When the Metaverse becomes a laboratory for real-world products

Invented sneakers in a virtual world that take shape in the real world, designers who test clothes on avatars before creating them: The Metaverse claims itself as a place of experimentation, meets consumers.

In recent months, a growing number of brands have sought to establish a presence in these digital universes that everyone is talking about, from Roblox to Fortnite, while waiting for the one promised by Meta/Facebook. , for fear of missing out on a major technological change.

And some are already looking to come back with concepts and designs oriented by users, to reject them physically.

“In real life, everything is insanely expensive to make any product,” explains couturier Julian Fourney. “We could be wrong, these are huge bets. One pair of glasses, one bag, you put it in the stores and you don’t know if it will work.”

The Metaverse is “an open space for literally testing things out and recreating an extremely accurate link with experience in real life”.

Internet users make use of what brands offer them in the metaverse, their preferences, their tastes, providing a wealth of information.

It’s part of a fundamental trend of using data collected online, “to create better collections, to make more accurate production forecasts,” says Achim Berg, partner at the firm McKinsey.

The lack of being able to meet in one place has led many designers to create in three dimensions as the coronavirus pandemic hastened the synergy between the virtual and the real, while a good portion of the fashion community still lives flat. Was working, insists consultant.

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So a model created in 3D can more easily reside on either side of the screen, either digitally or physically.

– Determine the quantity demanded –

In late February 2021, RTFKT Studio, in a limited series with Seattle artist Fuoshius, launched 621 pairs of virtual sneakers with their NFT, a tamper-proof digital property certificate.

One of the core aspects of the operation was to match each pair sold that day with genuine shoes, which buyers could pick up six weeks later.

“We believe that this emotional connection with physical goods is always important and can strengthen an attachment to digital products,” said Wall Street Journal, Benoit Pagoto, one of the founders of RTFKT, acquired by giant Nike in December. Did. ,

The Aglet app, which mixes virtual sneakers and augmented reality, has teamed up with heavyweights Adidas or Reebok to create its own shoe, the Telga.

She now plans to make real sneakers, its managing director Ryan David Mullins announced.

They claim that the first batch of 500 copies has already been sold before the start of production.

“When you can quantify demand on these platforms,” ​​he says, “it’s easier to build an outlet in the physical world when there’s more data on how much to build”.

Aglet works with young designers who can “start building their brand” on the platform, and then, if there is demand, “make the transition” to reality.

– becomes the real accessory –

Another variation of the metaverse is high-end fashion platform Farfetch, which in August launched a formula that allows you to pre-order Balenciaga, Off-White or Dolce & Gabbana items as if they’re just lines. Code, a spec.

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The site collaborated with DressX Studio, which designs virtual clothing, to achieve a rendering that is as convincing as possible.

The parts in the workshop are really only made on a pre-orders basis. This formula is especially appealing to high-end brands, more so than ready-to-wear behemoths.

It also has to meet certain requirements of the times, namely, to avoid overproduction and unsold products as much as possible, and thus to offer a more environmentally-responsible approach.

Not everyone is convinced by the interest of physically creating the metaverse concrete masterpieces.

“Digital pieces can be worn, collected and traded in the metaverse, so there is no need for a physical equivalent,” says The Manufacturer, a virtual fashion house.

This Dutch company nonetheless views the permeability between the two universes positively as “when individuals transfer the aesthetics of the virtual world to their physical lives”.

“In the end, what matters is the desire,” says Achim Berg. “If something is desirable in this (virtual) space, why shouldn’t it be in another?”

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About the Author: Tad Fisher

Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.

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