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.
    A first look at Nike’s 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, 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: Altava, a vertical AI startup established through the LVMH La Maison des Startups program, is consolidating its reputation among luxury powerhouses. The company’s partners to date include Balmain, Clarins, Fendi, and Prada.

    That’s why this tie-up feels like a natural fit. Tam, one of the first figures in fashion to champion technologies such as NFTs and AI, frequently combines innovation with cultural heritage both on and off the runway. Through her partnership with Altava, the designer has greater scope to expand on that vision and rejuvenate 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 S/S 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. However, having its finger on so many Web3 projects requires careful effort to ensure each activation lives up to expectations.

    In this case, the brand’s new retail-focused destination merges entertainment with commerce — a popular route for companies who want to expand their storytelling while keeping profits flush.

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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. Launched on April 17, the collection comprises 1,000 pieces, showcasing Stepn’s lightning bolt logo alongside Adidas’ iconic three stripes. These NFT sneakers were available for purchase through Stepn’s affiliated NFT marketplace, Mooar. Each pair is minted on the Solana blockchain, ensuring uniqueness for its owner.

    The verdict: The Genesis collection marks the first in a series of co-branded activities between Stepn and Adidas. The two are set to release additional 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.

    "Aligned with its own Web3 roadmap, Adidas is heavily investing in the ecosystem's emerging creators and brands while also introducing its loyal customers to nascent models such as “move-to-earn” — a concept that taps into the $1.5 trillion wellness industry.

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