Open world gaming platform Roblox has released a new report evaluating the current trends and possible future behaviors of its 50 million strong user base and their relationship with digital fashion. The 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trend Report is part of a new collaboration between Roblox and Parsons School of Design, which worked with the platform to research and collect data.
With the results, Roblox hopes to emphasize how important self-expression through digital identity and avatar style is to Gen Z, the largest user base of metaverse platforms. In addition to behavioral data from its own community, Roblox also surveyed 1,000 members of the Gen Z group living in the United States to get a comprehensive look at consumer preferences.
In a press release accompanying the report, Roblox vice president of global partnerships Christina Wootton wrote: “Gen Z consumers are spending more time in immersive social spaces like Roblox, where they have expressed themselves through their creations and digital media for more than a decade. style preferences. With their growing economic power and influence on fashion, trends from the metaverse are expected to have a profound impact on physical fashion, while trends from the physical world will also continue to move into the metaverse.”
Digital creative communities are on the rise
Wootton also notes that the next generation of fashion designers and brands are likely to delve deep into digital fashion, designing collections that can be worn by avatars in the virtual world. This is evidenced by the fact that Roblox has increased the number of active designers creating digital goods for its platform by 25 percent, with approximately 11.5 million designers designing more than 62 million pieces of clothing and accessories during 2022.
Based on this data, Roblox said there are at least 200 times as many manufacturers designing clothing and accessories on Roblox as there are fashion designers creating physical collections in the United States. Daniel Drak, assistant professor of strategic design and fashion communication at Parsons, says of these numbers: “On Roblox, some community creators can create and design items as a hobby, but what’s important to emphasize is that this ability to easily creating digital fashion and making it accessible to a global consumer audience empowers many more individuals to get creative.”
Gen Z emphasizes demand for customization and inclusivity
This idea of a broad, diverse creator base was also reflected in Gen Z’s desire for an inclusive, highly customizable fashion offering on the platform. Almost all respondents said they had changed their avatars at least a little, while more than half said they had changed “a lot”. About 40 percent of the platform’s active users updated their avatars at least once a month, and about 18 percent did so daily.
There was also a need for diversity in personalization options, including demand for a range of skin tones, body sizes and personal characteristics such as hair color and style. Most users emphasized the importance of digital clothing for all body types, an element that led Roblox to introduce the “Layered Clothing” feature earlier this year, which allows 3D clothing to fit all avatars. Since its launch, the platform said nearly 11 million users have purchased items from the category, with 157 million free and paid items.
Fashion has equal value in the metaverse
Gen Z apparently values digital fashion as much as its physical counterpart: 42 percent of respondents said digital expression is as important as real-world expression. In addition, more than three-quarters believed that being “fashionably dressed” was important in the metaverse.
Users were found to be inspired by a variety of sources for their digital selves, including physical fashion trends, their favorite brands and most importantly, other avatars. Their spending habits also underscored this growing connection to digital fashion: nearly three in four respondents said they would spend their money on digital clothing. More than 60 percent said they spend $5 to $20 a month, while 12 percent said they spend $50 to $100.
Roblox expands partnership with Parsons
Expanding on its partnership with Parsons, Roblox will also partner with the school on a course that will teach students how to create digital clothing. Available from the spring semester 2023, the 16-week course is designed to prepare participants for changing media, with a curriculum that includes research, digital and physical fashion prototyping and the application of new technologies to design, as well as the opportunity to work with experienced designers from the Parsons and Roblox communities.
Eventually, students will be able to create physical and digital clothing and accessories on Parsons and Roblox’s Avatar Marketplace. In a release announcing the collaboration, Shana Agid, dean of Parsons’ School of Art and Media Technology, said: “The collaboration with Roblox provides Parsons students working in creative technologies with an exciting opportunity to engage with the complex intersection of visual culture and social structure, and to play with how we give meaning when we dress – in digital and physical worlds.”
This article was previously published on FashionUnited UK. Translation and editing into Dutch by Caitlyn Terra.