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Hackers (1995)

Metaverse Fashion Week 2023: log on or touch grass?

As the second edition of Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week goes live, we round up some of the best events, exhibitions, and parties

Moving your avatar around Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week feels like lugging a very old and very decrepit relative around a local shopping centre: constant false starts, architectural obstacles, slow responses. But it’s also the future, so while it’s popular to ridicule the metaverse for its laggard graphics, the technology has yet to reach its full potential. The 2023 edition of MVFW will return to Decentraland on March 28 and will run until March 31 with over 60 designers and artists on its roster – among them Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, and Diesel, alongside web-natives DressX, The Fabricant, and the Institute of Digital Fashion

Last year, more than 108,000 guests logged onto the debut MVFW and attended URL concerts, store openings, exhibitions, fashion shows, and afterparties from the likes of AUROBOROS, Grimes, and Guo Pei. But a lot can change in 12 months and this year’s event will arrive in the midst of a so-called crypto bear market (where investment and cultural interest in the metaverse has dwindled) meaning this might be one of the last attempts for its organisers to win back public approval. Perhaps that’s why curators have christened the theme of the incoming MVFW as “Future Heritage” as part of an effort to connect digital designers with fashion’s time-worn institutions.

That thinking has materialised in immersive experiences dedicated to Vivienne Westwood and Cristóbal Balenciaga, as well as rising designer Bradley Sharpe. It’s also worth noting that even despite ebbing enthusiasm – and the disgruntled reactions of dinosaur fashion editors forced to sit on their laptops and squint at pixels – most people will only ever experience fashion week from behind a screen anyway. Most people don’t experience the swish and the smell and the aura of designer fashion, but anyone with a WiFi connection can get involved with MVFW. Below, we spotlight a couple of the events worth logging onto at the 2023 edition of Metaverse Fashion Week. 


Billed as a “thank you letter for fifty years of fashion inspiration”, art collective Vueltta has engineered an immersive installation slash code-breaking game that will run throughout the four days of MVFW at the Genesis Plaza. Players will be tasked with decoding a cryptic while educating themselves on the late designer’s most iconic collections and campaigns. The aim is to connect Westwood’s spirit of rebellion to the counter-cultural creativity of artists working within the digital landscape. The whole thing will come to a climax on March 30 during the Dear Vivienne catwalk where people will be invited to walk in their most “anti-fashion” wearables. Click here to receive your Dear Vivienne letter to play the game.


Inspired by Lorenzo Riva’s collection of 9,000 Cristóbal Balenciaga drawings, RLTY, Art Consulting, and Animal Concerts have transformed some of the couturier’s most well-known creations into a series of wearables. “Long before there were non-fungible token drops and crypto, Cristóbal took fashion, and women, to the moon,” the collective say, referencing the legendary designer’s sack dresses and cocoon coats. “With these design innovations, he achieved what is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women.” Visitors can purchase these designs (dubbed Cristóbal Balenciaga New Code) at the Genesis Plaza throughout MVFW. 


Glenn Martens has already opened up his IRL fashion shows to thousands of members of the public and this year’s MVFW will further break down the boundaries between the have-seats and the have-nots. Diesel and HAPE communities will take over the D-CAVE space in the heart of Decentraland’s fashion district for an interactive fashion week party where absolutely anyone and everyone is on the guest list. The event is being advertised with a BoredApe-style primate but don’t let that put you off – there will be multiple wearable NFT airdrops for all guests and a playlist curated by Public Pressure. 


This season, the Institute of Digital Fashion is questioning the point and purpose of clothing at the end of the world. Partnering with rising designer Bradley Sharpe – who is already pushing the conventions of IRL fashion – the IoDF will be launching a series of wearable NFTs. It’s a conceptual project which encourages wearers to become avatars for change or a “walking critique of the unsustainable consumption of physical fashion.” The project comprises two luxury wearables, each of them with a rarity of only 100 editions being made available in the Genesis Plaza. The QR-coded space takes guests to the IoDF site, which unlocks a behemoth AR billboard. “There is a new model, a new system,” co-founder Cattytay says. “Someone just had to build it”. 


Much of the dubiousness towards Web3 might be rooted in the conversations surrounding BoredApes and Beeple, but AUROBOROS is looking beyond the discourse, and approaching virtual fashion as if it were “a form of magic”. This season, the brand will be hosting a giveaway at the Fashion Street Estate on Decentraland, where guests have the chance to win a look from AUROBOROS’ upcoming Mesmer collection. It’s decidedly more lowkey than last year’s outing, which featured a performance from Grimes in a serpentine art gallery crafted from Damascus steel – but it harbours the same message: “Through the metaverse, we can realise what is impossible in the physical world. It’s a beautiful tool that can be used to create the most otherworldly and incredible fantasies. After all, that is what fashion is about, self-expression.”