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« Non-essential sectors will benefit from the metaverse”

The need for dematerialisation is advancing rapidly and the recent actions of the luxury sector in the metaverse are an illustration of this. Canadian sociologist and specialist in connective intelligence Derrick de Kerckhove gives some key insights.

The metaverse represents an important market for luxury brands, most of which have felt the general need for dematerialisation (Shutterstock)

The highly anticipated first Metaverse Fashion Week on Decentraland at the end of March succeeded in attracting a good number of luxury brands, from Dolce&Gabbana to Hugo Boss, from Giuseppe Zanotti to Hogan, or Tommy Hilfiger, Etro and Philippe Plein. The latter has invested nearly one and a half million dollars to purchase a space on Decentraland to offer a mini-collection of virtual clothes and accessories. The space, called Plein Plaza, consists of boutiques, a museum, a hotel and luxury homes. The Italian brand Etro has invested in its first pop-up store, bridging the gap between the virtual catwalk and the brand's website. Italian fashion house Hogan, founded in 1986 by Diego della Valle, organised an after party with French DJ Bob Sinclar. While the Gucci brand created a project with its artistic director Alessandro Michele called "10KFT Gucci Grail", in which the designer's avatar travels through the metaverse and finds himself in the virtual megalopolis called New Tokyo, in the workshop of the digital craftsman Wagmi-san. The goal? To create customised outfits, a concept very popular in the luxury sector.

Derrick de Kerckhove, Canadian sociologist and specialist in connective intelligence (DR)

These initiatives clearly show that the world of luxury has already entered the metaverse, a market with significant growth forecasts, and which, for the luxury sector alone, could be worth 50 billion dollars according to Morgan Stanley, and represent around 10% of luxury goods by 2030.

To understand the meaning of this general need for dematerialisation, Luxury Tribune interviewed Derrick de Kerckhove, an eminent sociologist, considered to be the intellectual heir of Marshall McLuhan, also a great theorist of the media and of connective intelligence.

With the introduction of the metaverse into our lives, is our body becoming superfluous, outdated? What will be the future spaces of the metaverse and what will be ours?

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The Metaverse Fashion Week held in Decentraland at the end of March attracted a large number of luxury brands, including Dolce&Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger (Decentraland/ Metaverse Fashion Week)

Let's start with a real fact. Let's look at how the spaces of the metaverse are evolving and compare them to our real living spaces: two months ago, we could pay 2,000 euros to buy a square metre of living space, whereas today it can cost up to 11,000 euros. We have gone from the price of an average house in a decentralised area of a city, to the price of luxury houses in exclusive areas. This means that there is a strong demand for this transfer from the real world to the virtual world. This is a revolution. But it is not unique in history. In ancient times, we experienced the transition from oral to written tradition. Today everything can be transposed into the virtual world, including thought. Everything is simplified, because this synthesis comes from below and through the media.

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