On August 5, Prada’s repeat Fall 2022 collection was livestreamed in the interactive worlds of “Meta Ziwu,” a virtual place in Baidu’s metaverse social app XiRang. The event happened in real life at Prince Jun’s Mansion Hotel, and it was later shown on TV in a future simulation through XiRang. By signing into Baidu XiRang, users from anywhere in the world can go straight to the live display, removing the geographical barriers between the real and virtual worlds.
The Jing Take: The big name in luxury hasn’t been shy about getting into the metaverse. Since June, its Timecapsule program has been releasing NFT drops every month that celebrate circular fashion, cementing its position as a luxury industry leader. But this is the first time the label has decided to show one of its IRL runways through Web3. This makes it one of Prada’s biggest and most ambitious events of the year.
Why now, though? Prada’s sales and profits in the first half of 2022 were strong, which was a good sign for the company’s recovery in China. With the speeding up of its Web3 strategy, the brand might continue to do as well in the second half as it did in the first. Participating in projects like XiRang’s shows that the company is open to new ideas and is also trying to keep up with how consumers are changing their habits. On the mainland, more people are joining the metaverse. Since this is the case, it makes sense for the company to do the same thing in order to attract their target audience and be culturally relevant.
As technology improves across the Chinaverse, more and more businesses are adding virtual experiences to how they do business. Dior just showed off their digital Valentine’s Day project for the Qixi holiday on WeChat. They were also the first company to use Meta Ziwu in April with their “On the Road” display.
But obstacles still stand in the way of a complete meta-breakthrough all over the country. The situation is still full of uncertainty and unpredictability, and the rules and limits are still not clear. For example, internet giant Tencent had to shut down its digital collectibles platform last month because of bad government rules. Prada’s plan may look great at first, but companies should be careful not to get caught in China’s constantly changing virtual minefield.