Retail in Asia


A cheatsheet: An overview of fashion brands in the Metaverse

Similar to the Internet’s evolution towards Web3, the next chapter for fashion brands will be marked by decentralisation, moving away from traditional sources of authority. Instead, individuals and communities will expect to have greater control over the narrative than ever before.

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Retail companies have recognized the massive cultural shift and digital transformation currently underway, thus engaging in  partnerships with metaverse platforms such as Fortnite and Roblox. In order to  better align with the progression  towards Web3 and increasing demand for ownership, companies are starting to show interest in user-owned, decentralized platforms such as The Sandbox and Decentraland. What differentiates these platforms from the likes of Fortnite and Roblox, is the ownership provided to users and greater value captured from monetizing in-game creations.

For fashion brands in particular, there is a substantial shift in consumer behavior which presents new opportunities. Previously, the digital world of social media was a way for people to express themselves online, but now the next generation wants ways to express their digital selves.

Global spending on virtual goods reached more than USD 100 billion in 2021, with around 30 percent attributed to virtual fashion assets. Astech becomes more accessible, bringing in a broader mainstream audience, digital fashion items will take on more cultural significance over the next decade.

In August 2021, fashion giant Burberry and Blankos Block Party, a multiplayer party game created by Mythical Games, had tremendous success with their collaborative NFT drop. The duo released a total of 2,250 NFTs, which sold out in about 30 seconds for an estimated USD 375,000.

Source: Adidas

Furthermore, Adidas Originals launched the “Into the Metaverse” initiative in December 2021. It debuted with an NFT collection in collaboration with NFT juggernaut Bored Ape Yacht Club, gmoney and PUNKS comic. These NFTs acted as exclusive access passes for virtual experiences, physical collaborative merchandise and virtual wearables for The Sandbox. These NFTs were minted within a matter of hours after launch, recording around USD 22 million in total sales. Since, Adidas has launched phase 2 of their “Into the Metaverse” initiative, and released their own capsule collection earlier this year.

In collaboration with Adidas, Prada also dipped its toes in the metaverse. The two brands invited participants to upload anonymized images which were then available for minting as NFTs. These pieces were then used as part of an artwork created by digital artist Zach Lieberman. Prada further expanded its presence in the metaverse through launching their own Time Capsule NFT collection, backed by real-life gender neutral products and a gifted NFT.

Metaverse platforms are also actively partnering with fashion brands to create unique and innovative experiences. Decentraland hosted their first ever Metaverse Fashion Week in March 2022, showcasing over 60 brands and 500+ looks. The four-day event featured a roster of prominent brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Selfridges, Estee Lauder and Tommy Hilfiger, completely free for anyone to join. Visitors were able to purchase the looks on display as NFTs, dressing their own avatars or selling them on a secondary marketplace.

Source : Tiffany & Co.

One of the first jewelry retailers to enter the metaverse was Tiffany & Co., announcing the launch of the NFTiff collection: 250 customized diamond- encrusted CryptoPunk themed pendant necklaces. Each necklace was sold in the form of an NFT for 30 ETH each. The necklaces were available only to CryptoPunk NFT holders and raked in more than USD 12.5 million in sales.

Louis Vuitton combined fashion and technology by introducing “Louis the Game”, an adventure-style game where players would have to travel through a dollhouse. The adventure features 30 hidden NFTs with 10 NFTs made in collaboration with “Beeple”, one of the most popular NFT artists. By April 2022, the game reached over 2 million downloads.

Amongst other fashion brands, Nike has been notably active in the metaverse space, swiftly aligning itself with needs and expectations of today’s consumers.

Source: Nike

Their first big move was in November 2021, when they launched “Nikeland” on Roblox, a purpose built metaverse land which allows supporters to meet, socialize and participate in brand promotions. Each visitor becomes a custodian of their own piece of land, which they’re free to decorate as they see fit with collectibles including exclusive digital products to dress their avatars.

The land also features a range of mini-games where users can earn additional products and rewards. The items are available across the Roblox game meaning the users that wear Nike branded avatar outfits essentially become digital brand ambassadors throughout the Roblox world. Since launch, Nikeland has recorded over 7 million visits and celebrity appearances from figures such as LeBron James.

Shortly after Nikeland, Nike also acquired RTFKT studios, a virtual shoe company and maker of the “next generation” NFTs. RTFKT studios is also the creator of the famed NFT collection, CloneX. In February 2022, CloneX holders were airdropped a free Mnlth NFT, a Nike x RTFKT themed mystery box. The Mnlth NFTs acted as an access pass to the duo’s very first NFT sneaker collection: CryptoKicks Dunks Genesis.

Italian luxury brand Gucci has been making noise with their digital transformation journey, launching several metaverse initiatives over the years. The company was one of the first fashion brands to invest in virtual domains, building Gucci Garden on Roblox back in 2020.

Source: Gucci

Built for Gen Z consumers, the project featured a French garden where players could explore the digital land and the various themed rooms that paid homage to the brand’s presence over the years. While visiting the rooms, each avatar transformed into blank, genderless mannequins which could then be dressed with virtual Gucci fashion items.

A core section of the digital land is Gucci Vault, a dedicated space for users to browse the brand’s most famous handbags, learn about their history, and how they contributed to the Gucci brand today. Gucci Town also featured a series of mini-games offering item-purchasing rights, a place called Gucci Plaza where users socialize, and a gallery section for visitors to take pictures of their avatar with real-life Gucci models.

As part of Gucci Vault, the luxury fashion house also launched 10KTF Gucci Grail in March 2022. In collaboration with digital accessory shop 10KTF, Gucci created ad hoc digital outfits to dress PFPs from eleven selected NFT collections including Bored Ape, Cool Cats and World of Women. The outfits were designed by Gucci’s Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, and Wagmi-san, the infamous digital artisan.

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Gucci’s journey in the metaverse expanded from centralized platforms to decentralized platforms as they entered The Sandbox Game. In March 2022, Gucci officially announced the purchase of a Sandbox LAND plot to further scale its Gucci Vault initiative and build its very own virtual world on the gaming platform. With their recent announcement of accepting ApeCoin as a payment option, it seems Gucci has plans to further venture into the metaverse and also embrace the use of cryptocurrencies.

Author: Joe Caselin, Head of Marketing, Hex Trust