After taking a more scaled-back approach to Web3 tech, Balenciaga is ripping a leaf out of Puma and Diesel's book by connecting its products to their very own digital soundtrack. This week, the maison's Balenciaga Music division announced that its latest collection will be embedded with near-field communication (NFC) chips, which, when scanned, unlock access to an exclusive song.
In other Web3 news, contemporary cordwainer Tod's is the latest luxury player to join the OTB-backed Aura Blockchain Consortium as more brands prepare themselves for the next era of digitization.
Lacoste is also fine-tuning its virtual presence as part of its 90th-anniversary fête. The brand has launched a new immersive pop-up in The Sandbox, in which fans can celebrate its sports-centric heritage.
Balenciaga may have shied away from the NFT and metaverse hype, but the French couturier is introducing emerging tech via a different route: music-connected products.
In partnership with digital ID specialist Eon, the fashion house's latest line of Balenciaga Music merch unlocks an exclusive playlist from trip-hop group Archive. The NFC-equipped T-shirts and hoodies will offer a gateway to a soundtrack specially chosen by creative director Demna.
The project marks the first time Balenciaga has employed a digital product passport in such a manner. But it's a trend that's already starting to gain traction.
Both Puma and Diesel have recently put their own spin on the concept; in July, Puma connected its sneakers to an exclusive mixtape portal via NFC chips, while Diesel teamed up with Web3 platform Public Pressure in September to drop a series of NFTs that took their holders on a sensory journey through sound. For Balenciaga, the project is a way of deepening the brand's relationship with music.
Italian luxury brand Tod's has joined the Aura Blockchain Consortium. The brand will introduce the organization's Digital Product Passport technology into its own collections, starting with its Custom Di Bag.
The digital passport, which is connected using an NFC chip woven into the bag, allows owners to access ownership certificates, product life cycle information, and sustainability certifications. Owners will also be able to claim a blockchain-enabled digital twin of their bag as proof of ownership.
The Aura Blockchain Consortium's ever-growing roster of members points to luxury's evolving attitude towards emerging tech and the blockchain.
As full transparency becomes a non-negotiable for high-end retailers, digital passports facilitate seamless consumer accessibility, storytelling, and traceability — a must-have for those who want to foster rich relationships with their collectors.
Rounding out its year of 90th anniversary celebrations, Lacoste is ending its world tour with a virtual activation in The Sandbox.
From November 23 until December 7, netizens can dive into Crocodile King Island, a gamified destination complete with locales including Paris, Tokyo, and Sao Paulo, where players can take part in tasks to unlock sports-themed goodies.
The label has already had a successful run with immersive digital experiences. Since 2022, Lacoste has released a number of virtual store activations powered by industry leader Emperia.
Metaverse spaces like The Sandbox have been touch-and-go this past year, as metaverse buzz waned, but the destination is regaining relevance as more retailers pivot back to digital-native projects and gamification. Earlier this month, for example, Gucci released its Gucci Cosmos experience in The Sandbox, bringing visibility from the luxury community back to the platform.