First things first: what actually is the metaverse? Owned by Meta (Facebook's latest rebrand), it refers to a shared virtual world and digital spaces using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). And now, it's hit the fashion world.
Gemma Sheppard, the star of Channel 5’s 10 Years Younger in 10 Days, will provide virtual styling services for fashion fanatics, helping to create and customise wardrobes for avatars, all from within the Metaverse. Collaborating with Metaventures - an investment firm that backs metaverse startups - in the gaming platform Roblox, a virtual, online space where users socialise, develop their own games, play other people' games and explore user-created content.
Each metaverse platform typically has its own cryptocurrency that users can buy and use online. On Roblox, consumers purchase avatar shop items using Robux and last year Roblox saw a virtual Gucci bag sell for 350,000 Robux or £3,016 (yes, that's more than one costs IRL).
Dubbed ‘fashion’s go-to playground’, the metaverse is fast becoming a go-to destination for fashion brands who want to target a new generation of fashion consumers. In the past 12 months, leading designers including Burberry, Gucci, and Stella McCartney created and sold digital clothing in the metaverse.
Using their own Roblox avatar, stylists will supply in-game styling to consumers’ digital identities via virtual try-ons, look books and personal styling showrooms. Sheppard's fashion expertise will be available to any Roblox user who wants to express themselves through digital clothing, mixing and matching various styles to get the look they need.
'I’m never afraid to evolve - call it the chameleon in me - and I’m overjoyed to be at the forefront of this new chapter of fashion,' says Sheppard. 'Trust me, metaverse fashion is a digital trend that is going to grow and grow. Endless designers have already dipped their toes into selling product virtually and at this year’s Met Gala, usual party pictures were ditched in favour of turning celebrity guests into 3D avatars.
'The metaverse is the place where anyone can express themselves through fashion so for brands it’s untapped territory for connecting with customers and also road-testing new designs because if it’s popular in the metaverse, it’ll likely fly in store. I’m super intrigued by the idea of uniting real and virtual life.
Sheppard adds: 'Roblox has been ahead of the game for years as a place to design virtual fashion so as the first fashion stylist to work in the metaverse I’m ready for my avatar to take that to another level by helping people explore fashion in a 3D world where creativity is limitless. It feels amazing to be part of something so inclusive and environmentally friendly. Everyone is becoming more mindful about reducing clothing consumption and in the metaverse there’s zero waste - just maximum innovation and self-expression.'
Sheppard, who has spent over 20 years in styling, has made the move into cyber fashion following Roblox recently revealing plans to increase the social experience of its vast audience of 43.2 million daily active users by making avatars more life-like and customisable with new layered clothing, hair and accessories.
This spring, Sheppard and Metaventures are staging the first Metaverse Fashion Week which will feature brands and personalities from the fashion world, new creations and fantastic combinations, to inspire a new generation of fashion fans.
'We are very excited to expand the Metaventures portfolio into the fashion world,' says Matthew Warneford, founder and chief executive of Metaventures.
'We firmly believe that the future of entertainment, music, fashion and education lies in the metaverse. Our collaboration with Gemma Sheppard and the launch of the Metaverse Fashion Week will open the door for fashion brands to talk directly to the next generation.'
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