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In Milan, fashion innovators design the future of the metaverse

“The future. What does it hold for the fashion and luxury industry?” Such were the words that violet-haired avatar Lily used to welcome guests to the first Metaverse X Luxury Symposium. Hosted in the UniCredit tower, the event was powered by Limitless Innovation (Dubai) and Metaverse Fashion Council (Los Angeles headquarters) as the launch of the Italian edition of an international format connecting top fashion, lifestyle and design brands with global web 3.0 innovators.

At the first Metaverse X Luxury Symposium in Milan, Istituto Marangoni's Managing Director Stefania Valenti presented the school's metaverse, called The Talent District

At the first Metaverse X Luxury Symposium in Milan, Istituto Marangoni's Managing Director Stefania Valenti presented the school's metaverse, The Talent District

“In ancient Greek, Symposium means to bring together,” stated Stefano Galassi, founder of Limitless Innovation, as he introduced Metaverse X Luxury Symposium. “Today, we will seek to discuss, rethink and design a future for the entire sector globally. Luxury and the metaverse may still sound like two distant concepts, but we have now united these two worlds with a line-up of international tech entrepreneurs and creative visionaries as speakers. While luxury is about excellence and fashion is about culture, the metaverse can join both universes.”

If you wondered why Galassi brought his vision from Dubai, the city of the future where he lives, to Milan, the city of fashion, the answer is quite simple. “A great percentage of the world’s luxury goods are made in Italy,” said the founder of Limitless Innovation, who now sees Milan as the capital of fashion innovation. “On the one hand, brands need to preserve their core values, their DNA and Italian quality, but on the other hand, there is a pressing demand to balance this with technology to unlock new possibilities for customers and the industry, to make it even more sustainable.”

Attended by executives from the luxury and technology system, the Metaverse X Luxury Symposium welcomed a selection of international scale-ups such as DressX, The Fabricant and Threedium, with speakers bringing their vision in a TED Talk-like format. Innovators from top global organisations also took the stage, from leading global Web3 accelerator Outlier Ventures to Chalhoub Dubai, the biggest luxury group in the Middle East.

With the launch of The Talent District, Istituto Marangoni has established itself as a metaverse education pioneer

With the launch of The Talent District, Istituto Marangoni has established itself as the first school to enter the metaverse

It is no coincidence that Stefania Valenti, Managing Director of Istituto Marangoni, was asked to join the conversation. By pushing students to explore new horizons, the school of fashion, design and art has established itself as a metaverse education pioneer. This was made clear with the launch of The Talent District as a virtual platform for showcasing events, collaborative projects and student work. Breaking new ground in meta-fashion, Istituto Marangoni’s metaverse now combines interactive experience, Web3 technology, digital language, and students’ international creativity worldwide.

Istituto Marangoni's metaverse, The Talent District

Istituto Marangoni's metaverse, The Talent District

With the “best tech minds in fashion” and “brands that really have a fast-forward thinker’s vision of the industry” sitting together, Stefano Rosso could not miss out on this debate. At the Metaverse X Luxury Symposium, he spoke about his work as a board member of Otb Group and the Aura Blockchain Consortium, besides focusing on his role as founder and CEO of D-Cave. As CEO of BVX (Brave Virtual Xperience), Rosso then discussed OTB’s business unit that develops products, content and experiences for the metaverse. 

In such an all-star landscape of change-makers, Marco Formento and Davide Sgherri, respectively Global Innovation & ESG Director and Head of New Media at Dolce&Gabbana, brilliantly represented the trailblazers of Italian luxury innovation with an eye on building a future digital ecosystem. Among the big names attending the first Metaverse Fashion Week on the Decentraland platform, the brand helmed by designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana also created the virtual community #DGFamily, whose members have benefits in both the metaverse and the physical world. “We are in the midst of a cultural shift, impacting business, communication, and product,” said Davide Sgherri.

The school’s physical runways are not the only content to show on the Istituto Marangoni metaverse

The school’s physical runways are not the only content to show on the Istituto Marangoni metaverse

With its 10 schools worldwide and 6,000 students, Istituto Marangoni drove the cultural change, becoming the first school to enter the metaverse. 

“We have an important responsibility in the luxury market to create new managers and talent in fashion and design. And we are also proud because this is an Italian excellence that we export worldwide,” said Istituto Marangoni’s Managing Director Stefania Valenti. “Some of you may ask: what does it mean to learn how to prepare the new generation, and how can we implement our learning journey? We realised that the best way is to create a space for our students to start experimenting. This means for them to create a new collection with new tools but also to embed the traditional way of promoting a fashion show in the digital space.”

Creating a customised experience, Istituto Marangoni launched its metaverse, The Talent District, by developing areas where students can be the real stars of this new immersive space. The school’s physical runways are not the only content to show on the Istituto Marangoni metaverse (although these events will be increasingly connected to the digital sphere, promoting interaction between real and virtual worlds). Works by IM talents also find space on this platform.

The futuristic Exhibition Pavilion in The Talent District

The futuristic Exhibition Pavilion in The Talent District

For instance, when wandering around the futuristic Exhibition Pavilion in The Talent District, you can experience hyper-technological rooms where design, fashion or art take centre stage. You can meet the students’ avatars presenting their best projects there, created with Igoodi, the first Italian company specialising in photorealistic avatars of real people to reflect the search for authentic beauty even in the new metaverse spaces. The Talent District platform was developed in partnership with Monogrid, a Florence-based digital interactive agency of the highest technological level.

Istituto Marangoni Visual Design student Manami Galliker’s Hana is a virtual game that helps users' mental health

Istituto Marangoni Visual Design student Manami Galliker’s Hana is a virtual game that helps users' mental health by offering them different ways to relax

Valenti then referred to Visual Design student Manami Galliker’s Hana, a virtual game that allows users to build their own garden, meditate or listen to soft music. By welcoming visitors into a digital world, Galliker’s app helps their mental health through different ways to relax. “During Covid, this student created a kind of metaverse that works as a digital land where you can relax your mind and refresh your thoughts. As you can see, this happened some time ago,” said Stefania Valenti. “This means that our students already have the mindset for the metaverse in their 16 to 18-20 years. They know better than we do how to implement the tools and the possibilities for them to use this new language to create concrete transformation in the creative field.”

Make no mistake. As Istituto Marangoni’s Managing Director explained, if you are a designer, you still have to know how to draw a collection. Still, you should also acquire the expertise to create a collection to showcase in the metaverse. “When you join a company, these skills will make you the talent that can best support the brand to create the cultural transformation they need,” said Valenti. “The talents are the key element in this transformation.”

Istituto Marangoni combines traditional creativity and craftsmanship with digital tools for developing, styling or promoting a collection

Istituto Marangoni combines traditional creativity and craftsmanship with digital tools for developing, styling or promoting a collection

After explaining how Istituto Marangoni combines traditional creativity and craftsmanship with digital tools for developing, styling or promoting a collection – as they did with their latest fashion shows at the Shanghai and Dubai schools – Stefania Valenti concluded: “I always say that the Istituto Marangoni metaverse is open to all brands interested in experimenting with us. Our mutual desire is to find the best way to move forward. So, we welcome you to our metaverse with our teachers and students.”

 

 

Margherita Malaguti
Alumna. Editor
School
MILANO DESIGN
Course
Programme
postgraduate-Master's Degrees • Master's Courses