In the fast-evolving realm of digital fashion, Hollywood stylist Kate Young emerges as a visionary force, steering the sartorial narratives of Roblox, Zepeto, and Second Life users. Renowned for curating looks for A-listers like Dakota Johnson and Scarlett Johansson, Young has embarked on a groundbreaking venture as the senior advisor for Blueberry, a digital fashion house poised to redefine the metaverse wardrobe.
A Fusion of Glamour and Pixels: Blueberry’s Distinctive Offerings
Blueberry, under the creative helm of Mishi McDuff, has pioneered digital fashion since 2012, amassing a staggering 15 million item sales. From basic tees to avant-garde pieces, Blueberry caters to the diverse fashion cravings of virtual denizens. The infusion of $6 million in funding in December signals an ambitious expansion into new product categories and platforms, riding the surging wave of the metaverse fashion economy.
Hollywood Styling in the Virtual Spotlight
Kate Young’s foray into digital fashion aligns with the seismic shifts in the celebrity styling landscape. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strikes cast a shadow on traditional promotional avenues, leaving Hollywood stylists grappling with the absence of red carpets and press tours. Young, however, found solace and innovation in the burgeoning metaverse fashion economy.
Metaverse Fashion’s Meteoric Rise
As traditional avenues faced disruption, the metaverse fashion economy witnessed an unprecedented surge. Projections by analytics firm Globaldata estimate metaverse revenue to soar to $400 billion by 2030, a stark ascent from $48 billion the previous year. Roblox, a metaverse giant, conducted a study revealing that over half of Gen Z users willingly spend up to $10 monthly on styling their avatars. In 2022, Second Life alone generated over $12 million from virtual fashion items, while Roblox users purchased a staggering 1.65 billion digital fashion items in the first nine months of the current year, marking a 15% increase from the previous year.
Kate Young’s Impact: Beyond Apparel
Young’s collaboration with Blueberry extends far beyond clothing. Her insightful suggestions breathe new life into the presentation of Second Life collections, advocating for a shift in the models’ style to resonate with younger audiences. Drawing inspiration from figures like Hailey Bieber, Young injects a youthful and fresh aesthetic into the digital fashion narrative. The meticulous attention to detail she brings proves instrumental in elevating Blueberry’s brand and resonating with the evolving tastes of the metaverse audience.
A Conversation with Kate Young: Navigating the Metaverse
In an exclusive interview with Vogue Business, Kate Young delves into her journey and motivations behind embracing digital fashion. Her curiosity was piqued during the pandemic as her teenage kids immersed themselves in virtual worlds, prompting her exploration of the intersection between fashion and the metaverse.
“It functions the way fashion does in the real world: it helps you find your tribe and express yourself without a lot of limitations.”
Digital Design’s Limitless Horizons
The allure of digital fashion lies in its boundless possibilities. Unlike physical design, digital counterparts break free from constraints, allowing designers to experiment without concerns of fabric costs or body types. Young underscores the liberation digital design offers, enabling designers to cater to diverse avatar shapes at accessible price points. The metaverse becomes a playground where imagination reigns supreme.
“Designers don’t have to create with certain body types or income brackets in mind — they can create collections that cater to diverse avatar shapes at much more accessible price points.”
Kate Young’s Role at Blueberry: Trendsetter and Visionary
As a senior advisor at Blueberry, Kate Young takes on the mantle of a trend forecaster. Delving into the nuances of Roblox’s demographics, she deciphers the current trends in colors, shapes, and styles. Her role involves translating cultural cues, music trends, and cinematic vibes into digital fashion statements. In collaboration with Blueberry, Young curates looks inspired by a diverse range of influences, from decade-old magazine photos to cutting-edge London fashion shows.
“I’m more a creative person as opposed to the nuts and bolts of, ‘Make fire pants’.”
Metaverse Fashion: A Reflection of Real-world Trends
The symbiotic relationship between the metaverse and the physical world becomes evident as Young acknowledges the metaverse’s influence on real-world fashion trends. From the rise of naked dressing trends to the aspirational styles of influencers like Hailey Bieber, the metaverse becomes a fertile ground for shaping the aesthetics of the physical realm.
“I think that’s absolutely true. The naked dressing trend, to me, came from the metaverse.”
The Stylist’s Lens: Shaping Avatars and Trends
In the metaverse, the role of a stylist takes a unique turn. Unlike the real world, where individuals grapple with body types and budgets, the metaverse simplifies the styling process. Users can readily purchase entire outfits inspired by influencers, eliminating the challenges faced by traditional stylists. The influence of an online persona, shaped by digital fashion, becomes an accessible reality.
“I can’t imagine that people would use a stylist in the metaverse because you can see what you like and you can buy full looks.”
Diversification of Styling Roles: A Response to Industry Shifts
Kate Young’s involvement with Blueberry not only signifies a personal evolution but also mirrors a broader trend in the industry. The recent actors’ strike in Hollywood disrupted conventional avenues, prompting a need for diversification. Young’s multifaceted career, from lingerie lines in Japan to collaborations with major brands, exemplifies her proactive approach to staying relevant in a dynamic industry.
“I’ve always been doing this stuff. It doesn’t feel different to me than it ever did.”
Digital Fashion’s Environmental Edge
The allure of digital fashion extends beyond aesthetics to environmental consciousness. Blueberry’s ability to generate over a million dollars annually by selling digital fashion underscores the economic viability of this emerging market. With pieces priced affordably, users can indulge in designer-inspired looks without contributing to the ecological footprint associated with fast fashion.
“You don’t have that sickly feeling that you do with fast fashion.”
Imaginary Outfits, Real Impact
Addressing skeptics who dismiss digital fashion as “imaginary,” Kate Young offers a poignant perspective. In an era dominated by online experiences, time spent in the metaverse is undeniably real. Digital fashion becomes a tangible expression of identity, a medium where creativity knows no bounds.
“They laugh at me at Blueberry because I call them ‘imaginary outfits’… But it does exist. It’s not like time spent online is not real. It is.”
In conclusion, Kate Young’s collaboration with Blueberry emerges as a pioneering force in shaping the narrative of digital fashion. As metaverse trends continue to influence the physical realm, Blueberry stands at the forefront of this dynamic evolution. Young’s role as a trendsetter and visionary not only underscores the limitless potential of digital design but also exemplifies the resilience and adaptability demanded by the ever-changing landscape of the fashion industry.
How did Kate Young’s collaboration with Blueberry come about?
Kate Young’s journey into the digital fashion universe was sparked by her two teenage kids, who immersed themselves in virtual worlds during the pandemic. Witnessing their fascination with digital outfits and the creative potential of the metaverse, Young became curious about its future. Her involvement with Blueberry began through a pilot program, where her input on looks and pieces showcased her unique ability to blend real-world trends with the imaginative possibilities of the digital realm.
What sets metaverse fashion apart from traditional fashion?
Metaverse fashion offers a liberating escape from the constraints of traditional fashion. In the metaverse, designers face no limits; they can craft outfits made of fire or experiment with diverse fabrics without ecological concerns. The metaverse breaks free from the physical world’s limitations, allowing for innovation and inclusivity. It’s a realm where everyone, regardless of location or financial means, can express themselves through unique avatars and styles.
How did the actors’ strike impact Hollywood stylists and fashion industries?
The actors’ strike, a turbulent period that barred celebrities from promotional activities, had a profound ripple effect on Hollywood stylists like Kate Young. The abrupt halt to red carpets and press tours left stylists without their usual avenues for work. Young, facing a sudden void in her schedule, sought ways to adapt and remain active in her profession. The strike’s aftermath prompted a need for diversification in styling income, leading Young towards the burgeoning metaverse fashion economy.
Can digital fashion trends truly influence physical fashion trends?
Absolutely! Kate Young believes in the symbiotic relationship between the metaverse and the physical world. Trends like the naked dressing trend, she argues, originated from the metaverse and eventually influenced real-world fashion. The digital realm’s freedom from physical constraints allows for experimentation, and as metaverse fashion gains popularity, its impact on physical fashion trends is inevitable, ushering in a new era of creative expression.
What role does sustainability play in the metaverse fashion economy?
Sustainability takes center stage in the metaverse fashion economy, and Kate Young sees it as a game-changer. Unlike traditional fashion, digital fashion in the metaverse doesn’t contribute to an eco footprint. With no need for physical production or sourcing specific fabrics, designers can experiment with sustainable practices and cater to diverse avatar shapes at accessible price points. The metaverse, according to Young, presents a refreshing opportunity for a more environmentally conscious and inclusive fashion future.
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