Lokesh Rao, Co-Founder & CEO, Trace Network Labs

Lokesh Rao, Co-Founder & CEO, Trace Network Labs has a wide experience of over 12 years in the enterprise tech space helping global fashion companies acquire and implement technologies in more than 20 countries. With Trace network Labs, he is building a technology platform that will enable lifestyle brands to launch multichain & multiverse products, using NFTs, for the ‘digital twin’ a.k.a. Avatars of users in the metaverse.


The unprecedented global pandemic had a defining impact on the fashion industry that we see today. Fueled by the industry 4.0 model, new modes of production and consumption are dramatically transforming all major industrial systems, especially the digital fashion industry.

While the world is gradually getting back to normal store-based purchases, some avenues seem to be bigger than the normal brick and mortar models.

These so-called ‘digital models’ are fueled by the sudden rise in the NFT and Metaverse markets—and have made it imperative for the fashion industry to remove the digital divide that existed; foraying into the virtual world in a big way. A new normal is on the way. However, some impediments need to be understood.

Digital Fashion

With the rising popularity of the Metaverse, the digital fashion industry is slowly turning into a global business, witnessing involvement from both the major luxury brands and retail consumers. Digital fashion is a rising tool for promoting a brand or empowering startups and digital designers, ultimately complimenting the economies.

Programmable fashion is essential to enable the development of new digital economies of scale. With more and more people choosing to buy digitally and a bigger chunk of sales going to e-commerce, people are used to spending money on clothing brands digitally.

But, why you may ask? People across the world love to flaunt their fashion sense and lifestyle. This need for self-expression is slowly moving to the virtual world. Metaverses will give people the stage to flaunt their fashion and lifestyle online and at any point they like.

Digital self-expression can be enhanced with the advent of digital fashion. Real people with their digital twins or avatars can go into the metaverse and use digital fashion wear to express their lifestyle in the same manner as they do it in the real world.

Interoperability in Metaverse

Interoperability refers to the basic ability of different computerized products or systems to readily connect and exchange information with one another, without any restrictions. Simply put, interoperability in the Metaverse works the same as interoperability works in the blockchain.

Users are not required to manage multiple wallets in multiple metaverses they are part of. They can use a single wallet to store cryptocurrency and perform transactions across various Metaverse projects. Moreover, the goods they own in one metaverse can be ported to any other metaverse

Also, their avatars can move from one metaverse to the other without the need to change—works similar to crypto or NFT in a wallet.

However, Fashion houses that build clothing lines on one blockchain will have to currently adhere to the design standards of a metaverse on a particular blockchain. For instance, say digital fashionable clothing lines are built on the Solana network but some metaverse allows trading on Ethereum only.

This is disadvantageous. People will want to roam around multiple chains and multiple metaverses. This applies to the fashion NFTs or clothing lines they will buy on a particular platform. They may want to carry their digital wardrobe along. Hence, we need interoperable digital fashion wear.

Innovation in Digital Fashion and why Metaverse makes sense

Seen new potential clothing? Try it on without leaving your home! Metaverse proponents are selling virtual real estate to fashion brands who are building virtual showrooms. Eventually, these showrooms will invite avatars like the BUDDY avatar from Trace network to try a new digital clothing line.

The whole hassle of buying products online, and these products not fitting you properly, or just does not suit you—there is one solution for all these problems: digital twin avatars, that essentially are your replica, so you can test clothes before purchasing them.

Not just digital utility, but fashionable clothing will have physical utility as well. Users will be able to buy digital clothes in the metaverse as an NFT and then will have the option to redeem it later with the real tangible product that gets shipped to the person. Fashion houses will surely want to attract customers with these potential applications. This means that if you like something from a particular brand, you now have the option to buy it in the form of NFTs.

You get two things here: exclusive right for particular clothing and then the physical utility of getting the same product delivered to your doorsteps.

Notably, fashionable clothing is also foraying into games. For instance, if you are say a battle royale gamer, you might see how several pro players wear something different than others, this trend will only expand with NFT based digital fashion. Dress yourself up, and dress up your character in the game as well.

Big apparel giants are known to tie up with games. The recent collaboration between Balenciaga and Fortnite with Balenciaga-inspired skin in the game grants you the opportunity to buy the piece in real life.

You can also expect Fashion shows in the Metaverse. With travel being limited and get-togethers being restricted, fashion houses are considering online fashion shows. Lastly, one thing can be assured, NFT based fashionable clothing is the future and is here to stay.

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