Marketing in the metaverse is still in its infancy: fashion and beauty players are just beginning to explore the endless possibilities this virtual world can offer. However, as soon as 2022, physical and digital collections should be available simultaneously.

Indulge oneself at lower cost

In real life, many people lack the opportunity and/or the means for buying a Gucci, Balenciaga, or Ralph Lauren wardrobe, or Louboutin stilettos. But those who can’t fill their closet with luxury clothes, could outfit their avatar in them, and go to a virtual restaurant suited up like never before. It’s a great way to indulge oneself at a lower cost...

This is just one of the many possibilities offered by the metaverse, and brands, for whom this universe is proving to be a lucrative new playground, are already starting to present collections aimed at users of the most popular platforms such as Roblox, Zepeto, and "Fortnite."

The foray into the metaverse getting the most attention in recent months is none other than that of Balenciaga in the world of "Fortnite." For the first time, high fashion has entered the virtual world of one of the most popular games in the world, in the form of a collection signed Balenciaga x Fortnite. Demna Gvasalia, creative director of the luxury brand, has managed to blur the lines between the virtual and real worlds even further. Not only did players have the opportunity to buy outfits and accessories for their avatars, but they were also able to buy Fortnite x Balenciaga clothes in stores, real ones. A twofold hit for the label that continues to expand and build its community. And the example has since been followed by the brands Moncler and Jordan, which have both, through diverse and varied experiences, collaborated with Epic Games, the parent company of "Fortnite."

Metaverse as shopping centre 3.0

Vans, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger are among the brands that have already teamed up with Roblox, proposing new collections and objects for users’ avatars. Zepeto is not to be outdone as it has already collaborated with MCM, Louboutin, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and even fast fashion giant Zara for fashion, and brands such as Dior Beauté and Nars for cosmetics. The South Korean metaverse has even gone further by offering clothes associated with artists and key figures from the worlds of animation and sports, such as Miraculous, Selena Gomez, Major League Baseball, Blackpink, The Little Mermaid, and One Piece. And this is just the beginning... These virtual worlds could very soon look like life-size (digital) shopping malls.

In the same vein, it is not surprising to learn that Nike and adidas have already moved to the next level by creating their own virtual realm. The brand with the swoosh has teamed up with Roblox on Nikeland, while Adidas has teamed up with Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gmoney, and PUNKS Comic to create its own metaverse, which invites users into "a wild world where possibilities are truly limitless."

Actually, the metaverse is not ’just’ a universe where brands can sell virtual collections. Fashion shows, advertising campaigns, conferences, games, experiences, lectures, shopping... the possibilities are indeed endless, and there’s something for everyone, the ultimate luxury consisting in hunting not small, colorful monsters, but NFTs. For its entry into the metaverse, adidas has launched its very first digital tokens, providing access to virtual clothes for the game as well as physical products.

NFTs, luxury’s other fixation

The sale of NFTs, these non-fungible tokens that allow you to buy rare or exclusive digital works of art and other products, is indeed a significant source of income for brands in the metaverse. They’re even becoming an obsession, because not only can luxury brands use them to strengthen their links with their community, but they can also use them to highlight their artistic inspirations, as well as their involvement in various causes.

L’Oreal Paris USA recently enlisted five female artists to create NFTs and make a case for gender equity in the realm of cryptocurrency, while Givenchy teamed up with graphic artist Chito to auction off several NFTs, the sale of which benefited a Dutch organization committed to ocean cleanup. Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Karl Lagerfeld, to name but a few, are among the many brands that have already embraced NFTs, an area which is proving to be particularly fruitful, and which should thrive, if not go massive, with the advent of the metaverse and Web 3.0.

It remains to be seen how brands will combine their CSR commitments with this virtual development whose environmental impact could quickly seem unrelated to its social utility and whose impact on human health remains to be assessed...