The Metaverse is coming, or so we are told by just about every digital pundit. If it arrives in the way everyone expects, then it could be the biggest revolution in the digital space since social media. Here at Lavandi Talent, we’ve found that as usual, the beauty industry is already at the forefront of adopting the new medium, but what does it all mean in the long term?
THE METAVERSE AND THE NEW FACE OF YOU
Despite the Marvel comics sounding name, the Metaverse is going to shake things up for everyone. If it does half of the things it is promising to bring to the world, then we are looking at a fundamental shift to 3D internet use and a blurring of the lines between reality and the digital realm. According to leading metaverse exponent Mark Zuckerberg, it is the beginning of a new era. It could mean a working life of virtual reality environments, a world where augmented reality glass is a common wearable and, ironically bearing in mind where his wealth came from, the end of social media as we know it. The Metaverse is indeed going to be ‘meta’ in the sense that it will be transformative, beyond, behind, all around, and comprehensively part of our lives. Sounds pretty amazing stuff, right? Well, yes, it does, and it probably will be. That said, I think we have all known this was coming, so what will it mean for the beauty industry?As always, the beauty space is already at the forefront of new developments. Estee Lauder, for example, recently collaborated with digital identity designer, Dr Alex Box, to create a wearable NFT for the Metaverse Fashion Week event. NFTs are a growing art form and seem the natural partner for the beauty industry. Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are a form of digital ‘art’ (I use the term loosely to cover a range of iterations) that cannot be duplicated. They are a unique, or at least a limited run, aspect of a digital world. With the emergence of the Metaverse, they are finding a home in the lives of collectors and, increasingly, the public. It is the unique nature of the design of NFT that has a parallel with the beauty sphere. Why? Strap in; it’s all about to get meta.The makeover chair in a chain store, the artists at New York Fashion Week and the teenager experimenting with their image for the first time all have one thing in common. They are working towards ‘the look’. We are all striving to express ourselves in the perfect way. The recent push for more diversity in representation and gender-fluid products, for example, are also partly about this. The beauty industry has the need for expression of individuality at its very core. As meta grows, the avatars (the image of us seen only in the virtual world) could well be the obvious extensions of that struggle for expression. What we currently do with makeup and styling, we could soon be doing as a digital representation. Once that look is achieved, once we are totally comfortable in our digital skins, the NFT aspect would make that limited edition ‘look’ either exclusively or in limited editions, ours. True individuality and personal brand as style would be the standard in the Metaverse.
MERGING THE METAVERSE IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY
The combination of Metaverse and individual styling raises all sorts of fundamental questions about the nature of beauty and art that I am sure are being discussed in depth in academia. For the moment, let’s stay more grounded in the commercial aspects of this. Who will be leading the pack when it comes to developing these new styles and products?Although the technology is the most physical aspect of the Metaverse, in terms of that unique look we mentioned earlier, you cannot help but point to the beauty industry to potentially bridge the gap between style and machine. There is no reason why the physical aspect of your style cannot be reflected in the digital and vice-versa. It’s not a huge leap to imagine a world where your virtual or physical makeover is instantly converted into beauty products and an NFT reflection of your style at the point of purchase.The opportunities of the Metaverse are almost endless for the beauty industry. If it grasps those opportunities and the Metaverse rolls out as expected, it could mean a whole new generation of digital beauty industry specialists taking the sector into a new world of style and expression.