which translates into unique and hand-made objects; on the other hand, consumers will never substitute this unique experience with a standardized, unlimited and sterile offering.

The third point described turns out to be the least evocative but is perhaps the most tangible: technological obsolescence. Technological development is, in fact, so fast that a digital product purchased today may be impossible to picture in just a few years. The example of VHS and floppy discs made in the article applies perfectly.

That Metaverse may, therefore, represent more than just a passing trend is still to be seen, but without a doubt Bizeta solutions remain a strong point for all Retailers in Fashion & Luxury.


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