This Week in the Metaverse: Parsons’ digital fashion course and Ralph Lauren taps Fortnite
Things are moving fast in the metaverse, and in the wider world of web3 as a whole. Here’s what you need to know from this past week:
Parsons will begin offering its new course in digital fashion beginning in the spring of 2023 / Parsons, Roblox
Parsons School of Design partners with Roblox to prepare students for the future of digital fashion. Today, Parsons School of Design – part of the New School in New York City – announced that it has launched a new partnership with blockchain-based gaming platform Roblox in an effort to educate students about the ever-evolving world of digital fashion. The two brands have collaboratively developed a course curriculum aimed at “[equipping] students with the training and tools to prepare for the changing mediums and self-expression of the future.” The course will be available to Parsons students beginning in the spring of 2023.
“Partnering with Roblox offers Parsons students working in creative technologies an exciting opportunity to engage the complex intersection of visual culture and social structure, and to play with how we make meaning when we dress ourselves in digital and physical worlds,” Shana Agid, dean of the School of Art and Media Technology at Parsons School of Design, said in a statement.
Virtual fashion may seem niche to many, but it’s been a rapidly booming market. In March, the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) kicked off in Decentraland. A report from Virtue Worldwide, also from March, found that 94% of global respondents “foresee digital fashion becoming mainstream.”
GameStop officially gets into the NFT game. Yesterday, the video game retailer announced that it has launched the GameStop NFT Marketplace, which it has been developing in partnership with blockchain brand ImmutableX over the past several months. GameStop is hoping that its new NFT platform will make NFTs more accessible to tens of millions of its customers by offering gas-free and carbon-neutral minting and trading options.
Ralph Lauren announces partnership with Fortnite. The iconic fashion brand has teamed up with gaming giant Epic Games to kick off a branded activation in Fortnite, a hugely popular, multiplayer online game that – though it’s not based on the blockchain – has become a major port-of-entry for brands and artists seeking to plant their flag in the metaverse. The partnership, announced on Monday, will include a new collection of both virtual and physical clothing items and an in-game tournament co-hosted by Ralph Lauren, as well as a livestreamed Twitch event that will be hosted in New York City this Thursday.
Meta turns one. October 28 marked the one-year anniversary of Mark Zuckerberg announcing that he was changing the name of his company from Facebook to Meta, signaling the tech giant’s pivot to being primarily focused on the “metaverse” – which, one year later, remains a vaguely-defined term. Meta’s first year has seen plenty of rough patches. Just last week, one of the company’s prominent investors published an open letter addressed to Zuckerberg and Meta’s board of directors calling the company’s metaverse-related spending “super-sized and terrifying.”
McCain Foods kicks off Roblox experience aimed at education. Also on October 28, McCain, self-described as “the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products,” launched ‘Farms of the Future’ inside Livetopia, a popular virtual world inside Roblox. The experience aims to educate a younger audience about regenerative agriculture – that is, farming practices that can extend the longevity and productivity of soil.
Evan Spiegel throws shade on virtual reality. On October 25, Snap founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel told an interviewer during a tech conference hosted by The Wall Street Journal that he is not particularly interested in spending time in virtual reality (VR), which he compared to living inside of a computer. “The last thing I want to do when I get home from work [after] a long day is live inside of a computer,” he said. He seems to be much more hopeful about augmented reality (AR), which he claimed is “more immersive.”
Claire’s launches branded experience in Roblox. The retail brand unveiled a virtual space targeting gen Zalpha – an amalgamation of gens Z and Alpha – called ‘Shimmerville’ on October 26. The Roblox experience offers visitors the chance to socialize, play games and buy virtual versions of physical Claire’s products. Several other retail brands, such as PacSun and Walmart, have also recently launched their own activations in Roblox in the hopes of tapping into the blockchain-based gaming platform’s enormous userbase, which is comprised largely of teens and kids.
For more, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.