Epic Games is taking big strides this week, with both the game developer company and its subsidiary platform Fortnite entering into ground-breaking partnerships with LVMH and Nike — two businesses on opposite sides of the fashion spectrum, but equally as influential.
Elsewhere, the iconic Smiley IP is collaborating with metaverse footwear startup Space Runners on a new project. A 50-year-old legend in the offline world, is Smiley on its way to dominating the virtual one, too?
Turning to China, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) at the expense of the metaverse is gathering pace as more brands invest resources in AI following the technology’s countrywide boom. Bold, the venture capital fund of L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics business, is the latest to invest in the trend, backing AI-powered, content-creation startup Rembrand in a seed round that closed last week.
But for this week, here’s the roundup of the biggest Web3 drops taking over the virtual space right now.
LVMH, Epic Games announce partnership to enhance the premium consumer experience
What Happened: Luxury fashion conglomerate and parent company of brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Fendi, LVMH has entered into a partnership with none other than game software developer Epic Games.
The collaboration, which was announced on June 14 at Viva Technology Paris, will see the two industry giants join forces to create consumer experiences and implement new tools into LVMH’s design pipeline, including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, a 3D graphics program that was also recently deployed by Puma to create its Black Station 2 experience.
The Verdict: It’s a big step for the metaverse — waning audience interest this year has generated huge speculation about the space’s longevity and its potential decline. LVMH’s investment in the segment couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
LVMH is targeting a vast audience base, from Gen-Z consumers to ultra-wealthy collectors, by adopting different approaches to the metaverse across its divisions. With behemoths like LVMH becoming key enablers in the metaverse fashion landscape, metaverse skeptics are slowly but surely being proved wrong.
Nike teases collab with Fortnite on virtual sneaker hunt, and the Web3 community goes wild
What Happened: Earlier this week, sportswear behemoth and metaverse pioneer Nike teased its latest digital activation in collaboration with gaming platform Fortnite: an NFT-powered sneaker hunt titled Airphoria. The short promo video went live on June 16 via Nike’s social channels, with the brand stating that the “ultimate Sneakerhunt begins” on June 20.
The reveal caused the Web3 and gaming community to go wild with speculation about what the project might entail. Since its release, the in-game sneaker hunt event has featured Nike-designed NFTs, skins, cosmetics, and special rewards within the online video game Fortnite.
The Verdict: Epic Games’ foray into collaborations with franchises like Nike and LVMH heralds a promising future for the metaverse and luxury fashion, as long as it’s executed right. With great exposure comes the pressure to deliver a seamless and carefully considered experience, minus the clunkiness of past Web3 launches. With 250 million active Fortnite players, it’s a huge move in the space for Nike.
Nike came under fire last month after its DotSwoosh channel failed to handle the volume of visitors for its OF1 drop. Will tapping a program as established as Fortnite and Unreal Engine eliminate the risk of similar hiccups this time around?
Play! Pop! Go! launches Pre-Fall 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week Men’s
What Happened: The brainchild of creative polymath artist Amber Park, digital fashion brand Play! Pop! Go! launched another physical fashion capsule following its release in April, this time for Pre-Fall 2023 on June 21. The Playwear collection connects the digital and physical, encouraging consumers to have a gamified approach to shopping and self-expression.
The Verdict: Lil Nas X-approved fashion playground Play! Pop! Go! is one of the leaders in the phygital fashion space. Following on from April’s collection already is reflective of its backing from the mainstream fashion press; this marks the next step in its evolution of bringing the metaverse to the IRL world.
As a streetwear collection that is able to be understood even by those who are not familiar with metaverse, Play! Pop! Go! is disrupting what it means to be part of Web 3.0. Having an event at PFW Men’s also positions the brand within the luxury space — who knows, perhaps a high-fashion collaboration will be on the way soon.