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How SME retailers can benefit from metaverse


Latin America. The concept of metaverse is still incipient, however, it holds immense potential for the fashion industry. In addition, WEB3's freedom and flexibility allow fashion providers of any size to enter the virtual world and take advantage of its vast opportunities, including fewer barriers to market entry for emerging creators and a space that fuels creative expression.

Space for all
The world's largest fashion houses have already begun to dive into the uncharted waters of the metaverse. Last year, Italian fashion house Gucci launched a digital-only handbag, which was sold at a much higher price than its real-life equivalent. Louis Vuitton, the French luxury brand, has gone a step further by launching a mobile app integrated into NFT, "Louis the Game". This year, the brand is investing more and has added new NFTs and missions for players to discover.

However, new-age fashion perspectives are not reserved only for the "best and greatest." Indrė Viltrakytė, co-founder of Rebels, an NFT project that seeks to unite IRL and WEB3 fashion, has emphasized authenticity, a natural fit for decentralized values and transparency as the defining factors of successful metadata-based projects.

"At WEB3, people have the power to decide who deserves success. We've already seen half-baked projects from some big brands that failed, as this community can tell the difference between passion-backed initiatives and those that only seek profit," he said. "In this space, money or size is not what leads to success, it's being raw and authentic. That's why a small fashion boutique has the same opportunity to make a statement as industry veterans."

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Easier entry for emerging talent
WEB3 also removes certain barriers that may previously have limited emerging creatives in the fashion industry. According to Viltrakytė, an independent designer or fashion brand has to produce between 2 and 16 collections a year, which can be a financial challenge for someone just starting out.

"The Rebels is a continuation of our IRL fashion house, so we know how difficult the entire fashion cycle can be, from sample production to participation in trade shows and marketing to consumers," he said. "Turning your clothes into NFT and selling them through blockchain-powered fashion marketplaces is much more accessible and affordable, especially if you're a digital native brand. In addition, an authentic origin story could help emerging talent establish a strong presence without the need for paid ads."

He also noted that members of Generation Z, who are one of the metaverse's top audiences, value originality and sustainability above all else, and boutique brands can channel these values much better than large conglomerates.

Breaking into as a non-tech business
While the idea of settling into the metaverse can be intimidating, especially for smaller brands, Viltrakyte has assured that, although some technological knowledge is essential, the attitude with which a company immerses itself in space is much more important.

"Approaching with an attitude of 'how can I give value', rather than 'how can this benefit me' makes a huge difference. Later, it all comes down to 'learning by doing', whether it's selling digital collections, creating a first virtual fashion show or listing an NFT collection," the fashion expert said. "In addition, I learned that the WEB3 community is very welcoming and connecting with people on Discord, Twitter and other hubs can help to better understand the space."

Decentraland, Roblox and other metaverses are quickly positioning themselves as a potential new channel to market brands. As early adopters could make use of the advantage of being the first to move, Ms Viltrakytė urged to take advantage of this and encouraged fashion SMEs to join the virtual community.

"Many digital artists have already discovered WEB3 and NFT as means to make a living from their art. Now is the time for designers, fashion artists and small brands to discover the opportunities, reinvent themselves and make the most of this technology."

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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