IoDF believes physical and virtual worlds should work in unison. The bulk of its work is metaverse strategy, transitioning the fashion industry into Web3 by consulting with fashion and tech C-suites and helping them prepare and execute long-term strategies and activations, from AR experiences to NFTs. As Web3 develops, big brands need to understand that they are no longer just in competition with each other. In the metaverse, consumers can buy, sell or trade fashion from fellow designers, and from friends. Brands need a meaningful commitment to the space in order to compete, Elliott-Young says.
Vice Media is currently collaborating with IoDF on a consultancy project with “one of the world’s biggest fashion brands” on their strategy into web3, says Morten Grubak, Vice’s global creative director. “Web3 is still incredibly young and full of experts with little hands-on experience,” he says. “IoDF is a partner with knowledge rooted in years of experimenting, thought leadership and ethos. They don’t just come with an agenda but with a point of view.”
The biggest challenge is moving away from luxury’s preoccupation with Web3 as a marketing ploy, she adds. Often, IoDF would be referred by luxury brands to their PR and marketing departments, and hit a lot of roadblocks. “The bigger brands aren’t as malleable. Projects take a lot longer to sign off because you are writing a whole business development proposition for one part of their brand,” says Elliott-Young. Now, IoDF tries to do C-suite conversations and nothing in between. “When you’re speaking to PR and marketing, perhaps the CEO with their five-year trajectory just isn’t in line with the conversation, so it becomes a seasonal gimmick,” she says. Still, often, IoDF ends up speaking with PR and marketing teams who want to “follow everyone else like lemmings and do a bloody NFT”, Elliott-Young says. “It’s not about that.” Slowly, some fashion players are seeing Web3 as a viable business growth driver. “Forever 21 doesn’t sell beanies IRL, but it can sell over 2000 SKUs a day on Roblox.” Indeed, she argues metaverse-focused business objectives should be as important as e-commerce.
Supporting diverse digital talent
Diverse representation in the metaverse is a core tenet of IoDF. A photorealistic double of the IoDF co-founders, Cattytay and Elliott-Young, developed with 3D content studio Daz3 and queer 3D designers was built to empower queer voices and represent them in the digital sphere. The virtual products, Inclusive Digital Realities Bundle and the Catty 8.1 Gender Fluid Pride Fashion Bundle, were timed for Pride and to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The bundles feature 3D assets of queer fashion at pivotal moments throughout modern LGBTQ+ history.