MYAMI is Australia’s first digital fashion brand. Here, its founder Brad Morris explains what it is and why it exists in the Metaverse (including what the Metaverse even is), in his own words.
Facebook’s rebrand to ‘Meta’ to solidify its stake in the Metaverse has made global headlines. There were murmurs it had been coming for some time, with Mark Zuckerberg announcing earlier this year that embracing the metaverse was “the next chapter for us as a company”, which, on reflection, makes sense, as revenue projections for the Metaverse and virtual worlds are expectd to hit USD $400billion by 2025.
We launched MYAMI, Australia’s first tech-luxe digital fashion house, earlier this year. Trading in pixels, rather than textiles, we aimed to be an early breakout pioneer of the next generation of the Internet.
When I explain to people that we are a digital fashion brand and that we exist in the metaverse, nine times out of ten there is a moment of silence. A moment when the person I’m talking to pauses to wrap their head around what I have just said. But, I am a firm believer that the metaverse is an exciting new chapter for all of us, just like social media was all those years ago, and, indeed, the way the ‘world wide web’ was before that.
What is the Metaverse?
Like all great explanations, it’s good to start at the beginning.
The term “Metaverse” (a portmanteau of meta; Greek for “beyond”, and “universe”) was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash (1992), which later gained more mainstream awareness in Spielberg’s 2018 adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (2011).
Today, the Metaverse can be best described as the manifestation of reality, but based in a virtual world, where people can work, play and socialise. It exists in real-time, as a living, breathing, parallel reality, that never pauses or stops. Importantly, the Metaverse does not fully exist yet.
For that to happen, exponential scale is required, but that scaling journey has already begun and the next-generation successor to our digital lives is a lot closer than you realise.
Think of the Metaverse as a digital universe, with the constant discovery of new virtual worlds. MYAMI’s world represents the future of fashion, a place that encourages creativity, commerce and most importantly community. A place where a new fashion community in the making can shop, share experiences and interact with other like-minded people.
Let’s use a real-world example: take Net-A-Porter or any online store. A 2D experience, you log onto their site, scroll through designers and find pieces that you like. You add them to your cart, purchase and a few days later, you have your item.
Now, what if we supercharged that experience virtually. In the digital shopping world, you take your 3D avatar and step inside a virtual environment where you meet your friends from all across the world. You walk around shopping brands like MYAMI, Gucci, Alexander Wang and Balenciaga, buying unique pieces and having one shared, digital experience.
We think that if e-commerce was the last big digital disruption to retail, then the notion of V-commerce — using virtual reality to help sell items — will be the next big thing.
What are NFTs?
NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) are unique certificates of ownership — they secure the owner rights to a digital asset or creation. Usually one of a kind, or at least one of a very limited run, NFTs have unique identifying codes that allow digital files to be monetised by their creators.
They can really represent anything in the digital world — think music, videos, a digital garment or art piece. Just last month, TikTok started releasing NFTs with some of its creators, including Lil Nas X and Grimes.
It can be a lot to get your head around, but what is even more mind-boggling is the money that some NFTs are selling for. In March, American digital artist Beeple made headlines when Christie’s auction house sold the NFT of his digital work Everydays: The First 5000 Days for USD $69.3m.
How Do NFTs Relate to the Fashion World?
Luxury fashion brands have also been playing in the NFT space.
Burberry and Karl Lagerfeld recently released figurine collectibles as NFTs, and a digital version of Gucci’s Dionysus bag sold for USD $4,000 on gaming platform Roblox. Dolce & Gabbana has also created a virtual collection selling for over USD $6M.
At MYAMI, we’re excited by NFTs and their potential to drive community, sub-culture and personal identity. We also believe that any future fashion item you buy will have its physical or virtual counterpart, whichever you buy first. The physical and digital are inextricably linked.
A recent study from Squarespace and The Harris Poll found that 60% of Gen Z and 62% of Millennials believe how you present yourself online is more important than how you do so in real life.
MYAMI’s mission is to unlock the boundless and borderless potential of digital fashion as a new medium for self-expression, community belonging and force for good.
It is fashion that’s really only bound by your imagination, as we can bring anything to life. We hope our fashion NFTs will form part of everyone’s digital wardrobes, allowing every owner the ability to truly express themselves.
So, How Can Digital Fashion be Used?
Digital fashion is the only medium where you can actually wear your NFT purchase in digital spaces. Use your digital fashion NFT to unlock a limited edition social media lens that only you can wear. Choose digital clothes that are as unique as you are in online games. Or even change up your look on a video call, depending on who you’re meeting with or if your favourite sweater is in the wash. Ultimately, people should be able to personalise their digital identity just as much in the virtual world as they do in the real world and express themselves even more, thanks to the boundless potential of tech-luxe fashion.
What’s Next for MYAMI?
We are launching our full collection at the 2022 Melbourne Fashion Festival, complete with runway show in the metaverse, which will be the first of its kind.
Just as important is our mission to create a sense of community via MYAMI virtual world, we also want to collaborate with other brands and artists to bring the fashion community together, where creativity and shared passions can come to life.