Adidas x Bape rewrite the streetwear playbook. Plus, the Met brings art history to Roblox

Rewriting the rules of fashion’s playbook is a risk that few dare to take. But when you’re a player as big as Adidas, it’s easy work. This week, the sportswear behemoth ripped up the sneaker drop blueprint in favor of a new non-fungible token (NFT) powered auction format, as it continues to march to the beat of its own drum in Web3. 

In other news, Lululemon is the latest label to harness the cultural clout of virtual storefronts. The athleisure titan teamed up with virtual retail platform Emperia for the launch, a company whose brand partnership roster is expanding rapidly. As immersive shopping experiences continue to gain traction, the next era of retail looks to be rooted in interaction, gamification, and personalization.

Adidas reaffirmed its status in Web3 this week after introducing a new NFT-powered auction format to the streetwear scene. Photo: Adidas

Adidas joins hands with Bape for new digital-asset powered sneaker auction

What Happened: Adidas reaffirmed its legacy as the original collaborator in streetwear this week, tapping Japanese cult-favorite Bape to launch the highly limited “Forum 84 Bape Low Triple-White” sneaker.

On August 22, streetwear enthusiasts won’t be required to line the streets or eagerly refresh websites to get the design. Instead, the launch will be held in the format of an NFT-powered auction, an industry first for all parties involved. 

As part of Adidas’ Three Stripes Studio and in partnership with MoonPay, 100 NFTs will be up for grabs via the auction — which is open to everyone through Adidas Connect — until August 25. 

The 100 winning bidders for the “Adidas Originals x Bape Fresh Forum Access Pass NFT” will be able to redeem the token for a complementary physical pair of shoes via Adidas Collect on September 26. Alongside Bape’s iconography, the IRL twin will also feature its own NFC chip embedded in the left tongue, unlocking access to an exclusive digital certificate of authenticity.

The Verdict: In the offline space, Adidas’ latest tie-up is creating noise among streetwear aficionados. In Web3, the response has been thunderous. 

The two partners have been applauded for ushering in a new approach to sneaker drops (one of the most prolific and problematic models of streetwear) and setting the benchmark for future product releases. 

Moreover, Adidas’ implementation of digital assets has NFT proponents singing their praises, as the brand explores new use cases for digital assets that deviate from the market’s turbulent past. As labels struggle to generate token appeal, Adidas may have just cracked the code of achieving mass adoption.  

Lululemon joined forces with virtual store developer Emperia to celebrate the launch of its new sneaker design. Photo: Emperia

Lululemon taps the three-dimensional virtual store craze to promote its ‘Chargefeel 2’ sneaker drop

What Happened: Athleisure brand and yoga apparel favorite Lululemon is capitalizing on the virtual retail wave. The Canadian sports giant leapt into immersive e-commerce last week after teaming up with digital store platform Emperia on a new virtual shopping experience. 

Inspired by its new running shoe release, the activation invites customers to engage with virtual try-ons (VTO) and interactive workouts, as well as new product lines.

The Verdict: Three-dimensional virtual stores are stirring up conversation on the future of omnichannel retail. According to Forbes Advisor, by 2026, 24 percent of retail purchases are expected to take place online. 

For brands looking to capitalize on this uptick of netizen spenders, relying on e-commerce’s existing, run-of-the-mill framework won’t cut it. Immersive solutions like interactive shopping destinations are already resonating with audiences, with Acxiom’s “Beyond the Metaverse: CX Predictions for 2023″ research stating that 67 percent of consumers are excited about how 3D modeling can augment their shopping experience.

Roblox’s Gen-Z audience base will be able to interact with some of most esteemed artifacts from the Met’s collection. Photo: Roblox

The Met jumps into the Roblox goldmine to explore new realms of art education

What Happened: As one of the most iconic museums worldwide, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has taken its cultural prowess to the metaverse in partnership with Roblox. 

Using a newly launched, quest-based AR app dubbed Replica, users can navigate their Roblox avatars to explore 37 objects from the Met’s collection, including Egyptian Pharaoh masks, Van Gogh’s straw hat, Hatshepsut’s regal headcloth, and the Ming dynasty “Vase With Rabbits,” which they can collect and wear. 

The Verdict: The tie-up is set to introduce the Met’s extensive offering of artifacts and global relics to younger generations across the globe, ushering in a new form of art education. It will also strip away the geographical limitations of exhibitions to help Gen Z engage with art and history in an original and accessible way. 

As for Roblox, the channel has already set the standard when it comes to youth-driven, virtual community hubs. But tie-ups like this take Roblox from being just a popular port of call for socialization, to a place where gaming natives can expand their cultural knowledge and broaden their intellect.


Jing Meta