Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH When the metaverse becomes a laboratory for real-world products

When the metaverse becomes a laboratory for real-world products


In recent months, a growing number of brands have been seeking to establish a presence in these digital universes that everyone is talking about, from Roblox at Fortnite, pending the one promised by Meta (formerly the Facebook group), for fear of missing a major technological shift.

And many are already thinking of coming back with, under the arm, concepts and designs oriented by users, to decline them physically.

In reality, everything is extremely expensive to make any product, explains designer Julien Fournié. We could be wrong, these are huge bets. A pair of glasses, a bag, you put it in the shops and you don’t know if it will work.

The metaverse is an open place to test things in virtual and recreate an extremely precise link with the experience in real life, he believes.

The use that Internet users make of what the brands offer them in the metaverse, their choices and their tastes are a mine of information.

This is part of a fundamental trend, that of the exploitation of data collected online, to create better collections, make more accurate production forecasts, locates Achim Berg, partner at McKinsey law firm.

Thinner borders between the real and the virtual

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rapprochement between virtual and real by pushing designers to create in three dimensions, for lack of being able to meet in the same place, while a good part of the fashion world was still working flat until ‘here, underlines the consultant.

The model created in 3D can, therefore, live more easily on both sides of the screen, digitally or physically.

At the end of February 2021, the RTFKT studio launched with the Seattle artist Fewocious, in limited series, 621 pairs of virtual shoes in non-fungible tokens (JNF, or non-fungible tokens, NFT, in English), a tamper-proof digital ownership certificate.

One of the original aspects of the operation was to associate each pair sold that day with real shoes, which Internet users could retrieve six weeks later.

We believe that this emotional connection to physical objects is still important and can strengthen attachment to digital products, told the Wall Street Journal Benoît Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT, acquired by the giant Nike in December.

New players alongside major brands

The Aglet application, which mixes virtual shoes and augmented reality, has created its own shoes, the Telga, alongside the heavyweights Adidas or Reebok.

It now plans to make actual shoes, according to Ryan David Mullins, its managing director.

He claims that the first batch of 500 copies was sold before production even started.

When you can quantify the demand on these platforms, it’s easier to create a market in the physical world, by having more data on the quantity to be manufactured.

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

The fashion industry is reinventing itself

Another variation of the metaverse, the high-end fashion platform Farfetch, which launched a formula in August that allows you to pre-order Balenciaga, Off-White or Dolce & Gabbana items which are, as they stand, only lines of code , a fantasy.

The site collaborated with the DressX studio, which designs virtual clothing, in order to achieve the most convincing result possible.

The parts are actually manufactured in the workshop only according to pre-orders. The formula is especially attractive for high-end brands, more than for ready-to-wear behemoths.

It also had the advantage of meeting certain expectations of the time, namely avoiding overproduction and unsold stock as much as possible, and thus offering a more eco-responsible approach.

What happens in the metaverse stays in the metaverse

The interest of physically concretizing the creations of the metaverse does not convince everyone.

Digital coins can be worn, collected, and traded in the metaverse, so there’s no need for a physical equivalent, believes The Manufacturer, a virtual fashion house.

This Dutch company nevertheless sees favorably the permeability between the two worlds, when individuals transpose the aesthetics of the virtual world into their physical life.

Ultimately, what counts is desire, believes Achim Berg. If something is desirable in this (virtual) space, why shouldn’t it be in another?

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