The Certainty — and The Uncertainty — of the Metaverse – WWD

2021 – a year full of ups and downs, turning around – Facebook changed its name to Meta while GucciBurberry, Balenciaga and many other luxury brands flocked in reverse and the world of NFT.

Gucci and Zepeto

Guccipartnership with the virtual social space Zepeto.png.

But what is happening in ChinaThe world’s most growing digital market, is the result of this technological innovation?

There has never been a new industry in China that attracted attention and feverish enthusiasm like reverse, with a huge influx of capital from investors, a series of “bets” made by the business world, and a steady stream of research from the scientific and economic communities. The Chinese fashion industry is also diving into this new world, vigorously exploring its deeper depths.

Against this backdrop, how can China’s fashion industry balance uncertainty and uncertainty as everyone seeks to determine what the metaverse will really mean in the long term? with brands – and consumers?

Last year was nicknamed “The First Year of the Metaverse.” At the beginning of 2022, the “metaverse” was written into government work reports in Hefei and Wuhan, which means that the concept will enter a stage of development where opportunities will be explored, as if grasping it meant embracing the new age rule of wealth.

But even as the concept of the metaverse has gained momentum, the fashion industry is increasingly adopting digitalisation. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Burberry have hit their NFT game to create a metaverse; Gucci has released digital sneakers; Adidas created ‘adiVerse’ in the Sandbox supermarket and Nike opened a virtual flagship “Nikeland” on Roblox.

In China, companies have taken a more multi-dimensional approach to the metaverse, applying it to design and development, marketing and creation, and manufacturing, and using it throughout their facilities. infrastructure of their digitization process.

For example, the digital showroom created by Ellassay, a women’s clothing brand; intelligent metaverse platform for the manufacturing industry created by business leaders like Haier; The apparel 3D digital toolchain is continuously being refined by technology newcomer Style3D with the goal of bringing the entire industry up to date digitally by linking upstream and downstream, and at the same time subscribing. soon the metaverse trademark of the Chinese national brand Heilan Home.

Metaverse is stirring up competition in an already volatile fashion industry. While leading companies are vying for innovation and disrupting real-world patterns, a new battlefield in the virtual world is also being created.

To learn more about this concept, WWD China spoke with renowned Chinese economics professor Zhu Jiaming, who has been invited by governments and businesses to serve as a special advisor to help solve the problems. Their topic is related to the metaverse. Zhu believes that the biggest question for Chinese businesses about the metaverse is whether it is a golden business opportunity and whether it will bring about the next wave of the digital economy. At the same time, the government is more concerned with the risks associated with the metaverse and the need for regulatory compliance with support to develop it; the metaverse’s impact on the real economy, and whether it can provide more jobs and become a new driver of economic development.

Zhu predicts that 2022 will be an important year for the integration of the metaverse into the operations of all industries in China.

Metaverse + Smart Production

According to Zhu’s analysis of China market developments in 2021, the country is likely to play a leading role in combining the metaverse with education, culture and smart manufacturing industries. Specifically, the smart manufacturing sector is represented by the apparel industry but also in a broader sense as the overall lifestyle industry which is being fully integrated in the real economy, bringing models and New value for traditional fields. The essence of the metaverse is to combine the real world with a concept or virtual world mapped through virtual reality technology. Summing up the development of the metaverse over the past 10 months or so, Zhu believes that there are two main paths: first, it continues to grow in the virtual world, with NFTs being the most important product in the gaming fields. , art. and finance; second, the metaverse is increasingly associated with the real world. On the second front, we are seeing strong local policies in China to support the development and integration of the aggregate economy with the real economy, with Shanghai’s Pudong district, and Cities like Hefei and Wuhan in central China take the lead.

Meng Yi, director of Haier Institute of Clothing Online, believes that as the foundation of the experience economy, the goal of the metaverse and Web 3.0 is definitely to take a shortcut to stay ahead of current technology and business models. here to put the user at the center to add value by enhancing the user experience.

As one of the earliest home appliance and IoT companies to go global, Haier has been and continues to strengthen its efforts in the field of smart manufacturing. In August 2021, Haier leads the way in releasing the first intelligent metaverse platform for the manufacturing industry, covering industrial internet, AI, AR, VR and blockchain technology. It helps to realize the physical and virtual integration of smart manufacturing and improves the consumer experience through the integration of “factory, store and home”.

On December 29, “Industrial Internet Platform for China’s Garment Industry” was jointly launched with China’s National Garment Association aimed at the country’s garment sector. The platform aims to help China’s garment companies research, develop, converge, exchange and apply industrial internet. On the consumer side, the so-called “smart cloud mirror knows what to wear” hardware links consumers, stores and factories through cloud data in a “small metaverse representation” and results Connect personalized and customized needs with advanced industrial internet smart manufacturing system.

Metaverse + NFT + Premium Product

The rise of the metaverse is allowing NFT to gain popularity globally, especially in luxury goods. In November 2021, Morgan Stanley released a report stating that the luxury NFT market could reach $56 billion by 2030 and demand could increase “significantly” due to the rise of the metaverse.

Zhu considers Morgan Stanley’s statistics quite conservative, believing that the metaverse will grow at a much faster rate. The exclusivity and uniqueness of luxury goods means that they are inherently the easiest to incorporate into NFTs, but NFTs alone are not enough – deeper experience and engagement is needed, which means there is metaverse. This makes metaverse plus NFT plus luxury a new trend in the fashion industry with explosive potential.

Things like luxury goods used to be subject to many restrictions, from production to consumer participation, according to Zhu. Now, the metaverse is breaking these constraints, offering new ways and possibilities to connect with and experience the value of luxury goods. As a result, the luxury industry will be one of the fastest growing in the metaverse.

In the future, consumers will be able to purchase luxury goods both offline and in supermarkets, with the only difference being that offline takes a physical form and is relatively slow to be updated and replaced, while consumption in Virtual world does not have many limitations. All luxury goods consumers will be able to personally participate in the creation and design of luxury goods in the metaverse, bringing about a disruptive change in the industry.

The explosion of luxury in the metaverse could serve as a model for fashion in general. Through the metaverse, brands will better understand consumers’ perceptions and experiences of clothing, and collaborate with consumers to create products in terms of styles, trends, colors, and more. In the future, the metaverse will be an important tool to promote a radical revolution.

How can such a breakthrough revolution be achieved? Digital technology plays a role like infrastructure in this.

Avatars that represent real people are the core carrier of the metaverse. Digital clothing, as a basic element of the avatar, carries the cultural sentiments and artistic aesthetic of the metaverse, and serves as the basis of the metaverse fashion.

Style3D, a leading Chinese digital apparel company, is becoming an important content provider in the metaverse. It has developed a digital apparel 3D engine to provide digital apparel and design creation documentation to customers with virtual fashion needs, helping them build a “time infrastructure”. digital page” of metaverse with both tools and content.

3D style

Digital clothing designed with Style 3D.

As Zhu said, 3D was considered a technological revolution in the past, which really underestimated the importance of VR, AR and MR technologies. Nowadays, 3D is being merged with VR and metaverse technologies. Style3D combines upstream and downstream information with highly realistic digital patterns, creating a complete digital toolchain that links garments from fabric research and development to style design. design, marketing and production and realize the digitization of the entire chain. This tool helps fashion businesses set up digital apparel hubs, digital fabric hubs and digital showrooms. Digital tools can be used not only for exhibitions and sales, but also to link with the production side, save R&D costs and improve cooperation efficiency.

Such a model creates a new digital fashion ecosystem driven by design software plus digital content and collaboration platforms.

While the metaverse will bring many long-dreamed-of ideas into reality, it is also facing uncertainties in China. This is mainly because the speed of its development, the expectations of the people and the government policy towards the concept, depends on its overall impact on the economy and society.

But beyond the concept, the main driver will be continued digitization, which in the future will see consumers grow up with the digital economy and mobile internet putting the metaverse at its core. For the fashion industry, how to use digital technology as a tool to connect with three generations born without psychological and technical barriers to the metaverse will be challenges. major needs to be overcome before they can truly open up to this new world. The Certainty — and The Uncertainty — of the Metaverse – WWD


Linh is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Linh joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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