Web 3.0 is the third generation of the internet which is built on blockchain technology. The creator economy is flourishing with the advent of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Apparel brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada are launching their NFTs on various marketplaces. National Research Group reports that 81% of consumers who have heard about Web 3.0 think that it will improve their happiness and wellbeing. Moving further let’s explore the evolution of Web 3.0, what it means for the fashion & apparel industry, and its applications.
Evolution of Web 3.0
The first generation of the internet was Web 1.0, where websites were primarily read-only and treated users as consumers of content. Social media, algorithms, and advertisements were not a part of the first-generation internet. Then comes the second version of the internet, which is Web 2.0. It enabled a form of communication that allowed people to not just read about products and services, but also write reviews and post comments, which brought a big change in how people interact with fashion & apparel brands. Ultimately, web 2.0 democratized the fashion & apparel industry. Today, we are on the path of introducing the third generation of the internet, web 3.0.
What is web 3.0 & what does it mean for the Apparel Industry?
Web 3.0 is a decentralized online ecosystem built on blockchain that allows for the creation of user-friendly apps. Global Web 3.0 Blockchain Market accounted for US$ 1.2 billion in 2020 and is estimated to be US$ 87.7 billion by 2030 and is anticipated to register a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 45.20%. Web3 aims to disrupt the way we think about ownership and creativity. In theory, it enables creatives to own and monetize their work—a true creator economy.
This has paved the way for independent designers to earn their living producing digital skins for games, creating collectibles, and selling them as NFTs. We’re also seeing the rise of digital-only fashion houses like The Fabricant. These independent creators are receiving support through DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). A DAO is a commonly led entity with no central authority as every member within a DAO typically shares a common goal and attempts to act in the entity’s best interest. In an ideal DAO, a contributor is compensated in proportion to their contribution to the organization.
One of these is Digitalax, a Web3 fashion ecosystem supporting independent fashion designers on their journey into the Web3 fashion space; another is Metafactory, a DAO that aims to launch the world’s first community-owned and operated fashion brands
Applications of Web 3.0 in Fashion & Apparel Industry
1. Innovative ways of Displaying Fashion
The fashion & apparel industry relies on the digital platform to display their creations. Recently, in a new film by designer Denni Francisco, models wearing clothes from her label Ngali wander through a virtual landscape. Using this digital medium, it is possible to take the collection on location despite being in lockdown and unable to travel.
2. Creating NFTs
Fashion & apparel brands are entering the metaverse by introducing their own Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) like hoodies, sneakers, baseball caps, etc.
3. Work towards sustainable goals
Web 3.0 encourages fashion & apparel brands to work towards their sustainability goals and practices. Also, it is easier for consumers to verify sustainability by checking the NFT’s authenticity and origin on the blockchain. User feedback about the product and the product’s demand can be forecasted better with data about the product NFT’s popularity.
4. Ownership of NFTs and Royalties for the Design
Because of non-fungibility – the ownership of a design can remain with the creator. DAOs and Web 3.0 in fashion & apparel industry equivalents of Distribution can expose small designers and manufacturers directly to end consumers. This will be closer to fair compensation.
5. Offer customized products
Fashion brands with a wide range of designs will be able to offer customized clothes, while smaller brands and independent designers will still stand out by offering limited edition designs.
6. Traceability of products
NFTs are traceable and unique on the blockchain. This means that fake fashion items will not be able to exist because every digital wearable item will be verifiable on the blockchain.
Over time, the fashion & apparel industry will continue to evolve rapidly. Importantly, technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a crucial role when brands and designers try to attract the community with their exclusive collections. As Web 1.0 was about the communication of information, Web 2.0 was about the creation of a collective of individuals through social media, and Web 3.0 in fashion & apparel industry is where creators can create digital assets and immediately get credit or value attributed to them. The most creative designers will find themselves at an advantage as Web 3 is set to make a huge impact on the fashion sector.