Compared with other competitors, Meta has solved at least one problem, that is, the current use scene of digital fashion. A month ago, Meta CEO and Facebook founder Zuckerberg made a rare appearance in Milan to join a group of Italian fashion industry. The executives met, causing the market to pay close attention.
Zuckerberg posted a photo of himself with Leonardo Del Vecchio, CEO of eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica Group, given that Zuckerberg's Meta is a long-term investment in AR/VR, and Meta and EssilorLuxottica are already working on smart glasses projects in 2020 , the meeting between the two sides is not surprising.
However, from another group photo, it can be seen that Zuckerberg's trip to Italy is not simple, but more like an informal small summit of technology and fashion. He met with a number of Italian fashion entrepreneurs, including Prada successor Lorenzo Bertelli, Brunello Cucinelli , Diego Della Valle of Tod's Group, Remo Ruffini of Moncler, Renzo Rosso of OTB Group, Marco Gobetti, the new CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo, and Yoox Net - Geoffroy Lefebvre of A-Porter Group.
Zuckerberg's intentions for cross-border fashion are on the horizon.
Then on Friday, Zuckerberg announced in a live broadcast with Instagram fashion business vice president Eva Chen, a well-known fashion opinion leader, that Meta will launch a digital fashion store called Meta Avatars Store this week. Launched with Messenger, and the first launch markets include the United States, Canada, Thailand and Mexico.
The Avatar avatars of Zuckerberg and Eva Chen wear virtual fashions
from Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne. Between $2.99 and $8.99, it is one percent or even one thousandth of the original price of its physical products. Ready-to-wear products from Balenciaga , Prada and Thom Browne are known for being expensive.
Meta said it will continue to introduce new brands in the future. Zuckerberg also said the company plans to make the store an open marketplace where developers can create and sell clothing.
The vision of digital fashion is nothing new in the fashion industry. Although Zuckerberg also said some points about the digital fashion store promoting the realization of ideas, but unlike any luxury giant's idealized outline of digital fashion, Zuckerberg's starting point for a digital fashion store is in any case more inclined to Technological pragmatism.
"Simply put, it's a clothing store for your Meta avatar. While we already have a bunch of different avatar free clothing, we still wanted to create this marketplace."
That said, a digital fashion store can be irrelevant and obscure The metaverse and the too distant vision of digital fashion point to a direct purpose and scenario, which is to use digital fashion to decorate the "avatar" of Meta's entire social media platform, or "virtual avatar" in Meta's words.
It is worth noting that the Avatar avatars of Zuckerberg and Eva Chen wore virtual fashions of Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne, and the two major opinion leaders in the fields of technology and fashion personally "carried the goods".
Meta says a large part of how people express themselves is through what they wear and fashion, and users can buy digital clothing to style their avatars. Digital goods are an important way to express yourself in the metaverse and a big driver of the creative economy. Creating high-end fashion stores for avatars will allow users to better express themselves and connect with others.
Therefore, the launch of the digital fashion store essentially serves as Meta's assistance to its virtual avatar system, Avatars.
For the past two years, Meta has been making improvements to the avatar system, including last year's release of a new Meta Avatar development tool that replaced the Oculus Avatar, a major upgrade in expressiveness and customizability. In the continuous improvement, virtual avatars are having more expressions, faces, skin colors, etc., and now the addition of fashion customization can be said to be a matter of course.
Meta has been improving the virtual avatar system
After Meta brought the virtual avatar system to Instagram earlier this year, the system will be universally applicable to all Meta platforms in the future, including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, as well as VR. Users will be able to use the same avatar on all Meta platforms and wear a unified digital garment.
Ultimately, Meta's avatar system points to Zuckerberg's ambitions, namely VR. Meta recently released the v41 version of the Quest system software, which added support for Horizon Home users to invite friends into their personal space as virtual avatars to experience 360-degree videos and games together.
It can be said that it allows users to upgrade from 2D to 3D in the virtual world, and continuously improves the interaction between users, expands new metaverse space outside the mobile Internet that has been growing weakly and has stricter legal restrictions, and continues to play its role. The role of service provider is the core mission of Facebook after it changed its name to Meta.
The Meta Avatars Store can be said to be the Metaverse version of Amazon or Taobao, or more specifically the Metaverse version of Farfetch. It relies on technology infrastructure to attract brands to settle in, in exchange for commissions for services. Once seriously entering the game, Meta Avatars Store can easily bring a sense of crisis to e-commerce platforms with similar business models with its powerful platform capabilities, and platforms such as Farfetch and StockX are targeting the next opportunity for digital collections or virtual goods.
The business opportunity of the Meta Avatars Store is undoubtedly considerable. Compared with other competitors, it solves at least one problem, and that is the current usage scenario of digital fashion. The use case for the Meta Avatars Store is the social media accounts that everyone is using at the moment.
According to a survey of 7,100 teenagers in the United States conducted by Piper Sandler, more and more teenagers are familiar with and buy NFTs, but they do not agree with the current hype situation in the Metaverse. Fewer than half of teens are optimistic about the rise of the metaverse, but 48% are "unsure" or "not interested" in the means by which brands such as Nike, Adidas and Gucci are trying to connect with young people through the metaverse.
The opportunity of the Meta Avatars Store is that it is not a recognizable NFT digital collection within a niche range. The current NFT attracts users by selling investment potential from 10,000 to 10,000 times. It is for investment purposes rather than practical purposes.
The Meta Avatars Store also does not require users to have any basic knowledge of the game world or the immature metaverse, because the usage scenario of avatar costumes is not in the League of Legends, nor in the metaverse platform Decentraland, but in the social network that everyone frequently uses. media platform.
The development of virtual fashion has accelerated in recent years. LV and League of Legends games have launched virtual costumes. Decentraland held the Metaverse Fashion Week
Zuckerberg's pragmatism is reflected in that while he outlines the vision of the Metaverse, he makes the masses popular through the Meta Avatars Store. Not a few elites have gradually established emotional projections with virtual avatars from this moment. The latter's all-time hints to users' psychology are the key to opening up the future path of the metaverse for Meta, and fashion undoubtedly strengthens users' emotional projections to virtual avatars. .
But the problem is that Meta's ambitions for fashion may not be as big as people think, which may break many people's imagination of Meta metaverse fashion.
As a company that started out as a social network, Meta is essentially concerned with the social interaction and interaction of users, and this entry into digital fashion is also out of the need for user identity expression and interaction. In other words, Meta hasn't shown a particular interest in fashion as a whole industry for a long time.
Although the Instagram it acquired has developed into the most core Internet application in the fashion industry and is a key strategic platform for the entire value chain of the fashion industry, from the perspective of the group, Meta has no obvious resource inclination to the fashion business. In this regard, Meta and high-profile Amazon, showing its fashion ambitions, shows a stark difference.
In addition, Zuckerberg himself, as a representative of Silicon Valley's technology elites for many years, has not been closely related to the word fashion. His personal style rarely causes discussion, and Internet entrepreneurs are not always insulated from fashion, such as the founding of Apple. The influence of Steve Jobs on the fashion industry is far-reaching.
There was also an episode at a small informal summit organized by Zuckerberg in Milan a month ago, which was criticized for lack of female representation because the Italian luxury group executives pictured in the group were all men. This also reflects from the side that Zuckerberg has continued the standardized and business negotiation-style communication methods of other industries in the process of cutting into the fashion industry, but fashion is precisely a cultural ecology, and women constitute the cultural ecology. An important part of.
The purpose of Zuckerberg's virtual fashion this time is nothing more than perfecting the virtual avatar. This purpose is so straightforward that the virtual fashion that should be full of imagination has been simplified into the user's "avatar" on social media.
Although Eva Chen, who is regarded as Anna Wintour's successor, has accumulated a lot of influence in the fashion industry, Meta fashion cannot get rid of the limitations of technology companies as fashion platforms, so the weight of fashion business in the group's business is limited, making it impossible to Make a big splash outside of Instagram.
Second, the conflict of interest from luxury giants has also made Meta, who is not determined enough, face resistance in the field of metaverse fashion.
In the Metaverse, people are chasing decentralization, a brand-new way of human organization coordination called DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). Therefore, it is obviously not the best choice to continue to cooperate with the platform and be clamped by the platform.
At present, the cooperation between fashion brands and Meta is more of a shortcut to sacrifice some interests and take the lead in wading in digital fashion, but for the overall layout of LVMH and Kering Group, when these luxury giants are really willing to make efforts in the metaverse, There is no doubt that they will be more willing to build their own platforms.
Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, has reservations about the metaverse. He bluntly said that he is not interested in selling 10 euro virtual sneakers, and emphasized that until now, people are still in the real world, and LVMH is selling real products.
But his sons show great enthusiasm for new things like the metaverse. TAG Heuer CEO Frédéric Arnault, 27, Bernard Arnault’s second son, announced on Instagram last week that he was wearing a watch with an image of his personal collection of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs on it. TAG Heuer will allow users to display NFTs on the dials of certain models of smartwatches. The upgrade of this function benefits from the cooperation between TAG Heuer and blue-chip NFT projects such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, Clone-X and World of Women.
Both Frédéric Arnault and Arnault's third son Alexandre Arnault have changed their social media avatars to their respective NFT collections
Currently, both Frédéric Arnault and Arnault's third son Alexandre Arnault have changed their social media avatars to their respective NFT collections. Alexandre Arnault, currently the CEO of Tiffany, materialized his personal CryptoPunk NFT and made it into a gold-plated gem-set Tiffany head pendant.
It has to be said that the largest application scenario of NFTs and digital goods is still social media avatars. In a world where one's digital identity is becoming as important as physical identity, it connects these different versions of oneself, commented. This coincides with the idea of Meta, and it also obviously brings about a conflict of interest between Meta and the luxury goods giant.
As the relationship between the luxury industry and technology has grown closer, Kering, the parent company of Gucci and Balenciaga, is taking a more explicit approach to the metaverse than LVMH.
The shareholders of Kering Group recently approved the nomination of Yonca Dervisoglu, vice president of marketing for Google Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as an independent director of the company's board of directors with an overwhelming vote, officially joining the group board of directors. Kering Chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault said he and his team plan to travel to California to meet with Silicon Valley executives to further explore the potential of the metaverse.
In addition, Kering Group recently made a $1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency fund Haun Ventures. Its brand Gucci has opened 5 stores in the United States to accept cryptocurrency payments. Balenciaga also announced that it will use BitPay, a dedicated payment service, to make payments in e-commerce. The platform accepts cryptocurrencies. The investment further demonstrates the luxury industry’s recognition of the metaverse and cryptocurrencies.
Kering's Gucci has ventured into the metaverse with new projects such as Vault, and Balenciaga has announced that it will create a metaverse division dedicated to researching and exploring marketing and business opportunities in virtual worlds.
Although Balenciaga is the first luxury brand that interacts in space after Facebook's parent company officially changed its name to "Meta", Balenciaga has previously tried to display virtual fashion shows in games, launch virtual clothing and other measures, intending to develop its own independence in the metaverse space.
Under the impetus of a new generation of successor Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada has also kept up with the metaverse trend. Prada released the new Timecapsule series designed in cooperation with artist Cassius Hirst to the world on June 2, and comes with NFT products independently developed by Prada, which are available for a limited time in 24 hours. At the same time, Prada also opened to the public Prada Crypted, a metaverse community created on Discord, which aims to provide users with a platform for exchanges in fashion, art, and technology.
Like Balenciaga, although Prada has reached a cooperation with Meta, its original intention is obviously still to build its own platform. What is interesting is that this time Zuckerberg bypassed Paris, the heart of the fashion industry, and contacted the Italian luxury goods industry, perhaps due to resistance from the French luxury goods giants, and the Italian luxury goods industry after the epidemic. more united than ever.
In an ideal world of decentralization, the story of platform hegemony no longer sells.