H&M experiments with virtual fashion through Roblox

In late 2022, H&M debuted “Metaverse Design Story”, a real-life clothing collection inspired by Web3. Think neon yellow dresses, futuristic jewelry and beaded bomber jackets.

The futuristic mannequins in the brand’s Times Square storefront in New York were a testament to Web3’s influence on physical fashion, featuring design technology that makes clothes shimmer like water or change texture in response to temperatures.

However, the reverse is also true, with brands like Nike, Gucci and others jumping into designing virtual clothes for the digital realm. Morgan Stanley has predicted that the digital fashion industry will be worth $50 billion by 2030.

Sometimes these items are sold together with a physical counterpart, while others stand on their own. Either way, their very existence is becoming a differentiator for brands looking to reach Gen Z consumers who are increasingly looking for ways to express their identity and individuality online.

H&M is jumping on this meta trend and delving deeper into Web3 with its own immersive brand experience on the Roblox gaming platform. The game is part of an experiment that combines digital clothing with the Swedish retailer’s growing focus on sustainability.

H&M, Dubit

Launched on January 3, H&M’s “Looptopia” is a digital realm where people can hop between different worlds, play mini-games, attend runway shows and collect materials to create clothes for their individual avatars. In partnership with metaverse studio Dubit, the experience also allows players to trade or recycle their digital clothing with friends.

The virtual city combines circularity and social interaction in three different alternate worlds: Rainbooow Fields, Neon Studiooo and Fabric Fooorest.

“At H&M, we’re always looking for new ways to reach our customers, and with so many emerging in the meta universe, it made sense for us to connect with them in a new, playful and engaging way,” said Linda Li, head of customer activation and marketing for H&M Americas Adweek.

Virtual self-expression

The game will be updated regularly with the ability to add new worlds in line with the brand’s goals.

“Now that we’ve launched, we’re eager to gather customer feedback, which gives us valuable insight into how we can best continue to combine the physical and digital worlds of fashion and self-expression,” Li added.

She said that in the coming years, H&M will continue to explore this “rapidly growing space” of virtual and augmented realities.

H&M isn’t the only fashion brand playing with Roblox. It joins the likes of Gap, Nike and Ralph Lauren in investing in the platform, which is used by around 58 million people every day.

“Looptopia” comes as these brands begin to explore the business potential of virtual fashion. Meanwhile, brands that don’t sell physical clothes but only virtual ones are also on the rise, from The Fabricant to Dematerialized.

H&M, Dubit

The business opportunity is ripe. A recent study by Vice’s Virtue agency found that 65% of people are willing to pay the same or more for a virtual fashion item compared to its physical equivalent, and on average, respondents expect almost half (46%) of their total wardrobe to be digital. 2027. This isn’t just about Gen Zers—the sample included an equal mix of millennials and Gen Xers.

Andrew Douthwaite, chief commercial officer at Dubit, said H&M wanted to offer an experience that promoted fun and sustainability, while staying true to its brand DNA of “style, creativity and culture”.

“It’s been amazing to see the concept develop from initial design and workshop to this iconic launch,” he said.

In recent years, H&M Group – which owns its namesake brand, as well as others such as COS, Monki, & Other Stories and Weekday – has focused on kick-starting its sustainability efforts with circular economy initiatives, including in-store outlets where old . clothes can be recycled. But the brand has been hit by a series of environmental lawsuits, the latest of which claims its “conscious choice” line misleads consumers.

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