It’s only been a couple of weeks since tech mogul Mark Zuckerberg took the wraps off of Meta, née Facebook, and there’s already a fashion scholarship geared for the metaverse: on Tuesday, fashion school Istituto Marangoni Miami, or IMM, announced a partnership with 3D social media company Zepeto to propel students into the virtual fashion terrain with a $50,000 scholarship program.
Predictably, the project won’t funnel fashion into Zuckerberg’s platform, but rather Zepeto’s own.
The South Korea-based app is no Meta, but with serious chops as a developer of 3D avatars and the growing popularity of its virtual world — which bustles with 200 million global users — it aims to be a metaverse contender. The company’s tech offers a lightweight way to transform users into the 3D avatars that people use to interact in its virtualized environment. Zepeto’s metaverse has already attracted the likes of high-profile fashion brands, including Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Dior.
Likewise, fashion students at IMM and others selected by the scholarship program will be able to promote their own metaverse collection in Zepeto, with training and mentorship provided to help them prepare.
“Through this partnership with Zepeto, we are teaching our students the importance of engaging with the next generation of consumers through the virtual world,” said Hakan Baykam, Istituto Marangoni Miami’s president and chief executive officer.
But the CEO suggested that the benefit goes beyond just getting acquainted with buzzworthy new platforms. There’s also a practical aspect to the collaboration and program: “While Zepeto offers a new design platform for our students to unlock their creativity and imagination, it’s also an incredibly powerful tool to measure the success of a collection before sourcing, manufacturing and beyond,” Baykam added.
Ten recipients will receive scholarships, which will amount to $50,000. Five will come from IMM’s existing student body, while the rest will be selected from the public.
“Our partnership with Istituto Marangoni Miami will be one of our first collaborations with the academic world,” said Rudy Lee, Zepeto’s chief strategy officer, “and we’re very excited to invite future fashion designers into the metaverse.”