The internet is transforming right in front of our eyes. What started out with timesaving single-clicks and innovative ways to take part in a globalized community has become immersive now more than ever. The internet is inviting us to stay and not to balance our screen time with our outdoor rituals, as some experts might suggest.
The current digital landscape is quickly integrating with our lives to a point that we spend a substantial amount of time in augmented realities. These technologies have sucked us into the screen ― not literally, but we’re almost there ― and we’re experiencing reality in an entirely new way, which is something that’s affecting the way we prioritize and conceive our lives.
It would appear that physical apparel purchases are about to become obsolete
In this regard, there are some social constructs that somehow ended up losing ground: Fashion is one them. As I see it, fashion is the point of intersection of two other myths of our time: Progress and Innovation. This is the era in which everything flows rapidly, majestically and immediately declines. What arises is judged superior to what disappears. Do we really believe that’s always true? Yet, there we are, lining up out of those Apple stores, the new Temples of Humankind.
Being absorbed in our devices and their virtual realities, though, doesn’t help fashion to exert its influence on the masses as these companies rely heavily on physical products. So, the physicality of the merch is a factor that makes some of the major fashion companies such as Prada, Gucci, and Versace, tremble. If we think that art collection is now shifting to the blockchain, then it would appear that physical apparel purchases are about to become obsolete. Nonetheless, a frontrunner in the fashion world is getting ready for this transition to the Metaverse.
How Nike is Gearing Up to Face it
“RTFKT is now part of the Nike inc. family.” That’s what co-founders Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev want to emphasize as soon as you land on RTFKT Studios’ home page. This virtual apparel brand designing mostly sneakers, which can be found on their main showcase in the Metaverse, has been acquired by Nike for an undisclosed amount of money.
Described as “a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming,” RTFKT Studios’ bolt-style logo has been positioned alongside Nike’s iconic swoosh, Air Jordan’s Jump Man, and Converse marks. This is a radical change in Nike’s journey and it clearly shows the aim to face up the brand’s transition to a virtual world.
RTFKT Studios’ bolt-style logo has been positioned alongside Nike’s iconic swoosh
Virtual sneakers, real business. While I still cannot wrap my head around the idea of purchasing sneakers only to be worn online before, now I’m beginning to see what Nike has visualized way before everyone else did. This is how a cutting-edge reality reveals its nature ― by challenging the status quo. Do I agree with it? No, I absolutely do not. Just because tech giants like Meta or Google say that something is about to happen doesn’t mean that it will. I mean, these are the same guys who believed that Google Glasses would change the world.
The internet is impacting our lives to an extent that fashion’s leaders must take measures not to lose ground and, albeit it might seem meaningless, here we are, talking about these massive groups acquiring online start-ups that dictate the new design trends of tomorrow. Yet, to be frank, I just see another dead-end looming in the distance.
The advancement of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and their consequent hype is what made these new lines of digital fashion possible. NFTs allow anything in digital form to become exclusive and rare by attaching a certificate to it. Nonetheless, many self-proclaimed crypto experts seem to be missing a critical point: just because something is exclusive and rare doesn’t mean it’s valuable.
Myths Are Eternal
This showcase of artifacts and fashion items attached to NFTs will undoubtedly be an extension of our most narcissistic side at some point. Why? Well, these items won’t exist in the physical world, didn’t I make that clear enough? They will surely allow to form new communities and new social experiences, but that’s going to be based on what we have and own now more than ever; buying and speculating on NFTs is the first step in that direction; most of us will want to prove their ownership and “flex it.”
Whether we are in front of the future of the Arts, Fashion and Design industries or just another way to profit off of the biggest progress-based industry, aka the internet, I believe that’s where we are headed in the next few years. Not to sound dramatic, but I cannot keep myself from imagining empty streets populated exclusively by riders bringing our food to our homes. The pandemic took us there already, and the internet is inviting us to stay.
The pandemic took us there already, and the internet is inviting us to stay
That’s why it’s not hard to imagine that we are also going to dress up and interpret beauty in the way they are telling us to do. However, I want to believe that once we will all get there as a community, we will also get to a shared realization: being fashionable in a digital space is just another trick to make us forget that we are actually human, creatures destined to challenge the infinite, or at least try to do it.
Even though our avatars will give us the perception to experience a new surrogate of happiness through augmented reality, virtual clothing, and other belongings that will soon become immaterial, I want to believe that our eyes will open up at that point. Zarathustra knew it well: “we invented happiness, say the last men, and they wink.”