Over a three-day event, the first edition of Exthereal’s digital fashion conference took place, bringing together keynote speakers from a range of industries to discuss and showcase the future of the metaverse.
Fashion students, gaming representatives, members of the entertainment industry, fashion brands and crypto professionals assembled within the virtual Nordic event. Through presentations and speeches, participants acted on Exthereal’s mission to introduce digital fashion to a wider audience and provide a snapshot of the current state of immersive technology.
A solution the platform presented came in the form of a surrealistic showroom featuring over 20 digital garments, including a collection by DressX, a purely digital fashion developer. Displayed within uniquely created 3D worlds, the showroom was accessible through a virtual reality (VR) headset using meta platform AltspaceVR.
Additionally, a virtual fashion show premiered as part of the event, with a number of influential Finnish brands featured, including Uhana, Sofia Ilmonen and Mert Otsamo. Pieces were displayed in a virtual landscape inspired by Finnish nature and urban landscapes.
“This is the most sustainable way to visit a showroom or a fashion show – no physical clothes were shipped for this project and there is no need to travel to visit the showroom,” said Exthereal’s co-founder, Olesja Hännikäinen, in a release. “When people buy and return many items online, there is a huge carbon footprint on our planet. Digital fashion can disrupt the industry and reduce pollution by reducing the postage returns from online stores. This is the future of sustainable fashion.”
“This is the most sustainable way to visit a showroom or a fashion show…”
What started as a small meeting with 32 attendees, one year ago, has now expanded into a large-scale digital event, with 3,500 watching its virtual fashion show.
In a conversation with FashionUnited, Exthereal’s CEO Krista Jäntti said on the growth of the event: “We wanted to make it a show and tell of digital fashion, so we made it more of an event than a conference because we wanted to build on a showroom in virtual reality.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response. I think it is because it is a super hot topic. It fuses together gaming, NFTs and the crypto world, next to the fashion industry being in trouble recently because of the pandemic and the importance of sustainability. So when all these hot topics come together its really gets people’s attention.”
She continued: “The biggest thing is sustainability, in which there are really good revenue sources when it is done right. Money always gets peoples attention. We can’t just tell fashion brands to stop producing fast fashion, because everyone needs revenue sources. They just have to rethink their future revenue sources.”
Many of the matters discussed during the event centred around sustainability, in particular. Founder and virtual designer of 3mbassy, Kim Berndt, took the floor to discuss a new version of fashion design that is considerate of the circular economy. Meanwhile, Valentin Karabanov, from Valentins Studio, spoke on how the digital realm could potentially “save” the physical world.
When discussing the main topics of the event, Jäntti said: “If brands want to stay relevant they need to start cooperating with creative people and helping to build communities, working with cross-industry cooperations. No one in this world can survive on their own, due to the fast pace.”
The metaverse was also a highlighted topic during the conference, with Jäntti stating: “You have to have a strategy. It is not just taking your brand and you are suddenly there. You have to know your specific audience, how they communicate, how they engage – otherwise the experience is going to feel fake and unengaging.”
The growing popularity of the event only shows its continued importance within the fashion scope, with plans to potentially launch a second edition of the conference in the near future.
Jäntti added: “We didn’t have plans when we started but it has gained such a huge amount of popularity, people are asking already for another conference.”