H&M partners with Dubit to create metaverse Loooptopia

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Stockholm-based fast-fashion retailer H&M Group has reportedly partnered with metaverse studio Dubit to provide an immersive 3D environment H&M Loooptopia Experience for customers.

Launched on the virtual gaming platform Roblox, Loooptopia is a metaverse environment where people can create various digital products — garments and outfits — and play games. The environment features a city square and several play sessions spread across Roblox worlds.

To create virtual outfits for their Roblox characters, users must gather various digital materials. They can obtain these materials by participating in mini-games, live events and styling sessions. Loooptopia enables users to interact with friends virtually on the platform.

Friends can also exchange clothing items and even take selfies together.

Users can recycle their old outfits for new stylings to obtain special materials. Moreover, Loooptopia allows users to boast their fashion sense because there are digital runway shows that users can join as well.

H&M America’s head of customer activation and marketing Linda Li said her company was aware that its target consumers were spending more time in virtual space.

By inventing the metaverse environment, H&M aims to engage with current consumers and even expand its base.

“In the coming years, H&M will continue to explore this fast-growing expanse of virtual and augmented realities,” Li added.

H&M global head of brand experience and ECD metaverse Max Heirbaut said Loooptopia could encourage the generation of digital natives — which is a part of the company’s target market — to be creative on virtual space. Heirbaut added that the freedom to design the avatar’s outfit helped users to express themselves.

Dubit chief commercial officer Andrew Douthwaite expressed his excitement about collaborating with the global retailer. He said the retailer wanted to promote fun and sustainability on the metaverse to align with the brand’s core values.

H&M is not the first retailer that offers a metaverse experience to customers via Roblox. American fashion retailer Forever 21 runs the Shop City virtual store on the gaming platform too. In Forever 21’s metaverse, players attempt to become the best shop in town.

Players can trade Forever 21’s merchandise — including clothing items and accessories. Forever 21’s virtual shop also enables users to hire non-player characters (NPCs) as employees.

Build-A-Bear Workshop also recently launched Build-A-Bear Tycoon on Roblox. Users need to progress through the game to unlock digital collectibles. These bear collectibles can be exchanged for real-life versions.

Additionally, Build-A-Bear Tycoon can obtain digital currency to play on Roblox.

Metaverse to rise in 2023

Although 2022 was challenging for crypto and blockchain, experts predicted that the metaverse would grow in 2023. Numerous companies had applied around 5,364 U.S. trademarks for metaverse and its related services by November last year.

The interest in the metaverse among global brands will push the growth of this sector this year. According to Accenture senior executive Jason Warnke, the metaverse will affect all these brands in return.

“We believe the metaverse will impact every aspect of every business, including how work is performed, what products are offered, how products are distributed, and how businesses operate,” Warnke said.

Due to its potential growth, the metaverse sector will receive significant investment support, unlike some other blockchain sectors. Animoca Brands, for example, is preparing to invest $2 billion in the metaverse.

In 2023, experts expect artificial intelligence technology to power the development of the metaverse. Decentraland Foundation creative director Sam Hamilton said AI would help metaverse platforms to develop a realistic virtual environment where users could immerse themselves.

AI technology usage in the metaverse, however, also faces criticism for increasing the risk of cyber crimes, specifically identity theft. The Chinese government even bans its citizens from creating AI-generated media without watermarks to prevent this incident.