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Balenciaga to Launch Metaverse Business Unit

Balenciaga is launching a metaverse business unit, revealed chief executive Cédric Charbit at BoF’s annual VOICES gathering.
Balenciaga is launching a metaverse business unit, revealed chief executive Cédric Charbit at BoF’s annual VOICES gathering. (John Phillips)

The Kering-owned brand is creating a dedicated business unit to explore opportunities for marketing and commerce in the buzzy “metaverse,” chief executive Cédric Charbit said, speaking at BoF’s annual VOICES gathering.

Virtual fashion has become a focus for Balenciaga, which released its Fall 2021 collection via a video game and collaborated with gaming platform Fortnite on a collection of digital skins for players.

Now, as pillars of modern life, from work to dating, become increasingly digital, Charbit sees more opportunities on the horizon for fashion brands to engage with consumers in the coming metaverse, a collective, persistent, virtual reality that some experts believe will fundamentally transform how we live and shop.

“The use-ability [of digital fashion] is the point that’s missing, but that’s making gigantic steps every day,” Charbit said. As this happens, he expects today’s consumers to become more “active participants” in the brands they follow. “Right now the climax of interaction with a luxury brand is that you click like, or comment or buy something,” Charbit said. “I think we can get to a next level.”

In creating a dedicated team to work on projects in the metaverse, Balenciaga joins brands including Kering stablemate Gucci (which recently staged a virtual-reality fashion exhibition on Roblox and created a metaverse pop-up activation on The Sims) and OTB, the Diesel and Margiela parent that this week announced new business unit Brave Virtual Xperience.

VOICES 2021 is made possible in part through our partners McKinsey & Company, Shopify, Clearco, Klarna, Brandlive, Flannels, Snap, Getty Images, Soho House and The Invisible Collection.

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