Meta partners with Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne and launches digital fashion marketplace

Quick Take

  • Meta is launching a digital fashion marketplace, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • To launch the product, the company has partnered with Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne to offer fashionable avatars. 

Meta is launching a digital fashion store, dubbed the Avatars Store, and to celebrate the launch the company has partnered with three iconic brands.

Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne are partnering with Meta to sell fashionable avatars, Meta’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday afternoon during an Instagram Live appearance.

“I’m really grateful and proud that these brands are joining us to kick off fashion in the metaverse,” said Zuckerberg on a live call with Eva Chen, Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships at Meta.

The feature is coming to Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger in the coming months. On Instagram, users already have the option of creating virtual avatars. 

“Fashion is ultimately a form of art and self-expression. And now being able to wear Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne, I can’t wait to see what comes from this,” said Chen. 

Zuckerberg, who's known for wearing casual tees in real life, critiqued various fashion pieces that his avatar was wearing during the Friday call. 

Zuckerberg critiquing the styles on his avatar [Source: Eva Chen Instagram Live]

The items for sale in the avatar store will range from $2.99 to $8.99 to start, confirmed a rep from Meta in an email to The Block. Currently, Meta offers over 100 free outfits for avatars on the platform and outfits can be purchased using in-app purchases on mobile on iOS or Android, with any supported payment methods. 

The goal overtime, he says, is to make the marketplace accessible to for creator to design new clothes. 

Luxury fashion catwalks into Web3

The fashion industry has increasingly been experimenting in the Web3 and crypto space recently. This week alone, The Block has published stories about Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer rolling out a watch to display non-fungible token art, Lacoste launching NFTs, and Dolce and Gabbana working with a digital fashion startup. 

Many fashion brands have also started to accept crypto payments through third party apps. Farfetch, Gucci, and Balenciaga are just a few of the many big names that accept cryptocurrency payments.

Despite falling floor prices of popular NFT collections and general volatility in the crypto space, the fashion industry is experimenting in Web3 at full speed.

This might be a reflection of broader long-term outlook in the industry. The metaverse could be a $5 trillion industry by 2030, and "consumers see the unique value of fashion within these digital worlds, where creativity, status, and exclusivity, and - most importantly - self-expression play essential roles for all users," said a report published by McKinsey earlier this week. Around "70 percent of US consumers already say their digital identity is as important as their real-life identity," the report continues. "Which is why fashion is one of the industries perhaps most uniquely positioned to shape the metaverse."

Editor's Note: article has been updated with correct spelling of designer Thom Browne's name. 

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