The metaverse's IRL revenue opportunities

The metaverse’s IRL revenue opportunities

Winnie Burke, head of fashion and beauty partnerships at online gaming platform Roblox, tells Drapers how creators, brands, and consumers engage and transact in the metaverse.

Millions of people are dipping their toes into the virtual worlds of the nascent “metaverse” every day, and the numbers are growing. In Q1 2022, for example, Roblox had 54.1 million daily active users in 180 countries, up 28% year-on-year. Just over half (52%) of users are over the age of 13, but the 17-24 age group is seeing the fastest growth.

With the increase in these online interactions [there are many “metaverses”, from Decentraland, where Metaverse Fashion Week was held in March, and Louis Vuitton’s own metaverse, Louis The Game, to Zepeto – where Ralph Lauren launched a virtual collection in 2021 – and Fortnite, a gaming world in which Balenciaga and Moncler sell digital apparel for users’ avatars] self-expression in the digital world is becoming increasingly important. A personal sense of style – and by extension virtual fashion – is becoming part of how millions of people spend their time online.

For some young metaverse pioneers, customizing their avatar is a way to reflect their real identity. After all, the online world is rapidly emerging as a crucial social space comparable to the playground, park or shopping mall. For others, it’s about playing around with looks they wouldn’t wear IRL.

Every day in 2021, one in five daily active Roblox users updated their avatar with digital clothing and accessories bought or traded on the Marketplace or acquired through Brand Experiences.

This appetite for virtual fashion has been satisfied by the emergence of ambitious independent designers, all creating primarily for the metaverse. There is a huge community of designers on the Roblox platform who make virtual items for other users, producing everything from dresses and costumes to shirts and skirts and accessories such as hats, jewelry and sunglasses.

Many Gen Z designers have launched their own avatar apparel collections, reached countless fans through global collaborations with major brands, and earned real-world earnings.

For example, Vivian Arellano, a 21-year-old developer and user-generated content (UGC) creator in California, joined Roblox when she was 12 and quickly experimented with her own digital fashion designs. Nine years later, Arellano has designed apparel for virtual concerts on the platform featuring avatars of artists such as Lil Nas X and Zara Larsson, and earned enough to financially support his family.

Another Florida-based designer, Samuel Jordan, has sold more than 25 million virtual fashion items, including sunglasses, hats, jackets and pants, since he began designing late pieces. 2019.

He has now collaborated with Stella McCartney and Burberry on virtual collections, and earlier this month he was one of five designers selected to curate a custom themed collection in collaboration with model Karlie Kloss.

IRL world

Virtual fashion also allows brands and designers to experiment with new concepts and verify their ideas with their online audience before launching physical versions. Forever 21, for example, launched a black beanie as a physical product after its virtual success.

With recent technological innovations making it easier for designers to create hyper-realistic, natural-looking clothing that fits any avatar body type, it’s a trend we expect to see grow in a big way. significantly in the years to come.

In 2021, 25 million virtual items were created on Roblox, of which 5.8 billion were purchased, earning creators $538 million.

Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Vans are among those who have created worlds in Roblox where fans can check out the latest collections and try on virtual clothes.

Digital fashion is having a growing impact on the industry as a whole, as evidenced by the British Fashion Council’s decision to create the first-ever Fashion Award for Metaverse Design last year, which went to designer from the Roblox community, cSapphire, by a panel of judges including Karlie Kloss.

The collaboration of independent designers and established fashion brands pushes the industry to explore a world of creative and potentially lucrative possibilities within the metaverse. Platforms such as Roblox offer a new generation of fashion designers the opportunity to spearhead trends in the virtual world, while making a growing impact in the physical world.

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