Stage11, the French company developing a music-themed virtual world has partnered with Paris Fashion Week. This partnership lays the foundation for fashion students and designers to take their designs into The Metaverse over the coming months. It's a smart move. Fashion design for avatars has always been extremely popular inside virtual worlds and there's already thousands of virtual designers creating user-generated content (UGC). This virtual economy and ecosystem of fashion designers have created what are known as 'metabrands' - brands that have created and exist purely on a virtual basis. The Stage 11 initiative with Paris Fashion Week will further stimulate this activity.
The IFM Master of Arts Students Graduate Show, which opened Paris Fashion Week, incorporated real and virtual dimensions and for the first time, the thirteen students of the accessory major designed a digital shoe or bag to complement their physical collection. "This collaboration with Stage11 is altogether new, unique and highly relevant today, as the metaverse and digital designs become part of fashion's future. This was a very stimulating experience for our students and our faculty." said Xavier Romatet, Dean of IFM.
“Our collaboration with IFM was a natural connection for our brand vision. The worlds of music and fashion are so intertwined, with one informing and shaping the other through culture. As the fashion industry continues to explore what its future looks like, the metaverse, digital experiences and ultimately, digital goods will be a part of that and the next generation of designers will be the leaders in the space. We are very excited for Stage11 to be a part of shaping the future of fashion,” said Gregory Dhonner, Co-Founder & Director of Business Development.
Stage11 guided the students throughout their digital design journey, transforming their original sketches into fully realized digital creations all varying dramatically in aesthetic and theme. While many students were inspired by their own personal stories, others decided to focus on experimenting with textures and shapes within a digital space, building metallic designs which behaved like organic, gelatinous objects. There were deeply conceptual works, such as a bag that can transform into a tent allowing users to hold private conversations in The Metaverse.
To showcase the co-created digital accessories, part of the IFM fashion show, Stage11 Art Director, Victor Bonafonte developed four fantastical environments in Unreal Engine 5 inspired by a signature workroom at the institute: one envisioning a space overgrown with trees, another bisected by boulders and a bubbling stream. Other designs are presented in a grungy, science-fiction-inspired environment, while a final room imagines how fashion could be displayed in a space without gravity. Each student has full ownership of their digital accessory and has the opportunity to mint them as NFTs on any digital marketplace.
To showcase the co-created digital accessories, part of the IFM fashion show, Stage11 Art Director, Victor Bonafonte developed four environments in Unreal Engine 5 inspired by a signature workroom at the institute: one envisioning a space overgrown with trees, another bisected by boulders and a bubbling stream. Other designs are presented in a grungy, science-fiction-inspired environment, while a final room imagines how fashion could be displayed in a space without gravity. Each student has full ownership of their digital accessory and has the opportunity to mint them as NFTs on any digital marketplace.
There's a few interesting dynamics to virtual fashion. Firstly, customising an avatar with clothing and other apparel is literally the first thing a new user to a virtual world will do once they've signed up. And, as new users begin to explore the worlds they join, very quickly they come into contact with other users with their own styles and clothing, thus encouraging them to customise even more. So, there's a massive opportunity for clothing and fashion companies to go front and centre into the Metaverse user audience by integrating their real-world brands into the avatar creation process and of course enabling ongoing purchases on a longer basis.
Secondly there is a brand-new revenue stream for brands waiting to be activated by virtual clothing. People WILL pay money to 'dress-up' their avatar - it's no different to the real-world and guess what? - the laws of supply and demand are just as applicable within virtual worlds. Items in limited editions will demand higher prices. Plus there is now the opportunity to tie-in NFTs to these virtual goods to ensure ownership, quality and quantity control of the items, coupled with sell-on commissions to the original creator.
Thirdly and possibly the most interesting is UCG. Real-world clothing companies and designers should actively encourage virtual world users to create their own fashion designs underneath the umbrella of their brands. Let the users interpret the brand themselves and allow them to make their own creations. By loosening their brand guidelines in the interest of fostering new digital relationships and stimulating creativity it's a win-win situation for all parties. Creators get recognition and financial rewards, real-world brands get exposure into valuable chorts, users get more choice and more recognised metabrands to customise themselves with and the operators of the virtual worlds have happier, more engaged audiences. This concept will be further explained in the upcoming Metaversed report The Five Rules of Virtual Brand Management.
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