The fashion exec’s guide to the metaverse

The metaverse is considered to be the next stage of how we use technology — the successor of the internet age. Depending who you ask, the metaverse can extend to digital fashion, social media, augmented reality, virtual stores, video games and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), meaning that many brands began dabbling in metaverse principles even before the term became commonplace. As fashion becomes increasingly entrenched in the metaverse and its core Gen Z customer base spends more of its time playing, socialising and shopping there, understanding its full potential is crucial.

An exact definition of the metaverse is hard to pin down. Cathy Hackl, also known as the “Godmother of the metaverse”, defines it as a “further convergence of our physical and digital lives” and that “in some ways it’s about the internet breaking free from the rectangles in our hands, desks and walls and being all around us”. Matthew Ball is a venture capitalist, managing partner at early-stage venture fund EpyllionCo, and Mark Zuckerberg’s go-to metaverse expert who Virgil Abloh has tapped to develop a digital-only fashion brand. Ball defines it as a belief that more of our time spent in leisure, socialising and working will take place in virtual environments. “The best way to understand the metaverse is to think about the idea that we will spend an ever-increasing amount of our lives connected to persistent virtual simulations. If you believe in that, then the criticality of anything that is important to identity and self-expression intensifies.”