The first ever Metaverse Beauty Week (MBW) is almost here, and its inaugural roster of participants has been announced.
Organized by creative agency Cult, the debut event — being held from June 12 to 17 — will host participants across a series of curated spaces in Decentraland, Roblox, and Spatial; a one-up on Metaverse Fashion Week (MFW), which last year and this took place only in Decentraland.
Attendees from the global beauty arena include Neutrogena, Lush, and retailer Flannels Beauty. Brands will showcase their latest pioneering activations across multiple metaverse and augmented reality (AR) spaces, as well as in real life at the event, which is being held under the theme ‘Beauty Gets A Makeover.’
“We hope to establish a deep connection for the beauty industry with Web3, demystifying these environments and showing how accessible and beautiful they can be,” Cat Turner, Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of Cult tells Jing Daily.
With high-octane Web3 fashion news having waned, the beauty industry is taking the opportunity to shine.
Its expansion into Web3 could hugely benefit the digital realm as hype stagnates – the global cosmetics market is forecast by Fortune Business Insights to reach $415.29 billion by 2028, up from $277.67 billion in 2020.
Beauty’s Web3 integration
Across the beauty landscape, the metaverse and Web3 are fast evolving from marketing buzzwords to key pillars in brands’ retail strategies.
“Beauty as an industry is primed for innovation and technological advance. Web3 and blockchain technologies offer a range of enhanced benefits for beauty brands, from better CRM (customer relationship management) and improved efficiency to increased transparency,” marketing agency Karla Otto pens in its Web3, The Beauty Opportunity report.
The whitepaper found that Gen Z today spends twice as much time socializing in the metaverse than in real life, and that 83% of consumers globally are interested in making purchases in the metaverse.
With fashion dominating the Web3 spotlight last year, beauty has been quietly investing in tech-based innovations, such as virtual product try-ons and filters, personalized AI services such as shade recommendations, and avatars. These efforts are now gaining recognition.
For example, Dermalogica recently utilized non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and ChatGPT as a way of certifying beauty therapist professionals and upskilling its employees, while Clinique’s dive into augmented reality-based ventures is helping the legacy label outperform its competitors.
Importance of interoperability
As for MBW, the event’s interoperable approach is intended to draw in more Web3 users from across the digital pond, from social gamers in Roblox to tech proponents in Spatial.
Using a series of ‘portals’ to transport users from one world to another, each platform will tap its proprietary technology to deliver a native festival experience.
Unlike MFW, Cult’s Beauty Week includes a real-world component to appeal to less tech-savvy consumers who may not possess the know-how needed to navigate the virtual spaces.
Produced in partnership with Web3 Agency FFFace.Me, the event will unveil a Digital Beauty Exhibition at Flannels’ flagship concept store in London, coined Flannels X, where visitors can interact with AR mirrors and AR filters – which Cult claims will not only retouch and enhance onlookers’ appearance, but also give participants the chance to subvert and distort contemporary beauty norms.
“Subverting beauty standards and being playful, expressive and adventurous are what modern consumers crave from their beauty touch-points. We love to see different versions of ourselves, and Web3 is an extension of that real-world experience,” Turner says.
Testing the water
The absence of top-draw participants like Givenchy Beauty, Nars, and YSL Beauty, which have each forayed into Web3 with their own activations, on Metaverse Beauty Week’s lineup could impact the event’s virality and the level of mass media exposure it generates.
Another challenge the event’s organizers face is delivering an event that meets expectations. They risk disappointing attendees, as Decentraland did when this year’s MFW fell short of expectations for a second year in a row.
Writing in Karla Otto’s report, senior global beauty and digital innovation strategist Unsah Malik puts this down to not prioritizing the event’s technological requirements.
“Most brands had the right idea but were too glued to the hype of entering the metaverse, therefore creating room for error by not focusing on the technological demands required to make such events a success,” she writes.
From this perspective, events like MBW’s should focus less on global success, and organizers should view fledgling iterations as an opportunity to beta-test, gauge the industry’s stage of adoption, and devise ways to improve and move with greater agility through the virtual terrain.
“Our aim here is not to show that beauty needs to be successful in Web3, but more that beauty has a place in the wider Web3 conversation, specifically around portrayals of beauty,” Turner says of MBW.
A global event like Metaverse Beauty Week marks a new stage in beauty’s expansion into Web3, where its less-flashy presence and solutions-based approach set the scene for rapid growth.