How Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Metaverse
We’ve all seen Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual avatar debuting Facebook’s rebrand as Meta, virtual concerts in the Fortnite Universe over Covid-19 lockdowns, or this mystical, immersive 3D experience that can be accessed through fancy goggles. But, what exactly is the metaverse?
In its simplest terms, it’s an extensive, visually rich digital world that parallels our real world. People can shop, play, work and socialize, essentially everything that people can do in real life, and on the Internet.
It’s a tough question to answer though, because no one knows how the metaverse will play out. When the foundation for the Internet was first being laid in the 80s, there was much speculation over what it would look like and how useful it would be to people. That conversation feels very similar to how we discuss this, few know what it really means, how it will evolve, and the way it will converge with our lives.
Despite the uncertainties, it’s the latest buzzword in almost every industry, and there’s a great deal of interest in its potential. An eagerness for new innovations and the exploratory nature of their consumers has made the fashion industry one of the metaverse’s earliest adopters. High street brands, luxury houses, and fashion e-commerce sites have all experimented with different forms of the metaverse. Balenciaga, Ralph Lauren and Lacoste teamed up with game developers to dress avatars, Zara, Under Armour and Dolce & Gabbana have all launched NFT projects that are functional in the metaverse, and Mytheresa and Moncler transported people to the mountains with an AR pop-up store.
Utilizing our AI models, we wanted to find out how these brands were introducing and promoting themselves in the metaverse. We began our analysis by finding out the most-searched-for undertakings of fashion brands in the metaverse, which was revealed to be:
Balenciaga’s collaboration with Fortnite (Average Monthly Search Volume: 51.56%)
Gucci launches spaces on Roblox (Average Monthly Search Volume: 11.30%)
Louis Vuitton debuts a mobile game embedded with NFTs (Average Monthly Search Volume: 22.77%)
Evidently, metaverse entry points for most fashion brands so far have been to create their own games or collaborate with online gaming platforms.
Although each game looks distinctly different, like most video games, they are all fantastical, reimaginings of our world. Louis Vuitton’s mobile game app takes you through forests, oceans, and even the skies of a dream-like world, all through the viewpoint of ‘Vivienne”, a monogrammed wooden mascot doll. While Gucci launched a permanent home, “Gucci Town” on Roblox equipped with mini-games, a cafe and virtual store, and a fountain emblazoned with their logo.
Louis: The Game
Gucci Town on Roblox
Our Culture AI revealed the top colors in the promotional videos of these games as various shades of green and gray, representative of fauna, concrete and industrial materials. When envisioning future worlds, many people tend to gravitate towards the idea of a “concrete jungle”, the interweaving of technological advancement and our natural world. Similarly, our AI also detected “green”, “grass”, “terrestrial plant” and “technology” as some of the most repeated objects within the games. These spaces may be fantasies, but they remain rooted in our reality and possible future advancements, culminating in a magical, animated universe that players get to explore.
Top Colors Detected
The key emotions that were detected are creativity, excitement, affection and affiliation. The beauty of the metaverse is that it allows people to be as wild and imaginative as they want to be. Designers have free reign to translate their brand ideas and design aesthetics into this world where the possibilities are almost limitless, from anti-gravity structures to otherworldly characters (“creativity” and “excitement”). Many also enter the virtual world seeking connections, so these brands aim to build intimacy and as many opportunities for interaction amongst their players (“affection” and “affiliation”).
Louis: The Game
The fashion industry choosing to take its first steps into the metaverse via video games shows that while they remain open to the technologies, they are still making cautious moves and gauging how it can work best for them and their consumers. While the metaverse’s rise is undeniably attributed to gaming platforms, it has the potential to be so much more. The virtual world can be built as the extension of our physical world and social media platforms and could have a tremendous, possibly limitless, impact on economies and societies all around the world.
As we create within the metaverse spaces, we are essentially re-examining and designing the world around us, which speaks to what we believe as being good and bad in this world. It’s a critique of our every day and we get to fill in elements in that space that don’t currently exist in ours. The metaverse ultimately allows us to build what we might perceive utopia to look like, without any of the physical boundaries in our real world.
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