Over the weekend, it was all about Miami’s annual spectacle of Art Basel. A chance for some of Web3’s most prolific creators to mingle with traditional artists, models, and celebrities alike, the event made its way onto the radar of every major media outlet across the four-day Miami shutdown. Luxury fashion’s involvement was bigger than ever, with some of the industry’s biggest players bringing their brands to life through Web3 activations. Will 2023 be the year we see Art Basel become the world’s hottest fashion destination?
It was a busy week for China too, which welcomed sportswear brand Fila to the country’s digital landscape through a partnership with Tmall Sports. The designer duo behind menswear label Staffonly are also back on the Chinaverse’s radar. After a year of virtual projects for the creatives, including the launch of Staffonly’s Virtual Auction platform, they’re closing 2022 with their biggest endeavor yet: a cross-boundary collaboration with sports giant Puma. May the best player win.
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Revered Artist Alexandre Arrechea Transforms Balmain’s ‘Balmain Villa’ Into Multifaceted Virtual Experience
What Happened: On the heels of unveiling Balmain’s very own metaverse mansion “Villa Balmain” — a digital rendition of Pierre Balmain’s IRL property constructed in the late 50s — during Miami’s Art Basel, Alexandre Arrechea is taking his partnership with the luxury house one step further. The artist-slash-architect has created four special masks inspired by Villa Balmain’s honeycombs as an extension of the project. The masks, developed as digital animations, arrive with their physical mask counterparts made from Swarovski Crystals and Crystal Pearls, available for $95,000 (662,400 RMB).
The Verdict: Balmain is slowly but surely curating a strong brand presence in the virtual world, and its latest project demonstrates the power of collaborating with artists in the space — particularly by bringing new creative perspectives and voices into the metaverse. Though the digital masks boast a hefty price tag, its previous collaborations with the likes of Need For Speed and Barbie fell at a more reasonable price point, highlighting how the house is honing in on making its Web3 roadmap accessible to all.
Charli Cohen Launches RSTLSS, A Metaverse Platform For Digital Fashion Creatives
What Happened: Designer Charli Cohen has launched an innovative, digital-first fashion platform that is built for and by its community. An expansion of her existing eponymous brand, influencers and artists will be able to create and sell their multiverse fashion visions. To celebrate the launch of RSTLSS, the platform has released its first-ever drop with a digital jacket that unlocks the “key” to the experience. The virtual garment, created in collaboration with ten selected artists, can be customized. Owners may also use their RSTLSS creations as “designer skins” across the gaming industry, as well as later being able to redeem a physical, custom one-of-one garment.
The Verdict: Extending her eponymous label into the Web3 space makes complete sense for Cohen, who has built a career on pioneering ideas and encouraging innovation in fashion. With accessibility and creative freedom as key themes, RSTLSS will no doubt resonate with the digital community. It may also encourage the traditional fashion cohort into the world of online fashion, extending Cohen’s creative vision across the physical world and multiple virtual realms.
Puma Looks To Chinese Menswear Label Staffonly For New Web3 Campaign
What Happened: Sportswear leader and Web3 pioneer Puma is tapping the Chinaverse for its next virtual initiative. On December 3, the brand collaborated with local favorite Staffonly on a new collection, which brought a selection of digital sneakers to life. Inspired by the concept of the “unknown,” the drop focused on futuristic design and the possibilities of virtual reality. The three types of shoe for sale were divided into layers: Wireless, X-Ray, and Metal Fuzz, each containing its own unique qualities. Avant-garde design was a theme that ran throughout the collaboration, expanding both labels’ creative visions to new avenues.
The Verdict: Staffonly, a company most recognized for its menswear, isn’t new to the virtual landscape. In fact, this drop is only one part of an already existing roadmap for the brand. Earlier this year the designer duo launched the dedicated virtual platform, Staffonly Auction. But this latest collab is set to introduce the line to a wider global market, plucking it from the Chinaverse and into the mainstream Web3 realm.
With Its Latest Project, Can Fila Crack The Chinaverse Through Tmall Sports?
What Happened: Finally, Tmall Sports has teamed up with sportswear label Fila on a co-branded digital collectibles release to celebrate the joy of tennis. Announced via Weibo on November 29, the limited-edition project features a selection of ape-inspired collectibles, plus an interactive event space where users can enter a draw for both a free digital collectible and a physical gift from the brand.
The Verdict: Fila has spent the past year regaining cultural relevance. Following its collaborations with Hader Ackermann in November and most recently Michael Kors, the lifestyle brand is now moving into China’s virtual landscape with its latest campaign. After a strong year of growth across the mainland — in 2021, the label reached a record high revenue of $3.37 billion (21.82 billion RMB) — will the drop also help Fila consolidate a strong, leading presence in the Chinaverse?