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Education and Aesthetics: Bringing More Women into the Metaverse

Interest in the Metaverse is growing rapidly and fashion brands around the world are taking notice. A new report by technology research and consulting firm Technavio has revealed that the Metaverse will reach a market value of $50.37 billion by 2026. Technavio’s findings further show that the market share of the Metaverse in fashion is expected to grow by $6.61 billion from 2021 to 2026.

Given this, a number of big brands have started participating in Web3 initiatives. For example, Metaverse Fashion Week held at Decentraland this year attracted over 70 brands, artists and designers, including Tommy Hilfiger, Estée Lauder, Philipp Plein, Selfridges and Dolce & Gabbana. Luxury jewelry brand Tiffany & Co also recently entered the Web3 space with the sale of 250 diamond and gemstone encrusted pendants for CryptoPunk non-fungible token (NFT) holders.

Understand what women want from a Metaverse platform

While these initiatives are notable, new findings from The Female Quotient (The FQ) and media company EWG Unlimited show that metaverse experiences are still largely male-oriented. The report titled “What Women Want in Web 3.0” also revealed that 62% of women surveyed have never heard of or are unfamiliar with NFTs, while 24% of women do not understand the metaverse.

Results of the report “What women want in Web 3.0”

Shelley Zalis, CEO of The FQ – an equality services and consultancy company – told Cointelegraph that while there is huge interest in women getting involved with Web3, the experiences offered by brands must respond more to what women want. She says:

“We know that 85% of purchasing decisions are made by women, so if brands want to do it right, they need to design relevant experiences for women by creating the types of experiences they want to participate in. For example , from perspective viewing many metaverse visuals are clunky and not beautiful so this needs to be improved.

To Zalis’ point, the FQ and EWG Unlimited report found that one in four women would revisit a Metaverse platform if it contained better aesthetics. Still, understanding visually appealing elements for women can be tricky, as the report notes that only 16% of Web3 creators currently identify as women. “The FQ wants to lead the way by encouraging more women to be on the business side of Web3 initiatives. If women can design these spaces for women, we can ensure that women will want to spend more time in the metaverse,” Zalis explained.

Echoing this, Sam Huber, Founder and Managing Director of LandVault, told Cointelegraph that change starts from within from the perspective of metaverse builders. “Female developers are in the best position to know what appeals to a female audience, so diversifying developer talent is critical,” he said. This appears to be the case, as female-led Metaverse platforms like DressX have witnessed increased female involvement over time.

Natalia Modenova, founder of DressX, told Cointelegraph that the digital fashion platform has been promoting creativity since day one, noting that the platform’s first designers were women.

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“Designers dominate the DressX platform,” she said. Modenova added that DressX has launched many projects created and run by women. “One of the most notable is our ‘Feminine Future’ NFT drop created by innovative creative director, VFX artist and virtual fashion designer Katie McIntyre and multimedia artist Nina Hawkins recently named ‘the best female VFX artists in the world’ by Time magazine,” she said. According to Mondenova, the project provided insight into how women can collaborate and create their own aesthetic within the metaverse.

Feminine Future NFT drop poster. Source: DressX

From a brand perspective, a spokesperson for the luxury fashion industry told Cointelegraph that aesthetics should be the number one marketing priority in the Metaverse. “Aesthetics should be on-brand, replicating elements like color schemes and patterns,” she said.

Even with a visually appealing aesthetic, she pointed out that female engagement in the Metaverse remains low, noting that many luxury fashion consumers still don’t understand what Web3 means. “People need to understand this space before they can engage. We also have an older customer base in our store who won’t be easily drawn into the digital world.” -over one month, the results indicate that only 30% of women are really familiar with virtual worlds. In order to combat these challenges, the report highlights that brands need to focus on accessibility and education when it comes to attracting female consumers.

“Only 14% of women have access to Metaverse platforms like Decentraland or Roblox. Education will reign supreme in order to get everyone on board,” Zalis remarked. Specifically, she explained that the FQ found that media social media is one of the most useful tools for educating women on the web.3 “Women need social interaction and community building. Social media is the best way for brands to engage with consumers of all ages.

Jenny Guo, co-founder of Highstreet – a retail-focused metaverse platform – further told Cointelegraph that people familiar with Web3 often use rhetoric that is not easily understood by the general public. . As such, she believes traditional consumers generally don’t understand how these ecosystems work, which makes brands reluctant to enter the space. “With more education, easier access, and a brand’s willingness to experiment in the metaverse, we’ll see more brands, especially boutique brands, expand their market into the Web3 world,” he said. she stated.

Meanwhile, Guo pointed out that Web3 initiatives taken by brands today can still appeal mainly to male consumers. For example, Guo noted that Tiffany’s recent collaboration with CryptoPunks is a great example of how companies are looking at female labels. Still, she pointed out that most CryptoPunk holders are men. She says:

“By default, Web3 is very male-dominated, and we’re not seeing a lot of female-focused brands entering the space right now. But, like the tech industry, more and more creative women will join the industry over time.

Metaverse platforms need to cater to women moving forward

Although the results show that metaverse experiences are largely geared towards men, the roles are set to change as more brands get involved in the industry. Brian Trunzo, metaverse manager at Polygon Studios – the platform for restoring Web3 projects built on the Polygon protocol – told Cointelegraph that the Metaverse is becoming a new hub for expanding product and service offerings. . He said:

“Brands can now engage with their consumers in a more direct way that doesn’t involve travel to physical locations or personnel for human operations. Consumers can simply access the digital hubs of their favorite brands and participate in their unique metaverse experiences or buy what they have to offer. »

According to Trunzo, this level of engagement would never be possible in the real world or within Web2 platforms, which is why it is now becoming critical for brands to migrate to Web3. Given this, Trunzo pointed out that combining representation and inclusivity with aesthetics could be key to bringing more women into the metaverse. “It could also allow them to participate in this ecosystem without accessibility barriers,” he said.

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As such, Zalis believes the time is right for women to get involved in building Metaverse platforms. “We want to make sure women are first on Web3 before it becomes a boys-only club. Women need to get in there early to write the rules of the road, not just as creators but as as business leaders.

In order to ensure this, Zalis shared that the FQ is hosting a number of in-person events as well as meetings in the metaverse to help educate women on Web3 through social interaction and community building. “We connect with women in over 100 countries,” she said. Shapovalova said DressX will hold a number of events and launches, partnering with well-known traditional brands to create in-house 3D fashion collections. “We’re exploring the metaverse in every possible (and impossible) direction,” she remarked.