The CFDA debuts a metaverse fashion exhibition celebrating 60 years of American fashion | Bot To News

Fashion is a cyclical exercise. In the CFDA’s 60 years, the styles of yesteryear have been reinvented too many times to count. While that remains the same, the technology used to digest fashion and new collections has changed light years.

Curator Darnell-Jamal Lisby, left, and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, right, with featured show looks from Anna Sui, Zac Posen, Norma Kamali, Off-White and Willi Smith – Courtesy

To celebrate its 60th milestone in 2022, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is launching its debut metaverse fashion exhibition, “Fashioning the Shades of American Design,” working in partnership with the Sandbox platform. As a cornerstone of the CFDA’s commitment to innovation and the future growth of the fashion industry, the seminal exhibition will inspire the often technology-reticent fashion community to the Web3 while introducing the past and present of the industry’s uniquely American fashion to a generation of players

“The metaverse exhibition is a new and innovative way to share the immense talent of our members while allowing us to reach new audiences around the world. It seems fitting to reflect on CFDA’s past in a modern and forward-looking way, and we are proud to present the first fashion exhibition in the Metaverse,” CFDA CEO Steven Kolb told

The 60 looks and designers represented were selected by fashion historian and assistant fashion curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Darnell-Jamal Lisby. Guests can view the exhibit by creating their avatar, choosing one of the avatar templates in the Sandbox, or connecting their crypto wallet to use an existing digital avatar. Visitors arrive at the exhibit, which is divided into five sections, similar to a real-life museum experience: Illuminating a Fantasy; Enlightening Romance; Illuminating the Vanguard; Illuminating understanding; and Illuminating Soul, with a fun special side gallery called Studio CFDA, a play on Studio 54 complete with the cast of characters and designers present at the time.

The exhibition demonstrates the scope and breadth of cultural contributions to American fashion. Featured looks reimagined in a voxel environment include Stephen Burrows’ colorful layered lettuce dress created for the 1973 Battle of Versailles; Dapper Dan’s 1980s custom design for hip-hop legends Eric B & Rakim; a grunge look from Marc Jacobs’ famous Spring 1993 Perry Ellis collection; an eclectic ’70s-inspired look from Anna Sui’s Fall 2000 collection and a Thom Browne crinoline menswear ensemble from his Spring 2020 collection. Lisby largely chose images of the looks primarily from the CFDA archives.

An avatar of Steven Kolb greets visitors as they explore the various sections. Each aspect is enhanced with a text box and fun facts researched and edited by Lisby, allowing for deeper historical context and understanding of the pieces on display. Considering it’s a game, competitive users can search for voxels.

“Gamers can’t 100 percent resist doing these things. It’s the culture of trophy hunting. Everyone will put their eyes on this interesting IP and it will catch people who maybe had a vague interest in fashion or someone with a special interest that he gets even more out of it,” said Carley Beck, a Sandbox player model who toured the exhibit.

There are practicalities to mounting an exhibition of this scale in the physical that the metaverse can solve.

“The metaverse is global and accessible to anyone with a computer and the internet; it’s much more global. For Sandbox and the CFDA, it’s important to put American fashion on such a big platform and celebrate how far it’s come. European brands have done a lot of work in this space , so it’s nice to see American designers on web3,” said Akbar Hamid, founder and CEO of The 5th Column, a PR firm representing Sandbox.

Adding that experiences can also be physical, and branding opportunities are possible in the evolving space. “It’s a way to get fashion people to explore the Metaverse and gaming people to explore fashion — that’s the intersection we’re trying to create for CFDA and the fashion world that can expand the audience.”

The exhibit closely follows a collection of exclusive, one-of-one commemorative NFTs launched by the CFDA earlier this month, titled “Illuminating the Path of American Fashion.” Developed by Polygon Studios and created by BNV, a select fashion-focused NFT platform for the tokenization, collection and trading of digital fashion assets, CFDA member experienced one-of-a-kind NFTs: Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Vivienne Tam, Wes Gordon by Carolina Herrera and Willy Chavarria.

Both initiatives were developed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of CFDA’s milestone, bridging the gap between the past, the present and the future.

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