What will African Fashion look like in the Metaverse?
The metaverse is challenging to define. The "Godmother of the Metaverse," Cathy Hackl, a tech futurist, defines the Metaverse as the "further convergence of our physical and digital lives." The metaverse is a virtual environment that exists alongside the real world but also consists of various worlds where users can communicate with one another using avatars. These users can use the virtual reality (VR) headset to get ready for a fashion show, go on exciting dates, accept jobs, and even go shopping from the comfort of anywhere. With the metaverse's explosive growth, there are a lot of estimates and predictions that are completely illogical. The Global Metaverse market had a value of $63.8 billion in 2021 and was projected to grow at a rate of 47.6% CAGR to $100.3 billion by the end of 2022 and $1.5 trillion by 2029. Despite this rapid growth, whether Africa will survive in the metaverse still exists.
UX Designer Delz Erinle came up with a futuristic concept during the pandemic. I distinctly remember thinking, "What if we can tell some people to go shopping using the virtual reality headset?" I was consumed with the idea of finding something significant. In anticipation of potential, he got in touch with artist Niyi Okeowo. Together, they formed a team of 30 people, including 3D artists, environment designers, game developers, and 3D modellers. With a shared objective, they released Astra under their creative startup, Thrill Digital.
The first metaverse developed by African creators is called Astra. It initially appeared to be a digital fashion studio where fashion brands could create 3D assets of their actual clothing, but it is actually a metaverse with a number of events now. Astra, however, operates at the intersection of gaming, cryptocurrency, and fashion, unlike other metaverses. Users can attend events while wearing VR gear, shop with their avatars, or play games to earn cryptocurrency.
The fashion industry in Africa is significantly constrained by its ideologies. Despite the potential economic benefits of the metaverse, the sector is most concerned about the people who will use its digital assets. Therefore, more than simply creating collections of blockchain collectibles is required to bring the industry into the metaverse.
The industry has yet to make any headway in this area because it will take a great deal of work to develop a Metafashion audience before expanding the consumer base for its collectibles. Everything is still speculative because the industry is so new, but it is encouraging to see that some African artists have already established careers in the global metaverse fashion sector.
Recently, Black Panther 2 hit the cinemas, and it was all shades of beauty with a reflection of futuristic African fashion in the display. The wardrobe manager did justice to each and every outfit worn on the show. It didn't end there. The Marvel movie premiered in over 20 locations around the world, and people brought their A-game, The outfits that graced the red carpets represented African fashion in the metaverse; at the time, it was realistic, and we loved it!