If you think nail art is dead, you are very, very wrong. In fact, the world of next-level manis is just getting started–it's called augmented reality nail art.
Australian artist, inventor and entrepreneur Thea Baumann created Metaverse Nails, a virtual reality set of press-ons that create 3D holographic designs when you use an app in conjunction with their nail sets. Think of it like this: You walk into a room and people think you're just wearing leopard print tips, but a quick scan over your digits with the iPhone app shows a whole other, multidimensional side to your nail art. Basically, it's like showing off GIFs and digital art on your nails in real life.
This is huge for so many reasons, y'all. Right now, fashion only exists in what we typically see–fabric and shape–but Baumann created 100% original holograms you can actually wear. Typically, the digital version of ourselves exists on a different platform than our real life selves, but what if we were finally able to combine the two and express both versions at the same time through our nails, clothing and makeup? Baumann created the parent company, Metaverse Makeovers, to do just that. She wanted to "bring hot holograms to the world and into the hands of a mobile generation."
After spending a lot of time in nail bars, gaming parlors, and cybermarkets in Asia watching how young women use mobile technology to express themselves on social media and "fashioning up" their phones with sparkly accessories, Baumann wanted to connect all those elements together for the first time ever in one product. "We wanted to make glam tech really happen," she said. "We started experimenting with new augmented reality and virtual reality technologies by designing fashion accessories and 3D augmented reality apps that would interact with each other."
So, how does it work? Well, the iOS or Android app on your phone scans the fashion patterns on the press-on nails (for example, this kawaii princess set), and it triggers the 3D holograms to pop. From there, you can share your digital nail art creation on social networks for all to see. Pretty sweet, eh?
Not only is the product itself blowing people away, but Baumann is proud that Metaverse Nails' customer base is geared toward "digital babes with brains." She wants to "be known as the company that encourages young women to feel confident with our glam tech. We want to be the hologram brand that digital babes look to–to express their online and IRL identities."
Baumann has spent more than two years perfecting Metaverse Nails, and it didn't come easy. To create to her team (which, BTW, consists of mostly women), she looked for "deeply creative interdisciplinary out-of-the box thinkers and artists as engineers." She said her crew spends the majority of their time in China where the "digital landscape changes at hyper-accelerated speed. The challenge is pulling together a team with the resilience, fearlessness, and ingenuity to navigate the many unknowns. Something that would have seemed an impossibility to imagine and experience two years ago is now sparkling away in your hands and on your phone. The possibilities are endless."
She draws inspiration from anime, street culture in Asia, and '80s cyberpunk films, where all the characters would wear wired-up fashions and gadgets in their sci-fi world. "For me, I always wanted these gadgets and style to be part of this time now, so that's been an initial point of inspiration for our product designs."
If nails aren't your thing, Baumann is already working on a full collection of patterned garments, makeup and other mobile tech accessories that work with their app. They're also working on letting users create their own hologram messages directly from their designs.
So, what's the secret to starting your own out-of-the-box fashion tech company? Baumann said, "Be fearless and just take the first step. Work with collaborators who have your back and are willing to do hard time with you–in the trenches and at the front line. Find yourself wise mentors who’ve been there to spotlight the way ahead."
We think that's fantastic advice, and if you want to give Metaverse Nails a spin for yourself, swipe up a set from their website right this second!