CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier in June, that Meta Platforms, the company that owns Facebook, will open a virtual clothes store where customers can buy high-end garments for their avatars.
First brands whose clothes will be available at the Meta store are Prada, Balenciaga, and Thom Browne. They ought to be accessible as avatars on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. According to Reuters information, “they would be priced between $2.99 and $8.99, much less than the real outfits by those designers. Prada’s Matinee ostrich leather bag, for example, sells for $10,700.”
Other designers will eventually be allowed to independently offer digital clothing for purchase in the market. According to a Meta spokesperson, the company “did not have details to give” regarding whether or how it would distribute revenue to designers.
The demand for digital apparel and other features will become a necessary element of daily life. Meta is convinced that the Metaverse industry will expand to such a state in the upcoming years as the corporation is concentrating more on more on its own Metaverse, which was first revealed in 2021.
“I’m really grateful and proud that these brands are joining us to kick off fashion in the metaverse,” said Zuckerberg on a live call with Eva Chen, Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships at Meta. “Fashion is ultimately a form of art and self-expression. And now being able to wear Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Brown, I can’t wait to see what comes from this,” said Chen.
Apparently the story of collaboration started when Meta tweeted at Balenciaga: “Hey @Balenciaga, what’s the dress code in the metaverse?”
“When Meta tweeted, we were instantly into it,” said Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit in a release. “Web3 and Meta are bringing unprecedented opportunities for Balenciaga, our audience and our products, opening up new territories for luxury.”
Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of starting with reputable brands and stated that the ultimate goal is to provide access to many creators.
“We want to create a marketplace so creators, over time, can design clothing and sell it, … A lot of the dream is to make it accessible to anyone. If you want to design fashion today, you need the physical materials and equipment, but in the future, anyone with a computer and an imagination will be able to come up with ideas for this. … What we do is all about people expressing themselves and connecting, and a huge part of that is what they wear and fashion, so getting that right on all the apps you use is really important”
Community asks for diversity
As existing or potential Metaverse users, people want to see a greater number of options for body type, gender identity, disabilities and types of clothing when appearing online – this are the results of a new global study of 6,000 people by the Institute of Digital Fashion.
The initiative of Meta seems right – the more options to customization the avatar – the better. But we are still very far from what people want. One one is missing such basic things as the ability to mix and match Balenciaga hoodie with a no-name pair of jeans or ability to layer various items of digital clothing as one does in the physical world. And of course we are far from customizing the purchased outfits with feathers and chains if we want to. The niche of traditional and religious clothing is another direction that is still waiting to be explored.
And of course we should not forget, that those NFTs are non-transerable. If you decide to get a pair of Balenciaga shoes in real world. you can wear them to a party in your city and pack them with if you fly to Paris for a weekend. In metaverse avatars and their outfits are not cross-platform creations. So if you want the virtual you to wear Prada you can do it only on Meta platforms, but nowhere else. Just as if you wanted the virtual you to wear Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren or Gucci, you have to be on Roblox.