Ian Rogers on the Inevitability of Virtual Fashion

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Ian Rogers moved from Silicon Valley to Paris in 2015 when he was appointed chief digital officer of LVMH. There, Rogers, a veteran of Apple Music and Beats, was tasked with building out the luxury conglomerate’s e-commerce and data strategy and serving as a digital whisperer to executives.

Now, he’s chief experience officer of Ledger, a security system that provides protection for digital currencies. Given his experience at the cutting edge of both tech and fashion, he is uniquely positioned to speak to the opportunities being created as crypto technologies, gaming and fashion converge. In his mind, one day, virtual fashion will be ubiquitous.

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“It’s inevitable. It’s a generational shift. I look at my 14-year-old and she has spent the last year and a half living in a metaverse. Her school is on Zoom. She hangs out with her friends online … Having a digital collection is completely natural,” he said. “Why would I want a collection of stuff that no one can see when I can have a collection of digital stuff that everyone can see?”

His insights were originally featured in the fourth episode of The BoF Show, “Dematerialisation: Why the Metaverse Is Fashion’s Next Goldmine,” streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake.

Key Insights:

  • Rogers’ background in the music industry has helped inform the way he perceives’ luxury’s need to take control of digital channels. Record labels lost out big on recorded music because they were in denial of consumers’ desire to listen to music online.
  • Having goods that are both digital and physical, or, “phygital” is the gateway to the existence of purely virtual goods. In order for virtual goods to have real value and meaning, there need to be marketplaces and venues for using them.
  • People have a desire to collect things. With the rise of NFTs, there’s a way to create scarcity digitally — which gives fashion brands an opportunity to create virtual goods based on the principles and hype and rarity that drive the industry today.
  • The biggest misconception people have is that there’s a distinction between the physical and digital worlds, according to Rogers. The blurring of realities in the metaverse will ultimately change our perceptions of what’s real — and valuable.
  • Most technology surrounding digital goods, NFTs, crypto and the metaverse is still nascent, and storytelling about its potential has been ahead of reality.
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