3 Questions for Violaine Gressier
Global Luxury Industry Manager for Meta Platform

As the Global Luxury Industry Manager for Meta Platform, Violaine Gressier is responsible for its luxury hub development. The metaverse is one of her tools, and she analyses this virtual world for us and shares how fashion brands can integrate it into their growth strategies. 

What is the metaverse? 

For Meta, the metaverse is a 3D virtual social space where people can share immersive experiences, even if they can’t be together physically. They can also do things together that wouldn’t be possible in the real world. The metaverse eliminates ideas about physical distance or presence, letting people who are physically separated meet in a virtual reality. The metaverse has several areas of application: entertainment, of course, but also professional, educational and training. As we know, the COVID pandemic accelerated digitalisation for business and other uses, which explains this heightened interest in the metaverse. Looking back, we realise that the digital revolutions were tied to the arrival of internet and then to mobile broadband. The next decade will be about the metaverse. We’re building this at Meta, and we think we’re looking at between five and 10 years of work. 

What place do brands have in the metaverse? 

For brands’ growth strategies, the metaverse is central. The first building block is augmented reality. Testing products in augmented reality already exists. After Virtual Try On for makeup, our teams are now working on developing other functions like Body Try On. At Meta, developments in this area are large scale. We see that digital rendering is increasingly precise, and we truly believe in this technology. It’s a great way to encourage people to discover products and to stimulate a new way to buy fashion remotely. 

The gaming world is also an important source of inspiration. For example, there’s the collaboration between Balenciaga and Fortnite, and it’s particularly interesting how the house relooked the characters and integrated a Balenciaga boutique into the game. We also see that the creation of avatars can open up new markets. Some players spend a lot of money for clothes for their avatars. We can already imagine virtual stores with trained sales staff to orient avatars towards the purchase of an it bag. Today fashion brands know they shouldn’t be satisfied with designing and manufacturing – they also have to be storytellers. The metaverse is a tool that’s very adapted to this. And since the future customers for these brands are totally connected, the metaverse is a way to reach them through their interests. 

What are the first steps in setting up a development strategy for the metaverse? 

The first step is understanding how to engage communities digitally. To do that, you have to invest in live shopping events and create augmented reality filters on Instagram to tell stories and suggest interactions and events. Brands can also develop their presence by using our message platforms to be sure that their communities already have a shared digital space where they can communicate. So there are numerous possibilities that make it possible to develop the use of augmented reality and have a strong impact on a brand’s audience. Next you have to keep your eye on the new game platforms and stay tuned in to all the excitement about the metaverse. But, as I said, it’s also a long-term vision. Everything will happen in the next five to 10 years.