What Happened: Italy’s long-standing luxury fashion veteran Fendi has teamed up with Meta to create an augmented reality project by transforming one of its iconic sneaker silhouettes into a gamified experience. On September 5, Meta’s social pages released two innovative special effect features — designed by creative agency Buck and developed using Meta’s Spark AR technology — which provide users with an interactive Fendi showcase, as well as the chance to immerse themselves in a virtual treasure hunt.
Players can click on the special effects button to transport themselves to an archaeological site based on Fendi’s rich heritage and historical Italian roots. Here, they work to unearth a series of fragments through simple hand movements (the feature uses special hand tracking technology as a means of “dissolving the boundaries between virtual and real”) to restore the true appearance of Faster sneakers, similar to uncovering treasure in the ground. The project was also accompanied by an experimental technology-based initiative at the Palais des Cultures in the Eur district in Rome, where participants could use their phone cameras to access a digital sculpture of the Faster sneaker silhouette.
The Jing Take: While the project is a chance for Fendi to explore its technological innovations, the campaign also sets out to highlight the house’s deep connection with Rome and how this can be celebrated through forward-thinking strategies that tap into culturally relevant movements, i.e. Web3. But is it enough to engage the brand’s audience?
Fendi’s foray into the metaverse began with its unveiling of a range of crypto hardware wallet accessories in partnership with Ledger, a global platform for cryptocurrencies and digital assets. While the group was one of the first to offer such products to a luxury audience, its presence in the crypto landscape has since been pretty hushed, until now.
Meanwhile, Meta’s recent release of its marketplace Avatars Store — which performs as a digital fashion atelier selling the likes of Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne — demonstrates the company’s push to familiarize itself with the world of luxury in Web3. While Fendi could have simply joined its competitors as part of the virtual wardrobe for its reintroduction to the online realm, this tech-first approach with Meta is a fun and playful strategy of integrating the metaverse into its marketing model.
Despite this, the project doesn’t seem to offer any long-term prospects, phygital products, or appealing incentives, meaning the added value of the experience is next to none. With more firms now looking towards incorporating better innovation, creativity, and user benefits into their Web3 endeavors (Kate Spade’s recent virtual townhouse experience offered users the chance to access new products through the game), Fendi’s latest move might not be enough to set it apart from its more advanced contenders, particularly considering that the label is still in its infancy when it comes to the digital space.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.