#RICE23 Chair Announcement: Cathy Hackl Added as Metaverse and Next-Gen Fashion & Retail Chair - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

#RICE23 Chair Announcement: Cathy Hackl Added as Metaverse and Next-Gen Fashion & Retail Chair

“The world’s next Coco Chanel is probably a 10-year-old girl currently designing avatar skins in Roblox.”

That, friends, represents the power of the metaverse. And this thought-provoking statement is just a small sampling of the mic-dropping moments Cathy Hackl shared during her keynote at the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo last May.

She took the stage at a time when the metaverse was cropping up more and more. But there seemed to be more questions than answers, especially in the retail industry… 

What is the metaverse, really? Is it a place, a thing, a concept?

Who really cares about the metaverse?

How will the metaverse shape the future of interpersonal communication and brand interaction?

Could metaverse initiatives lead to tangible revenue-based outcomes?

Is connected fashion and retail the future?

Cathy helped answer these, and more, questions during her presentation. And while there will always be skeptics, she inspired many in the audience, helping unlock new opportunities for creative expression and community building. Most of all, her session got them thinking about the possibilities for their brands; something we always strive for when we develop our session topics and select speakers.

As the Founder and Chief Metaverse Officer of Journey, Cathy is no stranger to debunking metaverse misconceptions, responding to the nay-sayers and helping brand leaders push creative limits. She is a globally recognized metaverse executive (aptly known by many in the tech industry as the Godmother of the Metaverse) and tech futurist who has worked with HTC VIVE, Magic Leap and AWS. She leads Journey’s Metaverse Studio helping brands with metaverse and Web3 strategies, NFTs, gaming, and virtual couture. Her tactical foresight has been the secret to many retail brands’ successes in entering the metaverse as Hackl is the strategist behind some of today’s biggest industry headlines. 

And now, she’s partnering with the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo team once again. This time, as Metaverse and Next-Gen Fashion & Retail Chair.

What does this mean for us? We’ll get to tap Cathy’s incredible perspectives as we put the finishing touches on our 2023 agenda and begin to frame our strategy for the next year. We also will have the honor of collaborating with her on a lot of great content around the state and future of Web3 in retail. After all, she has some incredible experience under her belt that will only help us ensure we’re covering this evolving space in the best, most relevant way for our retail executive attendees.  

Cathy has been at the forefront of headline-making initiatives, including Walmart’s foray into Roblox (with Walmart Land and Universe of Play) and Clinique’s community-activating NFT initiative. She produced Electric Fest, a virtual concert in Walmart Land. She styled Kane Brown, Madison Beer, and Yungblud in virtual couture looks for the festival. She also was the chairwoman of the inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week and is the host of Adweek’s award-winning Metaverse Marketing podcast. Many consider her a fashion tech tastemaker and one of the most influential figures in the future of fashion.

Exploring the Future of the Metaverse and Digital Fashion

In her role as chairwoman, Cathy also will take the stage again at #RICE23 — this time as a panelist during the D2 Summit: Retail Edition, taking place on Tuesday, June 13. She will be doing a book signing of her newest book, Into The Metaverse: The Essential Guide to the Business Opportunities of the Web3 Era, and will have plenty of learnings to bring to the table as part of the opening remarks on June 14. 

As a reminder, the D2 Summit is a day-long conference dedicated to all things Web3 in retail, including NFTs, gaming and other immersive experiences in the metaverse. The goal is to have an in-depth program that digs into different case studies so attendees can not only get inspired by real-life campaigns and applications, but also understand the process brands have gone through to get their initiatives off the ground. Sessions will offer perspectives on everything from strategy development, to team building, executive buy-in, partnerships and more.

So, it’s pretty obvious why we didn’t just want but need Cathy involved in the D2 Summit. She has been a passionate advocate for the metaverse, as well as a builder, and has offered business leaders tangible ideas and best practices that they can apply, especially in the retail and fashion industries. 

Hackl doesn’t just advise brands, she’s a creator too. Recently, she announced that she’s bringing her involvement in the Web3 world to completely new heights with the launch of VerseLuxe, a luxury tech label and lab created to “explore the future of fashion and luxury.” For the label’s first capsule collection, Frillz, she worked with Web3 jewelry designer Simone Faurschou. Frillz is a connected jewelry collection where owners can wear and easily access and scan their jewelry, helping merge the physical nature of the jewelry so it becomes both a tangible and virtual asset. In essence, putting the physical jewelry on chain. Hackl will demo Frillz at RICE this year. 

VerseLuxe is not only a creation engine for Hackl but also a test bed for luxury innovation centered around connected fashion, virtual couture, AI design, and frontier materials exploration, allowing her to garner unique knowledge that she can bring back to her clients at Journey. 

According to an announcement made on Cathy’s site, she and Simone “had to figure out how to fuse metal with technology to create something unique, luxurious, and beautiful for a discerning tech-forward customer that wants to explore merging the physical with the virtual.” (If you want to learn more, check out Vogue Business!)

We’re so excited to have Cathy in our corner and can’t wait to share all the incredible work we’re doing together! To see her on-stage, be sure to register for an All-Access Pass to the 2023 Retail Innovation Conference & Expo, taking place June 13-15, 2023 at McCormick Place.

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