What does Sina see in metaverse: will you buy untouchable virtual fashion?

It has become a reality in metaverse that you can buy fashion items of luxury brands for tens to hundreds of yuan. However, such a fashion item is a virtual fashion that can only be seen but not touched.

The popularity of metaverse concept also makes fashion circles such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Ralph Lauren smell business opportunities. This year, fashion brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Ralph Lauren have entered metaverse and launched virtual fashion. Is this an advanced version of “QQ show” or the emperor’s new clothes? Will virtual fashion become the trend of the future?

Balenciaga cooperates with the game platform fortress night to design costumes for virtual characters in the game. Source: Balenciaga

What is metaverse?

Metaverse is a virtual world parallel to the real world. It is not a specific application or product, but a concept. In this virtual world, people have their own virtual avatars. They can have immersive experiences such as shopping, dining out and participating in virtual concerts as in the real world. They can also interact with others with the help of virtual avatars. At present, the bearing form of metaverse is mainly an online game platform, which will continue to evolve and extend in the future.

Fashion brands aim at the virtual shopping experience. Players buy clothes in metaverse to shape their avatars in the virtual world.

Why is virtual fashion popular?

Although the metaverse concept is popular this year, it has long been popular for fashion brands to launch virtual clothing. In 2019, Louis Vuitton developed “skin” for players of League of heroes.

The epidemic situation has contributed to the tide of virtual clothing. The epidemic makes people stay at home longer, and the policy of maintaining social distance allows people to spend more time online socializing. Data show that in 2020, American adults spent 7 hours and 50 minutes a day on digital devices, an increase of 15% over 2019.

In order to seize this tuyere, major fashion brands have formulated metaverse strategies. Balenciaga has established a special metaverse business department, Gucci and bobley have launched virtual clothing, and Nike has hired designers specializing in designing virtual sports shoes.

Gucci’s virtual fashion source launched on the game platform zepeto: Gucci

Why does virtual fashion make these famous brands so crazy? In short: profitable. Morgan Stanley said that by 2030, metaverse could expand the potential market of luxury brands by more than 10%, bringing in more than $50 billion in revenue.

First, for brands, the introduction of virtual clothing means that there is no need to purchase raw materials, pay labor costs and transportation costs. At the same time, the brand has a large number of finished products that can be used as the template of virtual fashion, which reduces the design cost. In addition, virtual clothing is also more environmentally friendly. Compared with the production of real clothes, making a virtual clothing can consume 97% less carbon and 872 gallons of water, and the brand does not have to deal with the inventory at the end of the season.

Virtual dress designed by virtual fashion brand tribute source: Tribute

Second, virtual fashion is also attractive to consumers. It sounds ridiculous to spend real money on clothes that you can’t touch. But virtual fashion is not much different from the “QQ show” that once made the post-80s and post-90s crazy, and the “skin” that now makes game players “krypton gold”.

The target group of virtual fashion is mainly the “digital aborigines” of generation Z. with the growth of Internet time in the future, this group will pay more attention to their image in the virtual world.

And some big brand virtual fashion is not as expensive as expected. In September 2021, Balenciaga launched “skin” on the game platform fortress night, which costs about $8. On the game platform roblox, Ralph Lauren’s winter clothes, including down jacket, wool cap and ski suit, can be bought for $3-5.

Ralph Lauren’s winter clothes on the game platform roblox source: Ralph Lauren’s official website

For ordinary young people, they can buy big brands for a small amount of money, regardless of body restrictions, and realize “freedom of dressing”. Isn’t that why we were obsessed with “QQ show” in those years?

Virtual fashion also allows designers to have more creative freedom. They can give full play to their ideas without being limited by fabrics.

Virtual dress “Rainbow” designed by digital fashion company fabricant source: Social Media

Where can I buy it?

At present, there is no unified metaverse platform. Fashion brands mainly launch virtual fashion on the game platform, such as Robles, Sims, fortress night, etc. In Asia, the hottest metaverse platform is South Korea’s zepeto (Chinese version called “Zizai”), with 250 million users. The platform has sold more than 1.6 billion virtual fashion items. For every 5000 gold coins sold on the platform, the designer can get a return of $106. According to the BBC, a 28 year old Canadian designer gained “six figure income” by designing virtual fashion on the platform.

However, at present, virtual fashion can only be worn on the purchased platform and cannot be used in all scenes of metaverse.

Ralph Lauren’s fashion source on zepeto: Ralph Lauren

Although all walks of life are gearing up for metaverse, metaverse is still in its infancy. Some people are full of expectations for it to achieve the ideal state of virtual and real communication, while others are full of doubts that it is not a marketing scam.

In short, it’s understandable to buy a big virtual brand and have fun, but the most wonderful metaverse is to live a good real life.

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