China Insight: The Certainty and Uncertainty of the Metaverse

The metaverse offers the Chinese fashion industry both immense opportunity and creates potential concerns of its impact on the economy and consumers.

China, Gucci

1/28/2022 8:00:00 PM

The metaverse offers the Chinese fashion industry both immense opportunity and creates potential concerns of its impact on the economy and consumers.

The metaverse offers the Chinese fashion industry both immense opportunity and creates potential concerns of its impact on the economy and consumers.

Last year was nicknamed the “First Year of the Metaverse.” At the beginning of 2022, “metaverse” was written into the government work reports of Hefei and Wuhan, meaning the concept would enter a phase of development where opportunities would be explored, as if grasping it would mean grasping the wealth code of the new era.

Examples include the digital showroom created by Ellassay, a women’s apparel brand; the intelligent metaverse platform for the manufacturing industry created by business leaders such as Haier; the apparel 3D digital tool chain continuously refined by technology newcomer Style3D with the goal of getting the entire industry to digitally upgrade by linking upstream and downstream, and the early registration of the metaverse trademark by Chinese national brand Heilan Home.

Read more: WWD »

Butter-Basted Rib Eye Steaks Recipe

This sensational rib eye couldn't be simpler; the meat is basted with butter, garlic and herbs while it cooks in a skillet, making it especially luscious. Read more >>

Speaking about fashion in meta, it seems like in UMetaWorld you will be able to doll up yours avatar

Metaverse: a New Step for Digital Entertainment or an Economic Gamechanger? | HackerNoonThe metaverse could reform industries and societies. This potential was recognized at a state level when Shanghai included metaverse in its 5-year plan.

The Sandbox Partners with Warner for Musical Metaverse Metaverse platform The Sandbox continues to expand its reach with new partnerships, the latest is with Warner Music Group to work on a musical Metaverse .

'We Met in Virtual Reality' Is the Best Film From the MetaverseThis isn’t the metaverse of Mark Zuckerberg’s dreams. This is the metaverse gamers and other extremely online people have known about for years. Throwing up now. Cant wait to watch this movie on a big screen in UMetaWorld

XR And The Metaverse At CES 2022: Wading Through The HypeAnalyst Anshel Sag details the XR and Metaverse -related announcements from CES 2022.

The Sandbox announces $50M fund for its startup accelerator programThe Sandbox created an accelerator program to support startups building metaverse projects. Metaverse, the future of crypto Crypto4PR

Building The MetaverseNobody is talking about how to create the a true metaverse. It will take an open platform offering access to a shared virtual space to create the true metaverse. And it will also require a level of standardization and interoperability that doesn't exist today. What's missing?

metaverse , with a huge influx of capital from investors, a flurry of “bets” made by the business world and a steady stream of research from the scientific and economic communities. The Chinese fashion industry is rushing into this new world, too, vigorously exploring its deeper dimensions. Against this backdrop, how can China’s fashion industry balance certainty and uncertainty as everyone seeks to determine what the metaverse will actually mean in the long term for brands — and consumers? Last year was nicknamed the “First Year of the Metaverse.” At the beginning of 2022, “metaverse” was written into the government work reports of Hefei and Wuhan, meaning the concept would enter a phase of development where opportunities would be explored, as if grasping it would mean grasping the wealth code of the new era. But even as the concept of the metaverse gained momentum, the fashion industry was increasingly adopting digitalization. Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Burberry launched their NFT games to lay out a metaverse; Gucci has released digital sneakers; Adidas created the ‘adiVerse’ in the Sandbox metaverse, and Nike has opened a virtual flagship “Nikeland” on Roblox. In China, companies have taken a more multidimensional approach to the metaverse, applying it to design and development, marketing and creativity, and manufacturing, as well as permeating it throughout the infrastructure of their digitalization process. Examples include the digital showroom created by Ellassay, a women’s apparel brand; the intelligent metaverse platform for the manufacturing industry created by business leaders such as Haier; the apparel 3D digital tool chain continuously refined by technology newcomer Style3D with the goal of getting the entire industry to digitally upgrade by linking upstream and downstream, and the early registration of the metaverse trademark by Chinese national brand Heilan Home. The metaverse is stirring up competition in the already turbulent fashion industry. While leading companies are competing for creativity and disrupting models in the real world, a new battlefield in the virtual one is also being created. To learn more about the concept, WWD China spoke with renowned Chinese economist professor Zhu Jiaming, who has been invited to serve as a special consultant by governments and enterprises to help solve their problems concerning the metaverse. Zhu believes that the biggest questions from Chinese enterprises about the metaverse are 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 about the risks involved in the metaverse and the need to match regulation with assistance to develop it; the impact of the metaverse on the real economy, and whether it can provide more jobs and become a new driver of economic development. Zhu predicted that 2022 will be a critical year for the integration of the metaverse into the operations of all industries in China. The Metaverse + Intelligent Manufacturing According to Zhu’s analysis of the Chinese market developments  in 2021 the country is likely to take a leading role in combining the metaverse with education, culture and the intelligent manufacturing industries. In particular, the intelligent manufacturing sector represented by the apparel industry but also in a wider sense the overall lifestyle industry is being fully integrated within the real economy, giving new models and values to traditional sectors. The essence of the metaverse is to combine the real world with the conceptual or virtual one mapped out through virtual reality technology. To sum up the development of the metaverse in the past 10 months or so, Zhu believes that there are two main avenues: first, it continues to develop in the virtual world, with NFTs being the most important product in the fields of gaming, art and finance; second, the metaverse increasingly is being combined with the real world. In terms of the latter, we are seeing strong local policies in China to support the development and integration of the metaverse with the real economy, with Shanghai’s Pudong district, and cities like Hefei and Wuhan in Central China being at the forefront. Meng Yi, the director of the Haier Institute of Clothing Online, believes that as the foundation of the experience economy, the goal of the metaverse and Web 3.0 is inevitably to leapfrog the current technology and business model in order to put the user at the center to bring value growth by enhancing the user experience. As one of the earliest home appliance and IoT companies with a global presence, Haier has continued to strengthen its efforts in the field of intelligent manufacturing. In August 2021, Haier took the lead in releasing the first smart 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 improve the consumer experience through the integration of “factory, shop and home.” On Dec. 29, the “Industrial Internet Platform for the China Garment Industry” was jointly launched with the China National Garment Association targeting the country’s apparel sector. The platform aims to help Chinese apparel companies with the research, development, convergence, exchange and application of the industrial internet. On the consumer end, hardware known as the “intelligent cloud mirror that knows what to wear” links consumers, shops and factories through cloud data in a “small metaverse embodiment way” and connects personalized and customized demand with the advanced industrial internet intelligent manufacturing system. Metaverse + NFT + Luxury Products The rising metaverse is enabling NFTs to gain global popularity, especially in luxury goods. In November 2021, Morgan Stanley published a report stating that the market for luxury NFTs could reach $56 billion by 2030 and that demand could increase “dramatically” due to the rise of the metaverse. Zhu thinks Morgan Stanley’s statistics are quite conservative, believing the metaverse will grow at a much faster pace. The exclusivity and uniqueness of luxury goods means they inherently are the easiest to combine with NFTs, but NFTs alone aren’t enough — there must be a more profound experience and engagement, meaning the metaverse is needed. This makes the metaverse plus NFTs plus luxury goods a new trend in the fashion industry with explosive potential. According to Zhu, things like luxury goods used to be subject to many limitations, from production to consumer engagement. Now the metaverse is breaking down these limitations offering new ways and possibilities to connect with and experience the value of luxury goods. Therefore, the luxury industry will be one of the fastest growing sectors in the metaverse. In the future, consumers will be able to purchase luxury goods both offline and in the metaverse, with the only difference being that offline has a material form and is relatively slow to be updated and replaced, while consumption in the virtual world is free from many restrictions. All consumers of luxury goods will be able to participate in the creation and design of the luxury goods themselves in the metaverse, bringing about a disruptive change in the industry. The explosion of the luxury sector in the metaverse might be a model for fashion overall. Through the metaverse, brands will gain better insights into consumers’ perceptions and experiences of clothing, and together with consumers create products in terms of styles, trends, colors and more. In the future, the metaverse will be an important tool for pushing a radical revolution. How can such a disruptive revolution be achieved? Digital technology plays an infrastructure-like role in this. Avatars for real people are the core carrier of the metaverse. Digital clothing, as a basic element of avatars, carries the cultural emotions and artistic aesthetics of the metaverse, and serves as the foundation of 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 tool to provide design creation and digital apparel materials for customers who need virtual fashion, helping them build the “digital fashion infrastructure” of the metaverse with both tools and content. Digital clothing designed with Style 3D. Courtesy As Zhu said, 3D was considered a technological revolution in the past, which actually underestimated the significance of VR, AR and MR technologies. Nowadays, 3D is being fused with VR technologies and the metaverse. Style3D combines upstream and downstream information with highly realistic digital samples, creating a complete digital tool chain, linking garments from fabric research and development, style design, marketing and production and realizing the digitalization of the whole chain. This tool helps fashion enterprises to establish digital garment centers, digital fabric centers and digital showrooms. The digital tools can be used not only for exhibition and sales, but also to link to the production side, saving R&D costs and improving the efficiency of collaboration. Such a model creates a new digital fashion ecosystem driven by design software plus digital content plus collaborative platforms. While the metaverse will bring to reality many long-dreamed ideas, it also is facing uncertainties in China. This is mainly due to the speed of its development, people’s expectations and the government’s policy on the concept, which depends on its overall impact on the economy and society. But beyond the concept itself, the main driver will be ongoing digitalization, which in future will see the consumers who grew up with the digital economy and mobile internet put the metaverse at the core. For the fashion industry, how to use digital technology as a tool to engage with the three generations who were born without psychological and technical barriers to the metaverse will be the key challenges to overcome before they can truly open up this new world. Editor’s Note: China Insight is a new monthly feature written by staff at WWD’s sister publication WWD China to provide deeper insight into developments in that key market. Tags