A startup that is moving to luxury fashion metabersion, and one that is making money

Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee is speeding through a street in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, as if she were missing a flight.

He turns a corner in a pink and orange uniform, turning a corner, up a hill, and into a Victorian house.

This path is common for 23-year-old MacKinnon-Lee, CEO of Digitalax, for a startup that aims to create a “fashionable operating system for Web 3”.

MacKinnon-Lee and his six teams are developing markets, platforms, infrastructure, outreach programs, tools for digital fashion designers – Web 3 is just about any game that can help launch the currency market.

This explains why MacKinnon-Lee is always up and running.

Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee is the CEO of Digital.

“I sleep in a chair 24 hours a day. I haven’t slept horizontally (I’m not kidding)… since June? ”He admitted. “Today I slept from 6:00 to 7:00 and that’s it. Maybe I’ll sleep from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. I love him so much. ‘

MacKinnon-Lee is in the middle of an industry that almost existed a year ago, started growing tremendously in the last ten months, and almost exploded three weeks ago with the amazing news of a collection of non-fungible tokens (or NFTs). Dolce & Gabbana (D&G), the first of its kind, sold nearly $ 5.7 million.

The D&G auction offered a glimpse into the potential of NFT to become the next hub for the massive market, generating $ 10.7 billion in trading volume in the third quarter.

However, fashion, unlike other well-known NFT categories, unlike art or business cards, is not only collected, but worn.

This usability is key to the amazing potential of digital fashion not only in the NFT market, but also as a basis for the still-born metaverse.

Since Facebook (now Meta) or Sotheby’s are races to make money in a world completely immersed in the network, few industries will win on this digital front more than fashion.

The underwear and cosmetics market for underwear and virtual goods is already worth $ 40 billion.

As the meta-verse begins to spread, many predict that the market value of digital fashion could approach or even reach $ 2 trillion in the physical fashion industry.

Fashion fight for metabers

Control of the verse is at stake.

Meta is eager to establish himself as the king of a centralized metaverse, where activities and transactions take place within the walls of giant virtual realms; others see the metaverse as a decentralized utopia, where players roam free across multiple platforms, carrying digital elements and valuable data.

“It’s a feudal era,” said Yat Siuk, one of the founders of Animoca Brands, in a recent appearance at the 3D Tech Festival 2021 of the main company behind metaverse games like Axie Infinity and The Sandbox.

“We are constantly relinquishing our most valuable resources [dados pessoais] to the platforms. The result is the enrichment of these platforms. But that is changing. We go from North to South of the world, stating that you have to be in control of your property. Do not work for the landlord. Work for you. That’s it [descentralização do metaverso] it is a revolution. A bloodless revolution. ‘

The recent D & G victory in this world is a great indicator that the war has begun. The iconic haute couture initiative makes it clear that the biggest fashion brands will maintain their influence in this new era.

MacKinnon-Lee hopes that won’t happen.

The number of texts he publishes almost daily on the Digitalax blog and in the monthly magazine DIGIFIZZY is full of references to “democratization” and “anarchy”.

A large portion of the company’s dizzying number of projects is focused on spreading digital fashion to the public (e.g., cooperative economic models that allow independent designers to collaborate on works and share their governance and copyright).

MacKinnon-Lee is an Australian. He studied aerospace engineering at the University of Sydney before leaving to work in a cryptocurrency fund specializing in black swan cover: he opted for serious market fluctuations caused by strange and unforeseen events.

Then he started Digitalax.

This trajectory is no coincidence: MacKinnon-Lee is betting that the fashion industry is about to undergo a seismic change, thanks to the metaverse.

It’s a change that could put a trillion dollars at stake. He is doing everything he can to make that opportunity a reality.

“We are developing a fashion industry based on the original and decentralized principles of empowering designers, creators, collectors and dressmakers instead of extractive and exploitative fashion, in which only a few brands are at the top, gaining the most share,” he explains. .

The beginning of the new era of digital fashion

So what exactly is “digital fashion”?

The term, like everything else in the metaverse, is still consolidating. To date, it refers to any clothing created in the digital field, in part or in full.

This can include digital clothing with digital counterparts, augmented reality filters that enhance live photos or videos, or fully digital wardrobes for online game and metaverse avatars.

Daniella Loftus wears a digital dress using an augmented reality filter (Image: Daniella Loftus)

“When I started this, I talked to my 11-year-old cousins ​​and they said,‘ Of course this makes sense to us, ’” recalls Daniella Loftus, a member of Red DAO, the crypto team led by D&G. auction with $ 1.9 million in purchases, shaking up the fashion world.

“But everyone else says, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ My cousins, of course, buy skins from Fortnite.

There will be three billion players by 2022, according to a study by Newzoo. Loftus says, “People have to wear something.”

Red DAO members believe that their role in the digital fashion industry is closely linked to promoting the availability of NFT laptops.

“We’re not here to buy a bunch of NFTs and sit back,” explained Megan Kasper, another Red DAO member.

Megan Kaspar (right) wears digital earrings on Yahoo Finance with co-founder of DRESSSX Natalia Modenova (center).

Recently, Kaspar was probably the first person to use digital live fashion on television.

Appearing on Yahoo Finance, she wore a beryl crown, gold earrings and a purple necklace that looked like an extraterrestrial exoskeleton. All made by DRESSX digital fashion retailers.

Kaspar wore three digital fashion themes to Yahoo Finance: Sabrina Facchetti and DRESSX’s Water Surface earrings ($ 320); The pink Prometheus necklace by Alejandro Delgado and DRESSX ($ 525); and Eigana Gold by Beryl Crown by Object & Dawn and DRESSX ($ 855) (Image: Red DAO)

The D&G auction brought unprecedented attention and capital to virtual fashion. However, if traditional brands like D&G get their share of the digital pie, they will soon have to choose the war sides for metabersion.

Perhaps not surprisingly, his interests align more with decentralized disruptors like Digitalax than with giants like Meta.

“I don’t want to buy Gucci shoes on every platform,” Kaspar explained. “You can buy and move a pair and sell it.”

Critical point of interoperability

Kaspar is talking about interoperability, one of the main points of tension in the discussion of the metaverse.

Lannister’s House on Web 3, like Meta, would prefer that virtual goods can’t be easily moved across platforms. For these companies, interoperability would lead to less control over vendors and products.

On the other hand, advocates of decentralization believe that the ability to carry your belongings with you, wherever you go, should be one of the fundamental rights of a democratized metaverse.

Digital fashion pieces are one of the first products that raise this question and today they cannot move freely.

D&G auction items were only available on a single gaming platform chosen by the winners.

This is not ideal for those looking for a ride through the metaberse with an expensive luxury digital asset; you want to take your Gucci digital bag with you from Brentwood Virtual to WeHo Virtual.

So introducing traditional brands like D&G can speed up the pressure on developers who don’t want to tear down their walls.

“In 2021, we’re much closer to this tipping point than last year,” says Sebastien Borget, co-founder of The Sandbox metaverse.

“Over the last ten months, the number of brands that have agreed to merge into an NFT-based metaverse, the physical brand, has accelerated. Over the next decade, I hope that this will happen. Companies that do not join will be in a state of decline or decline. ”

Perhaps the biggest challenge in this regard is technical. Currently, there is no file format that allows you to navigate the same outfit across all major platforms, in pixelated Minecraft and the vivid three-dimensional landscapes of Fortnite.

By any magic, Bugs Bunny is going through all sorts of paintings on display in the Louvre Museum, which is the holy grail of the metaverse. It is in the minds of everyone involved in digital fashion.

“If you develop unicode for digital fashion, it will literally be the greatest invention,” Loftus said. His voice almost fails to speak of hypotheses. “This must happen.”

big gun

MacKinnon-Lee is trying to develop. Big gun. His team at Digitalax is close to creating an interactive 3D file format called DASH, which he says will allow digital fashion pieces to be freely browsed across all gaming platforms.

In October, Digitalax launched DASH DAO, a decentralized autonomous body (DAO) that aims to support and promote the launch of the program.

DAO is currently improving the program and has not yet released a release schedule.

Once launched, interoperability will be an inevitable opportunity to accept or confront. Fashion will probably be the area where the basic struggle for the fate of the metaverse will take place (arguably the most appealing).

What if, at the moment of truth, some companies are facing a wave of decentralization? “There’s going to be no future for these people,” MacKinnon-Lee predicts.

It strikes a chord, but it stops short of discussing the war on metaverse: “[As principais empresas] they are so wrong in thinking that things do not change. They do not feel any tectonic changes on them. Twelve months ago, if you were to ask, I might say five years from now, but now, given what has happened to the market … No way. It will be next year. It’s coming much faster than we thought. ‘

MacKinnon-Lee’s eyes light up as he talks about the condemnation of Web 2.0 fashion aristocrats. Her voice calms down. “He will be the greatest referee in history, literally. By the time people realize it, it will be too late. ”

* Translated and edited by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from Decrypt.co.

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