As the very first Metaverse Fashion Week comes to an end, we reflect on key considerations for designers and brand owners.
Over the past few years, Fashion Week has changed significantly. What was initially a series of in-person events only, subsequently moved to digital during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and then finally to hybrid ‘phygital’ events - in person whilst also streaming online as the pandemic became less severe.
Last week, the world saw the very first Metaverse Fashion Week (MFW) hosted by the metaverse platform, Decentraland.
This included fashion (where customers could view, shop and wear clothing straight from the runway or via flagship stores such as Selfridges), beauty (Estee Lauder were the exclusive beauty brand for the event) and art as well as parties, music and entertainment.
Interestingly, MFW also included fast fashion as well as luxury fashion. Forever 21 presented an exclusive range of wearables especially for the metaverse.
There were also NFT collaborations within the metaverse. Digital fashion Web3 marketplace Artisant collaborated with Puma to showcase ‘upcycled’ wedding dresses.
In light of the expansion of the brands featuring on and using the digital space, there are a few key IP considerations for both brands and designers to reflect on when using such platforms.
Brand owners may wish to consider whether they have sufficient protection for the mark that they are planning to use in the metaverse in relation to the products and services that the mark is to be used in relation to. If the product and / or service range is expanding, updated protection may be needed before launch.
On such major digital platforms such as the metaverse, it is inevitable for others to take inspiration from or to copy designs. UK unregistered design rights are a useful basis to rely on in such instances. However, as with the hybrid/’phygital’ model of fashion week shows, the question around first disclosure, which if the design is first disclosed in the UK would give rise to a UK unregistered design right, is still unclear. With the metaverse being a worldwide platform, the design is arguably disclosed worldwide as users in any country could be accessing the platform at the same time. It is yet to be determined through the courts as to whether this disclosure will meet the requirements to kick start an unregistered design right in the UK.