Above: Model Krystyna-Lee Alexander and designer Ryan Chan test LED visor glasses. Photo courtesy of TSTT.
The local fashion industry benefits from the Metaverse and NFT markets, revolutionizing the way Caribbean designers sell their designs and access new markets. Tuesday 28 February 2023, Port of Spain Fashion Week (POSFW) is a fully digital fashion experience using virtual real estate to ensure local fashion adapts to the global digital shift Fashionverse has started.
Through Fashionverse, local fashion designers can create digital fashion that can be sold and worn in the metaverse. The Metaverse is an immersive and highly immersive virtual world where people come together to interact, play and work.
Crystal Cunningham, founder of POSFW, explains why the area is so important to contemporary fashion labels, with attendees from across the spectrum of emerging and established fashion labels attending the Queen’s Park Oval, the bmobile Corporate Box. I explained what it is. “In 2021, virtual goods will generate nearly $110 billion in sales, and Epic Games, developer of the popular video game Fortnite, earned $50 million from just one set of skins, or digital garments. With that in mind, POSFW reached out to the Caribbean Development Bank to help Caribbean designers capitalize on digital fashion trends in this burgeoning digital market.”
With major international brands such as GUCCI and Louis Vuitton already entering the digital space, Cunningham explained the concept of NFTs – digital assets and how they connect to fashion. “Through this new model, designers can sell their clothing and designs as his NFTs, generating new revenue streams and opening up new possibilities for digital fashion.”
“Using NFTs is a cost-effective and easy-to-use way for designers to enter the digital marketplace, ensuring they remain competitive in the rapidly changing fashion industry.”
When items are sold online as NFTs, designers can receive payments via digital coins such as Ethereum and sell in US dollars.
POSFW, which successfully hosted its first digital fashion week in Trinidad and Tobago in 2020, will launch in 2023 to give attendees a preview of the new NFT website where they can shop the Caribbean designer’s work. We shared a behind-the-scenes look at how the garments are made. Virtually photographed and replicated for use as “skins” or digital costumes by online avatars in various applications and games such as Roblox and Fortnite.
Gerard Cooper, TSTT’s general manager operations and administration, said that as a technology and communications provider, working with POSFW is forward-looking. “The emergence of NFTs and the expansion of data and mobile access, coupled with the democratization of consumer technology, naturally lend themselves to supporting POSFW. We welcome a new era of emerging designers using these technologies, along with established designers.”
Marlene Joseph, consulting coordinator for the Caribbean Development Bank’s Cultural and Creative Industrial Innovation Fund (CIIF), said the project is unique within their fund. “This project strategically looked at different parts of the ecosystem where fashion intersects with technology. It also looked at the linkages between the sections we support at CIIF, such as animation, fashion, NFTs and even carnivals. You can.”
Backed by the Caribbean Development Bank, bmobile and other sponsors, POSFW is leading the way in bringing the region’s unique style and creativity to the forefront of digital fashion.