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‘World’s First Virtual Live Global VR’ Runway Event Lands at London Fashion Week

In celebration of London Fashion Week, British cult fashion brand Cyberdog is partnering with Italian sportwear brand Kappa and virtual live events platform Sansar to launch a new collection during a live virtual reality-based fashion show.

The limited-edition Rave Team Collection range will launch Sept. 20 and is comprised of 33 exclusive pieces of retro-vibe apparel. Participants can attend what the companies refer to as the “world’s first live IRL/VR fashion show” in virtual versions of these garments, and also go directly to Cyberdog’s site to purchase the real-life items from inside the virtual venue.

Fashion models from three continents will participate live from Cyberdog’s American flagship store in Camden Market, N.C., as well as from the Gold Coast, Australia, while being showcased in a 3D immersive replica of the store.

Cyberdog co-founder and fashion designer Terry Davy describes this collection as “a cyber-clash of rave culture and street fashion,” with the garments designed to unveil “an explosion of neon 90s urban styling for the future generation.” Cyberdog and Kappa have already collaborated to launch their own Kappa x Cyberdog collection, which includes T-shirts, hoodies, rocket jackets, rocket pants and track pants among other future-leaning designs.

Global livestreaming of the event will also take place across various social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

”International iconic brands Cyberdog and Kappa prove they continue to pioneer rave culture and street apparel with this virtual launch. We are so happy that Sansar can provide connectivity, exposure, and revenue streams at a time when the fashion events industry is at a standstill,” Sheri Bryant, president of Sansar, said in a statement. “With the Rave Team Collection virtual launch at London Fashion Week, we’re delivering the world’s first virtual live global VR fashion show of the future, deeply immersive and accessible to anyone and anywhere with a PC or phone at their disposal. The industry is at the vanguard of something truly incredible.”

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The concept of virtual fashion has lingered throughout the industry and caught more attention during the pandemic, but there is belief among some that as shopping and events shift online, and more fashion players want to focus on sustainability, the industry will continue to promote virtual goods as a value add.

Within fashion, virtual goods can be purchased and superimposed on a shopper’s photo for sharing online. In the case of a collection launch during a major virtual event like London Fashion Week, this capability can empower shoppers to feel like there are more of an active participant in the show, while taking something tangible away from the experience.

This concept aligns with what Sansar is looking to accomplish with its virtual events platform, in that the company strives to enable artists to perform live for global audiences, while allowing their fans to feel more connected. The company says that within its events, it encourages “limitless” self-expression through custom avatars, branded merchandise and highly immersive, photorealistic virtual spaces.

Users can access the event via desktop and mobile, but Sansar events also are compatible with virtual reality devices including the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

One example of a company that has leveraged virtual garments is Norwegian denim brand Carlings, which sold digital-only items from its streetwear collection for $12 to $35. 3D motion designers add the garments to consumers’ images, which they can post and show off on social media.

The hype behind around the concept has set the market value from anywhere from $75 billion to $150 billion, according to Karinna Nobbs, retail strategist and founder of Hot:Second, an experimental circular economy fashion popup launched last year. Especially as designers and developers work from home, customers demand more sustainable clothing options and companies seek to eliminate expenses such as product sampling, which tips the scales in virtual fashion’s favor.

“The impact of Covid has meant that people have really expedited their experimentation of digitizing garments for potentially a showroom environment or a fashion show environment,” Nobbs said during a session in June’s PSFK Future of Retail digital event. “We are overproducing, we are overconsuming and we don’t need any more physical clothing. This year alone, we’re manufacturing 150 billion garments.”