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The CFDA Launches Metaverse Education Programme

The program aims to inform US fashion talent about the metaverse and web3, and connect CFDA members with tools and resources to launch their own projects.
A runway shot from CFDA member Calvin Klein.
The CFDA is helping its members enter the metaverse. (CFDA)

The Council of Fashion Designers of America said it will work in partnership on the program with creative consultancy 5Crypto and enlist help from The Sandbox, a blockchain-based 3D virtual world, and Polygon Studios, a gaming and NFT studio.

”The beginning of this partnership is going to be really based in education: knowledge panels, fireside chats, 101 conversations — really helping our members see the opportunity for them specifically in the metaverse and web3,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive of the CFDA.

Members will also get help if they want to take the next steps and create virtual collections or tokenised loyalty programmes. Kolb added the CFDA is looking at opportunities for itself as well.

The metaverse is still a long way from being the network of interconnected virtual worlds, sometimes overlapping with the physical world, that many envision it will be in the future. But attention and money have been flowing to projects viewed as metaverse precursors, including online virtual worlds such as The Sandbox. Fashion brands have been experimenting in these spaces as they try to understand how to fit in and connect with their audiences. Web3 generally refers to blockchain-based endeavours, including non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which proponents say will play a key role in the metaverse because they enable verifiable ownership of digital items.

Kolb said it can all feel like a foreign language to the CFDA’s members, many of whom are confused but intrigued. More have been asking questions, while the CFDA also felt it was important to keep them informed about the business opportunities, as it would with other relevant topics like sustainability or supply chains.

”If you look at our members, we’ve got some very big corporate brands that likely have staffing and resources and connections to plot their own strategies. But most are smaller businesses, mid-sized businesses,” Kolb said.

Akbar Hamid, founder and CEO of 5Crypto, said it will also be important for brands to find creative ways to translate their DNA into these spaces beyond just replicating their physical products and experiences.

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