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The Digital Designers Making Millions From In-Game Fashion

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Blueberry’s business is global, with 40 per cent in the US and the rest split across Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, according to the company. Its user base is predominantly women, with an average age of 22. It estimates that women make up around 45 per cent of the gaming community.

As gamers themselves, virtual fashion designers understand the needs of the gaming community, particularly when it comes to women, explains Blueberry COO Katherine Manuel.S

“Despite statistics on the gender split of game players, game design has traditionally been male dominated. Misha’s secret sauce is that she is a female lead developer, designing for women, who have been underserved for a really long time.” There is only one male in Blueberry’s team, McDuff adds with pride.

On Roblox the majority of designers were designing for the main “blocky” body type, ignoring the fact that female players were using the woman package, so none of the accessories fit them correctly, agrees Jordan. “It is about understanding player specifics of what their needs are in the fashion area,” he says.

Marketing in the metaverse

The best promotional tool for virtual fashion is word of mouth, designers say. That might mean gamers recommending products to each other on TikTok, YouTube, Discord or Twitter, or users talking via in-game chat. The virtual fashion landscape in some ways is more competitive than IRL fashion, Jordan says. “On a high street, you might have 20 stores in competition. In the digital space, you can have a million creators, all competing in the same exact spot.” Virtual designers must rely on both virtual and IRL (real life) influencers to wear and co-sign their products in order to boost their reach.

Samuel Jordan, Mishi McDuff and James Gaubert have built successful businesses from virtual design, via in-game sales and luxury collaborations. 

Photo: Samuel Jordan, Mishi McDuff, James Gaubert 

Blueberry uses virtual influencers and placements in virtual fashion magazines such as L’Homme Magazine (sold in metaverse Second Life). Having seen the items on other players or on virtual influencers, people are prepared to camp up to 12 hours outside the Blueberry virtual store in various metaverses to buy the latest drop, McDuff says.

Republiqe worked with French accessories store Monnier Frères to produce a store in Decentraland for Metaverse Fashion Week, as well as creating collaborations with brands such as Coach. This helped boost business considerably by showing luxury brands the possibilities of the metaverse. “We’re receiving requests every day,” says Gaubert, who is in the process of hiring three more employees for his nine-person team.

Key takeaway: As Web3 matures and gaming surges, virtual fashion is in high demand. Young entrepreneurs are building high-growth fashion brands by blending expertise in 3D fashion design with a deeper knowledge of gaming and Web3 communities than traditional fashion and luxury brands.

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