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Metaverse Design is the new category awarded at the British Fashion Awards 2021

The new frontier of digital fashion

Metaverse Design is the new category awarded at the British Fashion Awards 2021  The new frontier of digital fashion

Last night, on the stage of the Fashion Awards 2021 of the British Fashion Council, a new award was presented: that of Metaverse Design. Five designers from the Roblox community were nominated, presented by an avatar of Alessandro Michele who, with Gucci, has also produced a capsule of virtual items the proceeds of which have been donated to charity. The winner was cSapphire, also known as Kyasia, a 19-year-old artist who started designing digital outfits in 2013, collaborating with Gucci, designing custom costumes for some of the platform's most important players, and opening the cSapphire Clothing Store – an online destination that today has more than 5.4 million visits. The awarding of this award represents a fundamental innovation for the fashion system: first of all because it marks the entry of digital fashion within the "regularized" context of the fashion system and its awards as well as its recognition; secondly, because the award to cSapphire can help to cast a glance towards the broader future of digital fashion design

cSapphire is a very young designer, with transversal skills that are halfway between the actual fashion design and web development, but above all who has managed to establish her own brand and her celebrity status on Roblox working substantially alone - a designer completely antithetical to the classic paradigm of the fashion world, which requires years of studies and apprenticeship as well as slow ascents towards positions of success and power. The cSapphire Clothing Store, opened in 2015, has already sold 2 and a half million items, which are not only a digital version of the ready-to-wear but real customizations commissioned by some of the star creators of the platform such as Keisyo, InquisitorMaster and ZacharyZaxor. 

There's more: cSapphire's creations have also become the outfit of VyrissDev and Exspects' physical collectibles, thus leaving their mark also within Roblox's "secondary" cultural ecosystem - which is expanding after the agreement between the platform and Hasbro for the production of toys last April. Christina Wootton, VP of Global Brand Partnerships at Roblox summed up the new scenarios opened up by an award like last night's:

«The next generation of designers are dressing avatars, and they are doing it on Roblox where anyone can be a creator […]. Fashion is about what’s next and finding new voices with clear visions, and this talent is emerging in the metaverse. It is the global creative space for designers who are bringing limitless self-expression opportunities to people around the world, setting new trends that are starting to move into real life, and sharing their expertise with top brands. This recognition from a powerful fashion institution declares loud and clear that this is the space to watch for future fashion trends and talent».

The metaverse is becoming an incubator of talents and above all of trends, therefore, but also as an open territory for new types of collaborations and products. Platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite, which recently partnered with Balenciaga, are a potentially huge new market that will cover a vast spectrum of products ranging from digital couture to NFTs, from board games to official collectibles and fashion itself. And if we consider how last June a Gucci bag was sold on Roblox for over 4000 dollars, it is reasonable to imagine that in the coming months many fashion brands will express interest in the metaverse which, according to BoF estimates, represents a revenue opportunity of about 50 billion for the world of luxury – in practice an entire market in its own right and above all not physical,  that does not present problems of production, logistics or industrial chain and that instead opens to the world of collaborations a new multicultural and very young ecosystem of designers whose fan base is extremely attractive for fashion brands.