Nike, Vivienne Tam shift AI fashion revolution into high gear

    Nike, Vivienne Tam, and Mmerch deepen fashion’s AI roadmap. Plus, Hugo Boss releases a new virtual destination, and move-to-earn app Stepn joins forces with Adidas.
    Nike's first look at its A.I.R prototype, made with AI. Photo: Nike

    Last week, Nike brought together a slew of athletes, media, investors, and enthusiasts at its three-day gala in Paris, where the giant unveiled Project A.I.R. — a platform that will deploy generative AI to design and print personalized prototypes for athletes in minutes. As part of the activation, Nike unveiled 13 AI-generated sneakers co-created with notable sports figures, including soccer player Kylian Mbappé.

    Nike wasn’t the only brand to leverage the power of AI in design this week. Vivienne Tam, a vocal advocate of Web3 technologies, has announced a long-term strategic partnership alongside AI tech pioneer Altava to “explore the intersection of fashion and technology.”

    AI-powered disruptor Mmerch is also putting its unique tech-first model into practice; this week, the brand released its inaugural collection of neo-couture pieces to the world. As a proof of concept drop, will the newcomer’s high ambitions pay off?

    Vivienne Tam has teamed up with the gamified social commerce platform Altava to bolster its digital roadmap. Photo: Altava
    Vivienne Tam has teamed up with the gamified social commerce platform Altava to bolster its digital roadmap. Photo: Altava

    Vivenne Tam kicks off strategic partnership with AI fashion platform Altava#

    What happened: Chinese fashion designer and NYFW fixture Vivienne Tam has entered into a strategic partnership with AI fashion-tech company Altava. To kick off the initiative, Altava developed an immersive CGI video that served as a backdrop for Tam’s latest collection at Palais de Tokyo.

    Details of the broader partnership are set to be revealed later this year, with the collaboration promising to “unlock new avenues for creative expression.”

    The Verdict:


    Which is why its tie-up with Tam feels like a natural fit. Tam, one of the first faces in fashion to champion technologies such as NFTs and AI, has married innovation with cultural heritage both on and off the runway. Through her partnership with Altava, the designer has more scope to build on that vision and reinvigorate AI in design.

    Hugo Boss has launched a virtual retail spot set in Bali. Photo: Emperia
    Hugo Boss has launched a virtual retail spot set in Bali. Photo: Emperia

    Hugo boss unveils new virtual retail destination for Spring/Summer 2024 collection#

    What happened: Hugo Boss has teamed up with virtual store developer Emperia to launch a new immersive shopping destination. Based on the real-life Boss House Bali, a villa designed by architect Alexis Dornier, the brand invited a select group of Hugo Boss Experience members, VIP customers, media, and key tastemakers from the Asia-Pacific region to explore. Now, a virtual counterpart of the villa has opened to the public.

    Visitors can browse and shop menswear, womenswear, and fragrance collections, take part in gamified activities, and book a physical stay at Boss House Bali.

    The verdict: Hugo Boss’ high-octane approach to the emerging tech landscape has continuously made headlines this year. But having its finger in so many Web3 pies requires careful effort in ensuring each activation lives up to expectations.

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    Adidas joins forces with Web3 sneaker startup Stepn#

    What happened: Move-to-earn app Stepn has teamed up with Adidas on a collection of NFT sneakers, The 1000 piece release, which dropped on April 17, featured Stepn’s lightning bolt logo and Adidas’ three stripes, and was available to purchase via Stepns’s sister NFT marketplace Mooar. Each pair is minted on the Solana blockchain and it unique to its owner.

    The verdict: The genesis collection marks the first of a series of co-branded activities between Stepn and Adidas. The duo are set to release further physical and digital items over the next year.

    Web3 sneaker startups like Stepn are leaning on industry conglomerates for financial support and access to greater resources following a tumultuous few years for crypto and Web3.

    In line with its own Web3 roadmap, Adidas is investing heavily into the ecosystem’s rising creators and brands, as well as introducing its steadfast spenders to nascent models such as ‘move-to-earn’ – a concept that also taps into the $1.5 trillion wellness industry.

    Meta Bites#

    • AI label Mmerch dropped its debut 960-piece collection of 'neo-couture' pieces on Monday. Designed in collaboration with indie comic book artist Gilbert Hernandez, the one-of-one, generative hoodies have almost sold out, at the time of writing.
    • Nike unveiled its AI-designed sneaker prototypes during its Paris Olympics extravaganza last week, made especially with athletes in mind. Coined A.I.R (Athlete Imagined Revolution), the 13 sneakers were designed using man-made sketches, computational and parametric design, generative AI, rapid prototyping, and 3D printers.
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