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When Samuel Jordan, 22, from Florida, started designing virtual props for Roblox three years ago, it was just a hobby – he had always enjoyed designing games and characters as a teenager . But as demand for her intricate virtual earrings, headpieces, hats and garments grew, Jordan turned digital design into a thriving virtual fashion business. Cut to 2022 and he’s one of Roblox’s top sellers, selling 24 million units to date, racking up $1 million in sales for 2021, and working with brands like Stella McCartney and Forever 21 to help them enter the web3.
A similar success story is Mishi McDuff, a US-based digital fashion designer who founded her virtual fashion house Blueberry eight years ago after online users took notice of the virtual outfits she was making for herself. -even in the Second Life metaverse. In response, McDuff began creating parts for various platforms, including Roblox. “The first year I did it as a hobby, I made about $60,000. So I went full-time to Blueberry, and the next year we made a million dollars. Mishi focuses on his own designs but has collaborated with luxury label Jonathan Simkhai on a collection for Metaverse Fashion Week.
Blueberry sales plateaued for several years after its launch, with revenue flat at around $1 million a year, McDuff says. Now, as user-generated content platforms such as Roblox have become more common, it has become much easier to monetize digital fashion. Blueberry is expected to hit $1.8 million in sales this year as the company designs game modes across multiple titles, including Roblox, Fortnite, and Spatial.
The number of gamers worldwide is expected to exceed three billion in 2022, representing more than a third of the world’s population, according to market research firm Emarketer. As interest in fashion grows through games, digital fashion houses are poised to expand through the unique looks they create for people’s avatars.
One such startup is Republiqe, a UK-based digital fashion house that designs its own virtual collections for fashion brands such as Coach, Adidas, Axel Arigato and Ester Manas to help them get into the games, NFTs and Web3. Before launching his virtual fashion house, Republiqe founder James Gaubert had a career as a stylist and designer, working with Bulgari and Louis Vuitton. He transitioned to virtual design after spending time in Southeast Asia where he witnessed the environmental and social impact of physical fashion manufacturing, while simultaneously watching his teenage son glued to games like Fortnite.