“We’ve just had a baby,” said Dundas image director Evangelo Bousis via a Zoom call from the hospital on the eve of the brand’s Metaverse Fashion Week debut.
The brand’s co-founders Peter Dundas and Evangelo Bousis are life partners as well as business partners and are also barely a week into parenthood.
It was against this all too real backdrop that they were working on their Metaverse Fashion Week show and virtual boutique in Decentraland’s Web 3.0 universe.
The idea was to keep the physical and digital universes as consistent as possible from visual merchandising to execution on the runway. “We wanted to see how we can combine the digital world and the physical how do we make the two mesh together,” he said.
The store that went live a couple of days prior to the show offered a preview of its 12 looks, 11 of which featured links to the Dundas e-commerce channel where the physical versions were already available to buy.
As for look 12, that was a more fantastical affair. “I told Peter ‘this is your chance, no budgets, so just go for it and do something Beyoncé would have worn,’” he laughed. To celebrate the brand’s launch in 2017, Dundas created a custom look worn by Beyoncé for her Grammy Awards performance.
Said looks were displayed ‘in-store’ on avatars backdropped by two of the brand’s emblematic panthers complete with diamond encrusted collars. He explained that they’d curated the pop-up just as they did their physical stores and that the same was true of the digital fashion show.
In both cases, he said, it was about a transfer of knowledge from the physical world into the Metaverse. “The vision has to be strong so all the components come together. For the show, we had the same composer to do the music as we use in our physical shows and Peter worked with his real life stylist George Cortina on curating the looks.”
Next step will be digital wearables done with virtual clothing brand DressX with which Dundas collaborated on its first foray into the Metaverse on NFT wearables of the Super Bowl outfits it made for artist Mary J.Blige.
The duo are keen to continue their partnership with Decentraland so DressX will create outfits for avatars to wear in DCL plus additional filter versions for sharing on social media.
But before that comes the Grammys. “We have a big moment at the Grammys,” Bousis revealed, “we’re doing a (digital) wearable with DressX.” He failed to give anything else away but, for the record, H.E.R., Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish all have performance slots.
Like all fashion designers MVFW was something of a laboratory. “We’re a small brand so we thought ‘let’s learn about he behaviors and expectations of the consumer in the digital world,’” he said. “For us it’s an experiment and how we can relate it to our business.”
A plan for the future is to sell physical outfits that come with corresponding digital wearables as standard.
The idea was born from Covid-19 discussions around Zoom calls and inspired by classic ’90s movie, Clueless. “It was one of the movies we all grew up with, thinking of the digital closet. They were light years ahead of us.”
Instead of hoping for the best with some waist up dressing, you’d just go and choose something from your digital closet.
Other uses of Web 3.0 technology might revolve around bypassing the supply chain issues that also emerged during the Pandemic.
“From when we started our brand we always wanted to see how we can disrupt systems and we feel the Metaverse will disrupt fashion. There are endless opportunities and we’re trying to explore them,” he concluded.
“It’s all about taking risks so you have to either jump into it or hold back and we’re the kind of people that jump in.”