The Avatars Wear Prada – The New York Times

That’s it

Last October, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his vision for the wonderful future awaiting new meta (formerly Facebook) and Web 3.0, and his decision to do so through an avatar. Tampered with everywhere, exactly what Mr. Zuckerberg wears. In your daily life – in this world of infinite possibilities! – Meta raises the issue and throws down all sorts of gentilet.

“Hey, Balenciaga,” company Tweeted“What’s the dress code in Metavers?”

This week, Balenciaga responded, with Prada and Thom Brown, courtesy of Meta’s new avatar fashion store, which launched a rollout for consumers in the United States, Canada, Thailand and Mexico. Although the social media company offered a variety of free (and generic) outfits for avatars used on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, this is the first time it has created a look for a purchase for virtual selfies. Designers nominated for

And the answer is; a red Balenciaga logo hoodie.

Also some ripped jeans and a plaid shirt, a motocross jumpsuit, a black skirt suit, and low rise jeans paired with cropped logo tee and logo briefs (four dresses in total). Quintessential Balenciaga, in other words, for everyone who has followed the brand. Just like the offer of Thom Brown, a compressed gray three-piece suit, pale gray skirt suit and shorts are Mr. Brown’s trademark uniforms. And as at least one of Prada’s four variants – a white tank top with the logo triangle and tiered skirt – seemed to come straight from the recent runway (although they also offer perennial logo suits). ۔

But still, is it?

These are the four most creative, perceived fashion designers working today – Balenciaga’s Damna Gavasalia, Prada’s Miokia Prada and Raf Simons, and Mr. Brown – designers whose clothes identify the IRL social and political forces. Create essentials. Surface designers whose work deals with climate change, gender, war, capitalism, questions of value and viral celebrity. And all of them (or perhaps their digital, commercial and marketing teams) are exposed when they are assigned to visualize clothing in a space beyond gravity and any kind of physical limitation and they are already selling. Are cartoon copies one of the most familiar clothes?

Well, Mr. Brown emailed when asked how he chose his outfits, “It took me two seconds, not a second, to figure out what he needed. I thought this world. I need a gray suit to get involved.

The argument is that only by making clothes that typically sell for hundreds and thousands of dollars are available to a wide group of consumers (the price range in the Meta Store is $ 2.99 to $ 8.99), they would otherwise I am democratizing the inaccessible. Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation.

And while it’s good that TechWorld, which has retreated from fashion after trying to make it wearable, has fallen sharply on its face, it understands that if it were the world of clothing. I want to play, so it’s best to invite experts. , These special offers seem to meet our own lowest expectations in the virtual world.

The whole thing kind of fashion Mssrs. Gvasalia et al. Creation is more than just commercial: it shows us who we are, or who we want to be, in a certain way at a particular moment in time in ways we didn’t understand.

If a creative mind were to be able to imagine what a paradigm shift would look like, you would think it would be.

Mr. Brown already does this sometimes in his IRL shows. He recently designed a top that looked like a large cable-covered cross between a tennis ball and a turtle carapace, and turned a woman into a toy soldier. Mr. Gavasalia takes a daily – Terry Cloth’s bathroom, Ikea bag – and breaks all expectations and makes it extraordinary. You would think that jumping on the meteors would not be a chore for them.

Nevertheless, the “clothes” that the troika has designed for the Meta Store show seem to be an opportunity to showcase the brand’s loyalty on a large scale and to leverage its archives in extremely simple ways. This means that consumers want to wear the same clothes in the digital space as they do in any physical space – or at least the clothes they want to wear – instead of something completely new.

Introducing the new store, Ms. Chen flirted with sketches of Mr. Zuckerberg’s avatar in various outfits and questioned her reaction, in an Instagram live chat with Eva Chen, director of fashion partnerships for Instagram. “Wearing a Prada from shoulder to toe requires a certain amount of confidence,” Mr Zuckerberg said, noting that he did not have the IRL, although it could be in the Metavers.

But this is a fundamental misconception of fashion – and the whole idea of ​​self-expression. After all, who wears a complete look from a designer in real life? Brands paid by celebrities, fashion celebrities and models in magazine shoots in public situations in which the brand will lend clothes only if they do not meet the work of other designers.

In a Facebook post on the store, Mr. Zuckerberg also stated that Meta Avatar wants to create a fashion offering because “digital goods will be an important way to express yourself in MetaVores and a major driver of the creative economy.” But self-expression is not about swallowing the designer completely. Self-expression is about using tools created by designers to make something unique.

It doesn’t take confidence – you don’t even have to think – to wear a look designed entirely by a designer. It just wants to be a brand advertising vehicle, which Meta is currently providing. Maybe this is where some users want to go (maybe it has always been a fantasy), but it will not expand the world as we know it, but it will be much more grouping.

Especially since avatars are not the creation of cross platforms. So if you want the virtual to wear Prada – or Balenciaga or Thom Browne – then you can do so only on the meta platform. Similarly, if you want a virtual to wear Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren or Gucci, you have to be on Robolox.

To be fair, this will probably change with the change of technology, just as the ability to create your avatar may change. Right now, when you choose any type of outfit in a meta wardrobe, you have to choose a pre-made look instead of being able to make it with one outfit at a time. In the future, perhaps, a Balenciaga hoodie could be paired with a Prada skirt and an anonymous pair of shoes.

Mr Zuckerberg has said that at some point Meta will only open stores for digital fashion brands and other new creators – as designers / inventors are already selling their wares on the digital marketplace DressX, where most real alternatives There are interpretations. “Clothes” can be found.

If so, wearing your avatar in the morning may feel less like playing with a paper doll, and more like a gesture of value and a unique form of experience. It may seem extravagant instead of just imitating. But not yet.

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