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What will fashion be like in Mark Zuckerberg's metaverse?

From real to digital, seamlessly

What will fashion be like in Mark Zuckerberg's metaverse? From real to digital, seamlessly

Yesterday, during the annual Connect 2021 conference, Mark Zuckerberg revealed the new name of Facebook's mother company, Meta – a name that, in the words of the Facebook founder, wants «reflect who we are and the future we hope to build» that is, the metaverse, a digital world that will unify the experiences of all existing social media, placing them in a three-dimensional virtual space or projecting them onto the physical world. In the words of Zuckerberg himself the metaverse will be « an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it» and where «you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today». Within the metaverse, the user's POV and therefore the centerpiece of the entire experience will be the avatars, whose appearance can be controlled in virtually every detail, creating perhaps the broadest field of application for digital fashion so far. The topic of avatar personalization and especially digital fashion were so central, in fact, that they occupied a good part of the video-presentation of an hour and a half seen yesterday at Connect – opening the field to many new possibilities for both users and creatives and brands.

Many minutes of the Meta presentation were spent describing the degree of realism of the new platform, which will give users the opportunity to reproduce any shade of skin, facial or fabric of their dress - all features already present in previous fashion experiments in the world of avatars and digital experiences - especially in the case of The Fabricant, the first ever digital fashion brand to create this new field of design. A more interesting aspect, however, emerged during the intervention of YouTuber Jackie Aina who told how, through the metaverse, it will be possible «create atmospheres, environments and moods to enhance creativty» that is, extending the concept of what in the physical world would only be a catwalk or a stage to an entire digital environment disconnected from the limitations of physics. This represents a new type of validation for digital art that will now be applicable holistically to every type of digital experience. The possibility of creating conceptual and hyper-realistic environments at the same time, in which to invite an indefinite number of other users, represents a unique turning point for digital fashion shows, live events, exhibitions and workshops but also for retail by combining the immediacy of a real-time event with the design of digital clothes and environments, with the possibility of making NFT and virtual collectibles more relevant because it is part of a unitary and universal platform. The result is the transformation of digital experiences into total works of art where music, 3D animations, architecture and product design as well as fashion will create immersive sensory experiences in the round. A type of all-inclusive experiential continuity that is well represented by the new logo of the tech company: a Möbius strip that symbolizes infinity, the continuity between all the various aspects of the metaverse.

The continuity between the new metaverse, the pre-existing digital spaces and the physical world is another fundamental point that will define the way in which the digital fashion experience inside Meta: firstly because the digital clothes purchased for your avatar in any platform will always be collectible in customizable wardrobes as well as wearable and available through the entire metaverse, unlike Fortnite skins which, for example, cannot be moved outside the game; secondly, because the metaverse will be able to interact with the real world through augmented reality. This last aspect is still under development, but it remains no less central: Meta, Luxottica and Ray-Ban have in fact the first model of smart glasses that represent a first step towards the implementation of AR in everyday life but that for now serves to share photos and videos on social networks without having to pick up the phone, receive phone calls or listen to music. And even if the goal is to «full AR» it can be seen that the idea of continuity between different features and platforms is the conceptual drive of the entire project, which wants to condense in a single place all those types of experiences and ways of consuming and interacting with content that today are still dispersed through separate devices and platforms. The presence of a hardware side then opens a whole new chapter in the design of accessories in which fashion and technology will necessarily have to meet, experimenting with new solutions.