The digital disruption of luxury retail has long proven itself as a formidable force for the future of the metaverse. The nascent phases of a virtual reality unfolding before us were spotted in the rise of digital fashion houses such as The Fabricant and Auroboros that imaginatively leaned into the creation of outer-worldly garments for the blockchain marketplace. For such digital-only houses, their outlook on couture had already been envisioned for a virtual future and were coded as ready-to-wear collections that you (or your avatars) could immediately wear in the metaverse.
But what of the luxury houses that have long reigned in the fashion industry? The past few years have witnessed a marked shift in their virtual business models, some proving to be more experimental than others. The pandemic saw Demna lead Balenciaga into hosting a virtual reality runway show for their fall/winter 2021 collection alongside the industry’s first video game drop titled Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow. And other maisons—think Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada—have since followed suit with a tangential inception into the gaming world; a concomitant venture considering how video games have long set the pretext for what our virtual future might look like.
But fast-forward to the penultimate month of 2022 and the fashion world seems to bring with it a clear stand on the metaverse: a creative tool and space, yet to be fully realised to its maximum potential. Environmental activists harbour high hopes for its easy alignment with sustainability and deep in the virtual verse there has been ample positive reception for the way it opens doors to innovative collaborations in the industry. As of late, Rimowa has launched luggage NFTs with RTFKT and Burberry has a capsule phygital collection with Minecraft. Below, glean a recent update of how the fashion metaverse is doing as more and more creative initiatives emerge onto the virtual scape.
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Burberry creates capsule collection for Minecraft
Taking its commitment to the gaming world further is Burberry. After their previous game partnerships with Blankos Block and e-sports company Gen.G, the house’s latest venture sees a collaboration with popular video game Minecraft—to launch an in-game adventure titled Burberry: Freedom To Go Beyond. Adapting the pixelated, blocky visuals of the iconic game, avatars will be able to gain access to 15 free skins available for all to download; some exemplifying the codes of the house whilst others leaning into the motifs of the game instead. All blurring the lines between the animated digital landscape and the real world, as one explores the four new domains dreamed up as part of the joint collaboration. As for the physical Burberry stores, scenes from the game will line the walls, amping up the phygital experience on all accounts.
Explore the Burberry x Minecraft capsule collection here.
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Rimowa launches luggage NFTs with RTFKT
Together with creator-led platform RTFKT, Rimowa has launched a new collection for the metaverse: a limited-edition series of NFTs that can be forged to redeem physical suitcases with clear cyberpunk influences that blend our digital and physical realities together. Crypto enthusiasts have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an interactive challenge dedicated to recovering a hacked Rimowa x RTFKT Space Station in order to mint their limited edition NFTs—which would be a necessary step to take before one could actually forge the asset. Other than the phygital versions of the suitcase, one could also gain access to the WorkerBots borne from their collaboration as well.
Find out more about Rimowa x RTFKT here.
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Polo Ralph Lauren collaborates with Fortnite
Seems like phygital is all the rage—with Polo Ralph Lauren also jumping on the two-part release format of their exclusive collection. Gaming success Fortnite is their battlefield of choice and the collaboration drop welcomes a thorough line-up of physical and digital wearables, albeit with significant differences in design. Whilst the former consists of a unisex polo shirt and a cap—both debuting a reimagined logo—the latter sees a bevy of pieces inspired after the brand’s 1992 Stadium line. Leaning fully into the game mechanics, players will also be able participate in the The Polo Stadium Cup in-game to try and win the items from the digital collection.
Discover Polo Ralph Lauren x Fortnite here.
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Exclusive digital collectibles available at Gucci Vault on The Sandbox
Embracing the maximalist codes of the house, Gucci first made its entrance onto the metaverse after purchasing a virtual plot of land in the mobile game earlier this year, with the promise of releasing rare vintage pieces and designer items via Gucci Vault Land. As part of the luxurious experience that the Gucci Vault hopes to provide to its in-game community, a private session that spans across two weeks has been enabled on The Sandbox. Since the end of October, members have been able to complete various quests to earn themselves a wondrous series of newly released digital collectibles—from a giant chessboard to wearable accessories. To raise the stakes, members of the community with a Gucci Vault NFT in their crypto wallets will automatically gain access to a wearable Gucci Vault Aura collectible, meant for their avatars.
Explore Gucci Vault here.