Local ShoppingParsons hosts digital Roblox-branded fashion showcase

Parsons hosts digital Roblox-branded fashion showcase

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Dive Brief:

  • The New School’s Parsons School of Design will host its first Roblox Course Preliminary Showcase featuring digital apparel created by students for the metaverse.
  • The virtual fashions will be shown Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST at The New School’s Welcome Center, and the creations will be available for purchase as avatar ensembles from the Roblox website, according to a release about the showcase.
  • The showcase is part of a course collaboration between Parsons and Roblox that was announced last year and launched this spring. The 16-week course focuses on researching and prototyping digital and physical fashion, and coursework includes presenting proof of concept prototypes created on Roblox.

Dive Insight:

This is the first time Parsons is presenting a course and showcase of this kind. Kyle Li, assistant professor of communication design and technology at Parsons, said in the release that the class would teach students to explore the possibilities of metaverse design while incorporating the commercial reach of the Roblox platform. “This is a new milestone for user-generated content and digital fashion design at the university, and our students are at the very front of it,” he said.

In an email, Li added, “A course that brings extra resources to students, allows students to work with professionals from the industry, provides a successful real-world example, and gets student’s work out in the world is the best kind of course.”

A Roblox spokesperson said in an email that there would be nine looks students and teams would create as part of their class work, with some looks consisting of separates, so that the final project would comprise 22 items in total. 

“As of now and as far as we know, there are no plans for these items to come down,” said the spokesperson. “They are getting uploaded to the Roblox Marketplace and becoming available to users as we speak.” Parsons and Roblox said they will continue working together, and the spokesperson added that the overall plan is to continue the collaboration into future semesters.

Pricing for each item ranges from 70 to 100 Robux, and 100 Robux is equivalent to about 80 cents. Li said 70 to 100 Robux is the usual range for indie designers.

Last month, Roblox reported just over 66 million daily active users, and a report released by Roblox and Parsons last year said that 70% of Gen Z said their avatar outfits were at least somewhat like their real-world style. Seventy percent of respondents said they get real-world style inspiration from dressing their avatars. The report added that 54% of people who spend up to $100 per month on avatar styles thought that being a digital fashion designer was more impressive than being a real-world designer.

Competition was certainly stiff at this year’s debut presentation of AI Fashion Week, hosted by Maison Meta. The event received more than 350 submissions from designers, according to organizers. The list was culled to 130 designers who showcased collections and competed for a chance to see their creations turned into real-world pieces.

While digital design is still in its early stages, there’s both room for improvement and opportunity. For example, during this year’s Metaverse Fashion Week, held in March on the Decentraland platform, big name brands such as Coach, Adidas and Dolce & Gabbana rubbed virtual shoulders with emerging names such as The Fabricant. All participants were subjected to the same technical glitches, including slow load times and glitching graphics.

A recent report from McKinsey & Co. said that generative AI could add between $150 billion and $275 billion to fashion’s bottom line, and last week, Roblox reported a Q1 revenue increase of 22% year-over-year to $655.3 million. Yet Roblox also dodged mention of larger controversies during the earnings call; some recent challenges include an FTC complaint filed last year against the company by privacy watchdog organization Truth in Advertising, and a decision by Walmart to shut down its Roblox branded Universe of Play space earlier this year.

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