The beauty metaverse is here: are you ready to play?
The metaverse is blurring the lines between digital and physical realities – here’s how to join in the fun and games of the beauty metaverse
Welcome to the beauty metaverse.
The term metaverse originates in the sci-fi novel Snow Crash, in which residents of a dystopian world look to digital avatars of themselves as a way of escaping the doldrums of real life. The metaverse, as we now know, it is essentially the next natural extension of the internet. When the worldwide web burst into existence, we were exposed to knowledge on a level previously unknown. Now, the experience is far more immersive. We live in a world where AR and VR experiences can be picked up at the supermarket. Where you can make an avatar of yourself that can live, laugh, and even love in the digital space. We've all heard stories of Fortnite fans using the game as a social space and befriending other users. And it’s big business, with the metaverse predicted to be worth an astonishing £1.5 billion by 2030.
If this all sounds a little bit like we’re speaking a different language, it’s because there are elements of this world that are brand new. This is a space where self-expression, digital experiences and commerce intersect. For example, you can pick up POAPs (proof of attendance) in the metaverse to verify that you were ‘at’ a specific event. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are digital collectables that can’t be copied. Also, the metaverse isn’t one neat space. It’s lots of different technologies that can be used in different ways. For beauty fans, Decentraland reigns supreme. It recently hosted Metaverse Fashion Week – an event much like its Parisian predecessor but entirely virtual. After parties and panel talks, runway shows were all on the itinerary, with brands such as Dolce & Gabbana showcasing their digital wares to gripped fashion-forward avatars.
The advances made in the metaverse signal a change in the air. Just because something is happening virtually doesn't mean it isn't real. It's worth remembering that Generation Z has never known a life without technology, and their physical and digital realities have always been intertwined. And while gaming is traditionally considered a male space, research shows that 45% of UK gamers are women. Hugely popular styling app Drest takes the editorial buzz of fashion styling and brings it into the Metaverse. You play stylist for various avatars with the world's best wardrobe at your fingertips. There's a beauty arm, too, where you can let your imagination run wild. Gucci Beauty was the first beauty brand to launch the app with 29 of its virtual beauty products. Play here. Nars followed suit, and beauty heavyweights Mary Greenwell, Sam McKnight and Josh Wood are also on board for hair and make-up advice. Even brands like L'Oréal and Fenty have filed trademarks for virtual products, and Glossier showcased a debut on Nintendo’s Animal Crossing.
Of course, the downside of such technologies lies in glitches and tech issues, which will surely be ironed out as the metaverse continues to gain traction. The benefit of a purely digital beauty world? Quite simply, there are no limits. There are no physical constraints (although financial shackles sadly still exist), meaning ‘you’ can look however you wish. This is a truly immersive playground and a chance to experience beauty in an entirely new way.
The best of the beauty metaverse
- Estée Lauder & Decentraland
- Gucci, Givenchy & Roblox
Miley Cyrus also jumped into the cyber world and was the first persona to visit Gucci Town when her #FloraFantasy – the brand’s fragrance – launched. The brand's press release says: 'it is an anthem of imagination, self-expression and unbound freedom continues into this new dimension through digital adventures in Gucci Town, with content brought to life in partnership with game developer studio The Gang.' Find your way to Gucci Town here.
Givenchy has since gotten into bed with Roblox and created Givenchy Beauty House, where you can experiment with virtual Givenchy products and have a boogie on the Irresistible Dancefloor.
- Byredo X Rtftk
- The Unseen
- Sarah Joan Ross & Clare Pennington