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Global Vogue titles discover oceanic metaverse world to display digital talent


The theme “Fashion’s New World,” which reflects changes in culture and talent, has been explored by international Vogue editions for the past month. That increasingly involves virtual clothing and digital art. This idea is now being carried over into a virtual world that launched today everywhere.

The Vogue Meta-Ocean, an immersive experience featuring 24 artists, including 3D digital sculptures, was nominated by editorial teams from international Vogue titles, including India, Australia, Mexico and Latin America, Japan, and China. The above-water exploration is followed by a mythical underwater world. Additional artwork and artists are anticipated to be uploaded throughout time, with many of the pieces being inspired by the pages of the Vogue September editions and wearing digital fashion. (Condé Nast, the parent company of both Vogue Business and Vogue, is the same.)

“Fashion has always been about creative freedom and about challenging norms. Whether or not you’re already getting dressed in a metaverse, the new thinking in digital fashion and virtual fashion is fascinating to see,” says Anna Wintour, chief content officer of Condé Nast and global editorial director of Vogue. “Designers who work in this way are only going to become more known and more influential, and I will be eager to see what they do next.”

India’s Anushka Tendolkar, France’s Samy LaCrapule, who drew inspiration from Italian Renaissance canons to create statues representing Bottega Veneta, Versace, and Valentino, and China’s Momo Chen, whose work (originally created for Vogue China’s January issue) captures the five elements as described by Chinese philosophers are among the contributors.

The Vogue Meta-Ocean was created by Vogue China to expand upon Infni+, an avatar first seen in June on the cover of a subsidiary publication named Vogue+ that invites cover stars to design unique bi-monthly editions. Cattin Tsai, a Chinese digital artist, created Infni+ (pronounced Infinity) using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. According to Margaret Zhang, editor-in-chief of Vogue China, the Meta-Ocean was imagined as the virtual “home” of Infni+, allowing the concept to transcend the page. A team of Chinese authors, artists, poets, and virtual avatar talent also contributed to the creation of Infni+’s backstory.

According to Zhang, who has held the position since February 2021, Vogue China issued a “open appeal” for suggestions from international editorial teams to populate the undersea world with international art.
We chose the ocean as the setting for her origin narrative since the idea of the water is so universal.In an effort to examine how fashion appears in metaverse places and “how digital fashion changes the way we approach shoot,” Zhang says that a lot of the work makes reference to it.

Along with the fictitious Infni+ character, Tsai served as the guest editor of the magazine’s June issue and contributed works that were influenced by marine life. Tsai conjured up a “parallel universe” that offers “a different understanding of the creatures themselves,” according to Tsai, as the virtual ocean world also serves to draw attention to endangered marine species in support of ocean conservation.

Future global plans for the Meta-Ocean include the incorporation of new authors and works as well as the sale of digital collectibles, including NFTs (where permitted by law), in order to support initiatives that advance ocean awareness and literacy in collaboration with the opulent NFT platform TRLab.

Magazine publishers have traditionally selected unique artworks and clothing, and this project expands that practice to the newly emerging metaverse and Web3 realms, which may encounter misunderstanding or skepticism from those committed to the conventional. Some digital artists are successful when they connect the fantastical with the everyday.

The work of Australian artist Justin Ridler, which incorporates photography and CGI (computer-generated images), pays homage to real-world clothing by Louis Vuitton, Windowsen, and Mugler.“There’s an aesthetic tendency towards creating that which is physically impossible,” says Ridler, who worked with his fashion designer wife, Sarah, on the project. “It’s becoming increasingly central to our work to hold back on that and ground the work in something that we at least feel is understandable within the human experience.”

Zhang admits that the rate of change has been extremely rapid.“There hasn’t been much time for restrictive norms or expectations to stifle innovation, and we see much greater diversity in thought. Each piece of digital fashion or art in this virtual showcase is completely different in style and story to the next.”

The next phase of the internet, which is expected to be at least as important as the rise of e-commerce and social media and to be just as hostile to history and heritage, is still being interpreted by magazines and the fashion industry. Asia might provide an ideal environment for expanding these frontiers. “Digital and virtual art has become such an integral part of the local visual language — not only in the art world, but also among China’s most innovative fashion designers,” Zhang says.

Zhang continues by saying that the Vogue China audience, regardless of age, has a high level of tech literacy, making them more accustomed to navigating virtual worlds, particularly on mobile devices. She claims that even apps for food delivery may offer a virtual gamified experience.“Mobile video gaming is on an exponential trajectory.”

Data from gaming platform Geeiq estimates that there are 488 million gamers in China alone. Gaming is frequently seen as a gateway to metaverse experiences. According to data firm WARC, there are roughly 3 billion gamers worldwide, with 1.6 billion of them in the Asia-Pacific region. The success of South Korean game Zepeto, which is frequently compared to Roblox, has drawn brand partnerships from companies like Gucci, Puma, Marine Serre, and Ralph Lauren.Many top-tier luxury brands have been motivated by this to develop virtual assets and experiences. A virtual world on the virtual reality platform and other metaverse and Web3 initiatives were unveiled by Vogue Singapore to correspond with its September cover, including Balmain’s first-ever NFT via a burning digital dress.

The most recent augmented reality fashion show that Vogue China and the tech corporation Alibaba collaborated on included “super mascots” from high-end labels walking virtual runways. According to Geeiq, Burberry collaborated with Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, in August to outfit its avatars in 18 free virtual outfits. The hashtag associated with the campaign received 15 million views on the microblogging site Weibo. Recently, Air Jordan and Tencent’s immersive interactive environment Super QQ Show collaborated to outfit avatars and virtual homes with virtual items.

In comparison to his native Australia, which is “quite conservative in that regard,” Ridler observes that the Vogue China community appears to have a greater appetite for and understanding of the relationship between technology and luxury. He also notes that the majority of commissions over the past three years have come from relationships within China and the US.“For fashion, it’s a natural extension of what we create on set. It seems like the Vogue China community is more excited by ideas within this space.”

To spark discussion about whether fashion imagery should use technologies such as digital art, 3D scanning, and beyond, Vogue China launched a video-first cover story in September. Digital artist Slve Sundsb captured China’s next generation of supermodels in a hybrid 3D-scanned and photographic tableau; this resulted in total reads of the two “owned hashtags” for this issue reaching almost 27 million.

Condé Nast statistics shows that Vogue China has 3 million followers on the social media and messaging platform Wechat.

“The formats and possibilities for creators are boundless and the barriers to entry are relatively low, so we see much greater diversity in thought,” Zhang says. “We’re excited to see how it continues to evolve as we discover more creatives around the globe.”

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