Fashion Clutches Technology At New York Fashion Week, Nolcha Shows At Mercedes-Benz Manhattan

By: Christos Makridis

At the convergence of fashion, technology, and the burgeoning world of the Web3, the Nolcha Shows unveiled a multifaceted fashion-tech event as part of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) on Sunday, September 10, 2023, at the iconic Mercedes-Benz Manhattan. Celebrating its 15th year of experiential events, the Nolcha Shows provided a “Fashionology” immersive experience, fusing runway shows with a cutting-edge technology experience lounge. Creating a destination for all realities will collide, guests had the opportunity to explore various innovative advancements, including:

  • Digital Wearables: Showcasing the intersection of fashion and technology.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): Immersive experiences in collaboration with ARkivist and MONTSERRAT New York.
  • Interactive Fashion Gaming: A blend of entertainment and style.
  • Sustainable Fashion Brands: Featuring designers focused on sustainability and ethical fashion, curated by Wear The Future including Francesca Cottone, Michelle Fite, Pavé the Way, Nandanie, Aks Mathur and Anna Zuckerman.
  • Onsite Experiential Tech Activations: Such as LAVO’s community hub for creators and NUMB3R xA, a digital art collective, will showcase a select number of works by Jenni Pasanen in anticipation of their upcoming collection launch intersecting the realms of fine art and fashion in the modern digital landscape.

The event also featured the anticipated “Ones to Watch” Featuring Web3, ready-to-wear and wedding brands: Oh Polly, Nazranaa, Jessica Abbey & Federico Kampf, Tina Tandon, Vitruvius, and a special collection by the New York Culture Club with embedded microchips for an immersive AR experience.

The web3 space and impact has been evolving over the past years. The market capitalization of crypto declined from roughly $3 trillion in December 2021 to just over $1 trillion in the months that followed and now up to $1.5 trillion, according to Statista. And yet, there are still many investors, developers and active communities building the web3 technologies that are impacting all realities and industries.

“Consumer appetite for digital assets, specifically static jpeg NFTs, have dropped off significantly which is natural with hype cycles and speculation,” said Hans Bauer, chief operating officer at ARkivist. “However, digital assets as a whole remain robust (e.g., Roblox, Fortnite, dotSWOOSH) driven by the human need for self-expression, both online and off. What matters most to people is the ability to curate digital identities, and the validity of web3 in that conversation is the empowerment of digital ownership.”

The tech terms and formats are insignificant to the end-consumer experience. Now, the focus is shifting to leverage web3 technologies for creating MixMedia products and experiences. “What matters to consumers most is personalized experiences and practical utility. As AI evolves and its implications on privacy and security come into focus, web3 will regain the spotlight for its decentralized, secure architecture,” said Blake Hotz, co-founder at ISG Metaverse.

“With the latest innovations in augmented reality from big tech, such as Apple’s Vision Pro and Google’s ARCore, we’re going to see massive adoption of digital storytelling using immersive mobile AR. Digital wearables, an obvious form of human expression online, will be one of the first use cases for this new technology,” said Keiji Drysdale, co-founder at ARkivist. Nocha Shows recognizes the potential of bringing the fashion and web3 communities together at an important time of the year.

“Authenticating and proving ownership are the kingpins crucial to giving them [digital wearables] value. They provide anyone with an internet connection the chance to advance their social status through proof of ownership along with gaining wealth by trading in virtual games and communities. These micro transactions keep the economy moving. People can express their true nature with these digital assets free from the bonds of their physical and economic realities,” said Anina Net, founder and CEO of 360Fashion Network 360fashion.

ISG Metaverse and Convai showcased their new and unique partnership, bringing AI characters to life within immersive 3D environments for the next chapter of e-commerce. The DeMode Showcase also highlighted the connection between digital and physical art pieces with digital twins dispatched to the moon as part of a permanent art moon museum.

“Leveraging our existing 3D environments, we’ve shifted focus to immersive AI-driven experiences that can be hosted on both websites and standalone launchers via Unreal Engine or Unity. These AI avatars can provide personalized user experiences, whether educational or sales-oriented, meeting consumers where they currently stand in terms of technological adoption… As AI continues to permeate daily life, demands for increased privacy and security will naturally follow. These are concerns that Web3 technologies like blockchain can address, potentially leading to a future where AI and Web3 are intrinsically linked,” Hotz continued.

Continuing a “Give Back” tradition as part of their core-values and goals, the Nolcha Shows honored military spouses with a VIP makeover experience, including hairstyling and makeup sessions, backstage access, front-row seats, and transportation in an all-electric Mercedes-Benz fleet.

“I think the web3 sector is trying to ‘drag’ everyone from IRL to their universe, when truly the web3 communities are by default active in web1 and web2 already. What we are set to do is not to try and bridge over those realities, but mix them in order for the fashion, art and tech communities to leverage and experience brands in the digital and physical spaces simultaneously. The technology is blazing ahead, but by creating stops at the stations people can hop on board to enhance their journey,” said Arthur Mandel, CEO/co-founder of Nolcha Shows.

By melding fashion with immersive Web3 innovation, the Nolcha Shows at New York Fashion Week 2023 held in Mercedes-Benz Manhattan is building a narrative and coalition that transcends traditional boundaries, offering a glimpse into the future where fashion, AI technology, and the metaverse coalesce into a harmonious and revolutionary experience.

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