"Web3" is a word for the next evolution of the internet. It features digital assets that use blockchain technology—like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies—and metaverse-based companies.
Web3 hasn't quite transcended buzzword status, but brands are still eagerly hiring to make sure they don't miss out on the next big trend.
Meta, the newly branded company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has been on a massive hiring spree. Meta said in October 2021 that it was hiring 10,000 new employees in Europe to help build its metaverse.
Even major retailers are looking to zoom in on the metaverse trend. Walmart has begun filing patents for virtual products and crypto it might soon sell as part of a planned push into virtual reality (VR) e-commerce.
The core idea of the metaverse is a shared, virtual world in which people interact through digital avatars. Yet the metaverse as a shared space doesn't fully exist yet.
The closest we have is the major gaming platform Roblox, in which people toggle through games that live in the same virtual universe. Fortnite, which regularly hosts concerts and movie nights, is a close second.
While "metaverse" only entered the popular lexicon at the end of 2021, when Facebook changed its name to Meta, brands have been quietly selling products in the gaming world for years:
For brands, in particular, digital goods—no matter which gaming universe they are sold in—can become significant for the business of fashion.
To dive deeper into the metaverse, Nike has acquired RTFKT Studios, a startup that creates virtual sneakers and collectibles.
Some analysts predict that digital goods, including NFTs and products bought within gaming metaverses, could represent 10% of the entire luxury goods market by 2030.
Here's how fashion brands should approach hiring their metaverse talent team:
Tommy Hilfiger was ahead of the metaverse hiring trend. In 2019, it announced plans to make 3D digital duplicates of all of its new designs, which it could sell along with the physical-world versions of its clothes.
To do that, the company hired two major groups of people: software engineers who could design 3D technology for the company, plus a team of digitally savvy fashion designers who could take the real-world products and re-imagine them in a digital world.
Together, the two teams aren't only able to build the infrastructure for digital clothes, but they are also able to craft their designs for a digital world.
The best employees for building virtual fashion lines are the artists who know the ins and outs of designing in 3D or in VR settings.
The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York holds 3D design courses, graduates from universities like these could make for excellent new hires.
A growing suite of companies has popped up, focusing on designing products and storefronts for the digital world.
One of the most prominent is the VR store developer Obsess, who has worked with Ralph Lauren, Coach, General Mills, and more to build VR stores that can display or sell products.
However, they aren't the only game in town: a newly formed company called Virtual Brand Group has helped Forever 21 build a storefront within Roblox, and it plans to design similar storefronts for other brands Fortnite and Minecraft as well.
Meanwhile, Zepeto creates digital avatars that can span multiple worlds—Dior, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci have all partnered with Zepeto to get digital versions of their clothes into the Zepeto virtual store.
Because the metaverse began in the gaming world, brands now looking to fit their products in the digital world need to first get in touch with agencies already well-versed in the gaming business.
Luckily, there is an entire industry of gaming-focused marketing agencies, many of which have experience working on digital goods. Among them are Greig, Subnation, and Twofivesix.
Meanwhile, the consultancy Futures Intelligence Group didn't start in the gaming sphere, but it now claims to be the first metaverse-focused agency.
As you make your first foray into digital fashion, it's important to have teams on hand to answer customer questions about the ins and outs of buying and owning digital goods.
Chatdesk Teams hires customer service representatives who can reply to viewers' comments and DMs across social media platforms—like TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.