Parsons and Roblox Partner to Educate on Digital Fashion and Trends
The concept of the metaverse has been around for almost 20 years now, although the public has only really started to engage with what it has to offer in the past few years thanks to popular platforms and technology companies like Roblox.
Now, the metaverse is set to become a bit more fashionable thanks to a multi-faceted partnership between Parsons School of Design and Roblox that includes a course collaboration where students will create hyper-realistic and inclusive 3D digital apparel. The partnership also includes the 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends report, which highlights how important self-expression through digital identity and avatar style is for members of Gen Z who have grown up socializing on platforms like Roblox.
“Partnering with Roblox offers Parsons students working in creative technologies an exciting opportunity to engage the complex intersection of visual culture and social structure, and to play with how we make meaning when we dress ourselves – in digital and physical worlds,” says Shana Agid, PhD, Dean of the School of Art & Media Technology at Parsons School of Design. “We’re excited to see how students’ own diverse experiential knowledge, together with their research, critical thinking, and digital and visual design skills, shape the futures of these spaces.”
Faculty members at Parsons are leading the development of The New School’s next wave of fashion design with creative, education, and marketing experts at Roblox. The course will be available to Parsons students for the Spring 2023 semester, and equip students with the training and tools to prepare for the changing mediums and self-expression of the future.
In the 16-week collaborative and production-driven course, students and faculty will begin to explore the intricate relationship between digital and physical fashion set in an immersive future. The curriculum is focused on researching and prototyping digital and physical fashion for immersive environments, which includes proof of concept prototypes that students will create on Roblox.
Students will learn to apply the latest technologies to create hyper-realistic and inclusive 3D digital apparels that fit any body type, and have the opportunity to work with experienced fashion designers from both the Parsons and Roblox communities to push the experimental nature of digital fashion for our future presence. Ultimately, students will be able to create a retail experience with their physical and digital clothings and accessories at Parsons and in the Roblox Avatar Marketplace.
In addition to the new course, Parsons and Roblox also published the 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends report, which offers timely research and analysis of trends in digital fashion and self-expression among Gen Z consumers who are active on Roblox. Combining a wealth of behavioral data from the Roblox platform and survey responses of 1,000 Gen Z respondents living in the U.S.*, the report offers an in-depth look at consumer preferences of those closely familiar with self-expression through digital identity and fashion.
“Gen Z consumers are spending more time in immersive social spaces like Roblox, where they have been expressing themselves through their creations and digital style preferences for over a decade,” says Christina Wootton, Vice President of global partnerships, Roblox. “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. The data sourced for this report further underscores why the next generation of fashion designers and brands will become deeply immersed in digital fashion – designing digital collections and dressing avatars.”
“Collaborating on this research with Roblox has made it even more clear that self-expression through digital fashion is important for digital natives and Gen Z,” says Ben Barry, PhD, Dean and Associate Professor of Equity and Inclusion, School of Fashion at Parsons. “Designers of the future will need to create in 3D and push the boundaries of creativity with metaverse-only garments, accessories, and collections that can be made available with lightning-fast speed to millions of consumers globally, on platforms like Roblox. As we prepare the next generation of fashion designers for their careers, we look forward to the future where this creative profession is made accessible to all through the latest technology and creators’ innovation.”
A virtual panel hosted by Roblox and Parsons School of Design on November 2, 2022, from 9:30am PT/12:30pm ET, will feature top fashion and metaverse experts discussing the report’s key findings and predictions for “What’s Next in Metaverse Fashion?”. RSVP here to hear expert thoughts on the research and what’s yet to come in digital fashion.
Key insights from the 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends report include:
- With Gen Z spending more time socializing, creating and expressing themselves in immersive social spaces, the demand for digital fashion, its widespread impact, and, as a result, its prestige are on the rise.
- Half of the survey respondents say they are changing their avatar’s clothing at least every week, and for 2 in 5 self-expression (via clothing and accessories in the digital world) is already MORE important than expressing themselves in the physical world.
- Just like in the physical world, community members on platforms like Roblox tend to connect with and react to others based on the way they look and dress, which can have a profound impact on their self-confidence and relationships.
- Nearly 3 in 4 say they will spend money on digital fashion, and two thirds are excited to wear brand name virtual items on their Roblox avatars.
- Respondents note the importance of having diverse customization options for their avatars, and the vast majority also agree with the importance of digital clothing designs being inclusive.
- Full report findings also discuss most popular metaverse fashion styles and best-selling clothing categories, what virtual closets of Gen Z consumers and digital fashion budgets look like, and more.
- Download the 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends report here.
*Methodology: To obtain the most recent consumer insight data, Roblox, in collaboration with the Parsons School of Design, commissioned a poll from Momentive (makers of the SurveyMonkey platform) fielded September 19-21, 2022, among 1,000 U.S. people ages 14 to 24, living in the United States. The sample has been balanced for gender using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the US population in that age range.