What exactly is the metaverse and can fashion effectively conquer it?

  • Style
  • Tuesday, 15 Feb 2022

Italian fashion house Gucci was one of the first to offer digital experiences. Photo: Roblox

After having made some inroads here and there, the fashion industry – or rather the luxury industry – is now moving up a gear when it comes to conquering the metaverse.

Italian fashion house Gucci, probably the forerunner in the field, has just secured a space on The Sandbox, while Philipp Plein has entered Decentraland – two virtual destinations in which the two brands still have everything to build.

Still a vague concept for many people around the world, the metaverse has long seduced the fashion industry, which has understood the potential of these parallel worlds.

This collection of virtual universes, which some define as the future of the internet – or the internet of the future – are essentially nothing more than online spaces where users can socialise, have fun, and above all, consume.

Read more: Malaysian label launches first ever local NFT fashion collection as the industry rides the NFT wave

Mark Zuckerberg's vision takes things even further.

At the announcement of the Facebook group's name-change to Meta, the billionaire – or should we say his digital twin – presented a vision of the future that was like something from a science fiction movie.

From conferences and concerts to shopping malls... everything would happen in these parallel worlds, accessible via an augmented reality headset.

While it sounds scary to some, others can't wait to jump in, especially if they're already deeply rooted in these worlds through gaming.

This is where the fashion and luxury industries come in, eager to reach – once and for all – their prime target, which happens to be Millennials, and even more so Gen-Zs and Alphas. The generations who grew up with video games and digital technology.

Nearly three billion people, in fact, the majority of them in Asia, with the video game industry now proving bigger than the music and movie industries combined.

As such, there's no way that the fashion and luxury goods sector can do without this market. And the only solution is to be at the forefront of the trend, ensuring that the doors to the metaverse are open wide as soon as possible.

Gucci takes the plunge

Italian fashion house Gucci was one of the first to offer digital experiences, whether through collaborations with video games, the launch of the digital version of its Gucci Garden on Roblox, or the marketing of items to dress Zepeto avatars.

In other words, it's safe to say that the brand has done its homework before deciding to launch into the metaverse. And that's now a done deal.

After the success of its NFT series launched in collaboration with Superplastic, Gucci has just acquired a piece of virtual land in The Sandbox, a gaming platform considered as one of the first metaverses.

The Italian brand has not yet said anything about the amount involved in this acquisition, but it has made known that this space would offer access to immersive experiences.

Here, everything will be based around its Gucci Vault platform, billed as an experimental concept store, revolving around vintage Gucci pieces and everything related to the metaverse.

All that remains is to find out what these experiences will actually involve, no doubt combining entertainment with shopping. And that's something that might appeal to the Gen-Z, some of whom think that metaverses should be envisaged as digital malls.

Welcome to Plein Plaza

Plein Plaza is a concept initiated by Philipp Plein in Decentraland, another metaverse.

The fashion designer has bought US$1.4mil (RM5.9mil) worth of virtual land, or 65 plots totaling 16,400 square metres. A decent-sized area to develop all kinds of activities.

"I am very excited and truly proud to have seized this opportunity to own a portion of the Metaverse so early on in the development and establishment of this new universe," the designer said on Instagram.

"We are there to stay and to develop and share the creativity of all our brands (Philipp Plein, Plein Sport and Billionaire) also in this new dimension of human interaction in which I personally believe a lot. Stay connected and see you there!"

Read more: Millennials and Gen-Zs are now more likely to embrace luxury than their elders

The brand has already announced that this virtual estate will be called "Plein Plaza", and that it will host luxury boutiques, entertainment, an art museum, a hotel and luxury residences.

Something concrete that certainly stirs curiosity. Perhaps fashion and the metaverse is a concept that is (finally) starting to take shape. – AFP Relaxnews

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fashion , trends , metaverse , Gucci , Philipp Plein


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