Welcome to the new shopping era by Valeria Boi

Science fiction movies have always arouse interest in telling the future view of the world, based on hypothetical inventions, fictional scientific discoveries, showing possible life scenarios that sometimes anticipated what really happened years later.

Especially about movies based on technological innovations, how many times have we thought, "That’s never gonna happen!" and instead they not only came true, but they revolutionized our lives.

In the last decade there have been important discoveries concerning the Internet and the digital world: Instagram, Telegram, What’s App, 5G, virtual reality with 3D technology available on smartphones, just to mention a few. The question is, what’s the next virtual experience we can do? Yes, because now another chapter is opening up about the digital world, which is the Metaverse. Writer Neal Stephenson created this word in 1992 in Snow Crash, a science fiction book about a virtual reality where one is represented by one’s own avatar. And as we now know, the step between fantasy and reality is short!

The Metaverse is a virtual world in which people, wearing appropriate glasses and 3D viewers, can make countless experiences in digital form. Watching movies, going to concerts, visiting museums, meeting friends without having to move from home. Among the various activities that you can do there will be of course also shopping, and we believed we had reached the maximum comfort by buying online! There will be more, through our Avatars we will be able to wear virtually the clothes of the brands we want, we will be able to wear and buy accessories and clothes in a click.

But who’s going to gain something from all this? Of course the companies, who have understood how attractive this new reality will be for consumers, which will see them projected into the future, like the one narrated by the films. This is a new way of business and some fashion houses have already started investing in this new virtual world. Balenciaga has created a capsule for the well- known video game Fortnite, allowing you to buy the garments on the platform.

A few months ago, Gucci added a magnificent garden in the video game Roblox with a series of limited edition items available to players. It was a success, because the objects were sold at the actual cost of selling in the store and this is an extraordinary event because we’re talking about virtual objects!

If there are those who are excited by this new opportunity, there are also those who ask: why should someone pay a lot of money for virtual objects? The answer is NFT, non-fungible token, that is a cryptographic token that attests the property of an asset and guarantees its authenticity and uniqueness as registered on Blockchain.

This is very important because when you buy a virtual dress you have the certainty that it will be the only original piece in circulation, and this is an invaluable value for the buyer.

And what does that mean for fashion? Transparency and guarantee to offer to consumers, because fashion houses, affected for years by counterfeiting, will now give the opportunity to track the purchased goods, which will no longer be replicable. Each dress and accessory has its own NFT that allows you to know where and how the product has been produced, who has been in possession of it previously, and a series of informations that ensure the owner to have a unique and original property, that no one else can have. This is what will drive you to buy virtual objects!

This fantastic world of the Metaverse, however, also carries with it a risk, namely that of living in a virtual environment detached from tangible reality, the risk of getting used to slowly losing those physical and emotional sensations that we can have just when we touch people, when we sit in a

club chair, when we try clothes in a dressing room. A series of emotions and perceptions that we can only feel when our body is in direct contact with the world around us.

But the unstoppable technological progress cannot and must not be stopped, indeed it is a way to enrich our everyday life.
Let’s think about how much fashion has progressed over the years, from small haberdashery to online shops. There will always be the pleasure and desire to go and buy in physical and online store to see, touch and try the garments we want. Buying in virtual reality will be an extra pleasure and satisfaction for us that we can have a precious and exclusive object to wear and show in the new 3D space, projected more and more in the future.


Valeria Boi, London 21/01/2022