Luxury brands are flocking to the metaverse, but what are they actually doing there? What are some of the current limitations and where are the areas of untapped potential? Richard Hobbs, the man behind Animoca-invested company Brand New Vision (BNV), took us backstage so we could get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of these virtual fashion shows and runways.
Hong Kong-based BNV has become a gateway for luxury brands and fashion designers looking to enter the metaverse, by working with them to create digital wearable collections that will be interoperable across the open metaverse. This includes Decentraland and The Sandbox, but also BNV’s own upcoming metaverse that is currently in creation.
It’s in this new virtual world that BNV is going to explore a different kind of metaverse experience: fash-to-earn, which operates by monetising engagement.
So how exactly does this work? Who would be able to benefit from this? How does it affect us exactly? Will it change the way we experience fashion or the metaverse?
Hobbs addressed these questions and also teased upcoming projects on the July 28 episode of Meta Versed, the live-streaming series that has previously featured Yat Siu from Animoca Brands, NFT art collector Whale Shark, Sébastien Borget from The Sandbox, and Web3 entrepreneur and influencer Irene Zhao.
If you missed any of the episodes, you can now watch them here.
Tatler Hong Kong’s editor-in-chief and editorial director, Jacqueline Tsang, asked Hobbs what niche he’d hoped to fill in the Web3 space and luxury industry with BNV.
“It’s actually relatively easy for people to enter this space, but there’s a lot more to it now, it’s not just about creating or selling an NFT, it’s about the whole metaverse and Web3 experience,” Hobb explained. He pointed out that while brands are keen to enter the metaverse and get involved, to offer better customer service levels and obtain additional engagement with their fans, audience and community, one danger is that what they see in the space so far “may not live up to their standards and expectations”.
“We understand all the elements that go into creating and building a fashion brand: the DNA, the history, the passion, which are not always synonymous with technology, which is often about speed, scalability and other elements that are almost the opposite to fashion. We see ourselves as the middleman to make it an easy process for brands and designers to come into the metaverse … we’d like to be that safe pair of hands to help them,” he said. “Brands can do it in-house, and I absolutely encourage them to do that. I encourage everyone in the space to get in the water and start paddling. You don’t win a surfing contest by sitting on the beach.”
At the moment, Decentraland and The Sandbox are two of the biggest and most popular virtual worlds in Web3, and Hobbs said that the former is the best fit for fashion-related activations. He emphasised that there’s still a lot to be done with technology in order for the metaverse experiences to match up with real-life expectations, but it’s getting there.
“Metaverse catwalk shows will not work for the time being—there’s still a lot of technology, bandwidth and streaming that need to be worked out in the meantime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t present fashion in the metaverse in really compelling, interesting and exciting ways,” he said.