Tone deaf, dead? Start! The brand formerly known as Facebook has had its share of controversy over the years. Perhaps trying to distance herself from that was partly the reason for her name change. But she doesn’t seem to have learned her lesson.
A tweet was posted to announce the launch of the Avatar Store on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and the first products on sale will be virtual clothes from Prada, Balenciaga and Thom Browne. Yes, Meta’s contribution to helping people through the current cost of living crisis seems to be to ensure that if you can no longer afford Prada in real life, you can at least embellish your avatar in designer threads in the metaverse. Suffice to say, the internet has decry the idea outright (Need to keep up with what’s going on with web3? What is metaverse? Instructs).
The Meta tweet shows CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram Fashion Partnerships Director Eva Chen in outings that include a hoodie and ripped jeans, what appear to be motocross outfits and school uniform-like suits (yes, it does seem a little ironic that ‘The Zuck’, so well known With the outstanding practicality and simplicity of his realistic wardrobe, he’ll wear his avatar in a Thom Browne suit).
Meta says Facebook, Instagram and Messenger users will soon be able to purchase digital clothing for their avatar using real money and more brands will follow. However, disclosure was decidedly low, and Meta has not provided any details on when exactly the Avatar Store will launch or how users will access it.
We can only assume that the cost of virtual clothes is lower than the cost of real clothes. Chen said on Instagram, where she also showed off another look featuring a cropped top and low-rise jeans on the “Avatar Fashion Show livestream.”
But Meta didn’t seem to think that amid rising inflation, users might not be in the mood for such petty extravagance. One person replied to the company’s tweet about the launch: “Who ordered this? We’re struggling to pay for the necessities right now.”
Another person said, “People can’t buy food, gas, and clothes, but Facebook wants to sell you virtual clothes.” Another commented, “If only Meta could give Zuckerberg some digital vibes.”
Aside from questionable timing, others have leveled criticism at the technology and design concept itself. Meta is trying to position itself at the forefront of Web3 with new virtual experiences, but many people see 3D avatars as a cool thing in the year 2000, the status of “The Emperor Wears NFTs”.
“Literally the lame ever,” one person said. “Everyone has been tired of this 15 years ago with a Nintendo Mii.” “Why does this remind me of PC Monopoly?” asked someone else. Another opinion was “I love it how you try to be like Bitmoji…Unfortunately there is nothing real about your avatar”.
Need a new fit for your avatar? We’re launching the Avatars Store on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so you can buy digital clothes. Mark Zuckerberg and @evachen212 try a new look from BALENCIAGAPradaThomBrowne ✨ https://t.co/7SN0hdYz2D pic.twitter.com/Bp9zeK2ZNlJune 17, 2022
So far, it looks like Meta has scored an own goal with this one (yes, another). The concept also seems to belie one of the designer’s price defenses, namely quality.
Sure, we all know that the main purpose of designer clothes is to be a status symbol, but with material items, there’s always been an argument that a designer’s name is a guarantee of quality yarn that will last more than a few washes. This differentiation is difficult to achieve when the article is poorly rendered on a 3D avatar. But let’s judge and see how the launch will go – in the end, you can Smell Metaverse Now, it seems.