A clutch of masters students at the Institut Français de la Mode will soon be taking their accessories designs to the metaverse.
The Paris fashion school is partnering with Stage 11 — a tech start-up melding online music performances with gaming, mixed reality and digital collectibles — to bring their digital creations to life in the form of a film slated to debut during the next Paris Fashion Week.
“Given the impact of virtualization technologies on the design and distribution process of fashion products, Institut Français de la Mode wanted to strengthen its teaching in this field by creating a new ‘virtualization in fashion’ program open to masters students on a voluntary basis,” said Xavier Romatet, dean at the school. “I wanted, through our partnership, to offer a concrete possibility for our design students to work on virtual objects in order to prepare them for the world of tomorrow.”
Fourteen students from the IFM’s Master Accessories program are to create five physical accessories and one digital accessory, with Stage 11 experts there for mentoring and leveraging its high-tech savoir faire.
Founded by music industry veteran Jonathan Belolo, Stage 11 gathers executives from such companies as Nike Inc., LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Microsoft and Facebook, who have already confirmed partnerships with such talents as Martin Garrix, Snoop Dogg, David Guetta and Ne-Yo.
The first “immersive music events and experiences” are to land on the digital platform early next year. Music-driven stories are to be about 30 to 45 minutes in length.
“The medium opens up a new canvas,” said Belolo, who likened Stage 11’s use of video game technology to the centuries-old innovation of theater merging with popular music. “There’s a potential for the creator economy to arise from this.”
And fashion is intricately linked. “As soon as you have an artist performing, you can see them wearing stuff and so you’re in the realm of fashion, self-expression and art,” Belolo said.
There are plans to sell digital clothing and accessories on the site, and Stage 11 also spies potential for selling physical goods through the platform alongside NFTs.
Belolo declined to give names, but said he’s working on partnerships with various brands, all eager to tap into the Gen Z audience that flocks to gaming apps, music and collaborative and interactive digital formats.
Romatet described the Stage 11 partnership as “an extension of our actions to give our students the keys to understand this new virtual world that is opening up to fashion.”