Barbie’s AI makeover, plus Nars puts NFTs back on the beauty map: Web3 drops of the week

Barbie can be anything. She can be the president, an astronaut, a chief sustainability officer and, now, a member of London’s queer nightlife scene. It’s all thanks to the Institute of Digital Fashion, which, in tandem with Barbie’s appearance on the big screen last weekend, has reimagined the doll to celebrate the rich culture of the club nights in London’s queer community.

In other news from this week, Nars’ Orgasm product range has withstood the test of time since the 1990s. Whereas other contenders dropped off as the beauty industry expanded — ushering in new trends such as “clean beauty” and “glam grunge” with it — no product has succeeded in knocking the peachy-pink infusion off its cosmetics throne. Now, Nars is taking its legendary hero line into the metaverse, in the form of female-focused NFT artworks and augmented-reality (AR) filters. Read on below for our verdict on the project.

The Institute of Digital Fashion brought Barbie to the metaverse this week. Photo: IoDF

The Institute of Digital Fashion taps artificial intelligence to celebrate Barbie and London’s queer club scene

What Happened: The Institute of Digital Fashion has launched a new campaign for, and inspired by, London’s queer nightlife crowd. Arriving in the form of a timely Barbie doll, just ahead of the blockbuster’s big release last weekend, the digital fashion marketplace dropped six doll designs that each represent one of London’s most iconic queer club nights.

The ‘These Barbies Are Queer’ campaign, created using artificial intelligence (AI), strips the toys of their trademark fuschia garments, instead taking on the city’s cultural codes of subversive androgynous fashion, vibrant colors, and latex.

The Verdict: Pushing for a more diverse, inclusive, and representative industry, IoDF have never been one to shy away from an attention-grabbing project that harnesses cutting-edge technology. This time, the think tank tapped into the current cultural phenomenon of the Barbie IP to ignite a conversation.

IoDF wasn’t the first to merge the toy with AI. Last month, Buzzfeed published its own list of AI-generated, “culturally diverse” Barbies (that was later slammed for inaccuracies), while Architectural Digest appointed some of the globe’s top architects to reimagine the doll’s Dreamhouse through AI.

Web3 vintage fashion label Mntge launched its new NFC-connected collection on July 27. Photo: Mntge

Mntge launches NFC-connected patchwork collection in collaboration with 11 contemporary art creatives

What Happened: Blockchain-based vintage fashion label Mntge launched its latest project, Mntge Patchwork, on July 27. The drop included a limited-edition series of digital and NFC-chipped physical patches, each custom designed by one of 11 visionaries in the contemporary art world.

Alongside the patches, holders will also received a Mntge concert poster designed by Globe, a Baltimore-based company known for being one of the pioneers of classic handmade concert posters. The collection dropped via OpenSea, priced at .07ETH (approx $133 at the time of writing).

The Verdict: Recognizing a gap in the Web3 market for a sustainable and circular model, Mntge’s earth-friendly ethos has caught the attention of some of the biggest names on the blockchain and beyond.

After establishing itself through a number of solid collection releases, each selling out in a day or less, the next drop to arrive from the team explores a new concept of collecting art — by wearing the works as modes of self-expression.

Nars is celebrating its hero “Orgasm” product line by tapping the cultural relevance of AR and NFTs. Photo: Nars

Nars champions female artistry and blends the boundaries of beauty with augmented reality filters 

What Happened: Beauty brand Nars is back in the Web3 spotlight this week, celebrating its Orgasm product line in honor of National Orgasm Day on July 31. In conjunction with a series of augmented reality-powered filters, available to use via Instagram from July 31, the cosmetics titan commissioned five female digital artists to create a one-of-one NFT inspired by the Orgasm shade.

The tokens went up for auction via marketplace SuperRare on July 25. Winners also received an Infinite Objects display frame, the entire Nars Orgasm physical product line, and a consultation with a makeup artist.

The Verdict: Following its success with its “Color Quest” experience in Roblox, which generated over 41 million visits according the metaverse platform Geeiq, Nars has pivoted its focus to deploying NFTs as a marketing and community-building tool. Its latest project also taps into the creativity of often overlooked female creatives in the virtual space to amplify their presence, while tying its hero product range to a digital activation.

The label’s Orgasm collection has survived, and thrived, over three decades. Now, Nars is bringing its iconic universal status into the metaverse through accessible entry points and inviting rewards schemes.


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