Ralph Lauren opens its virtual doors. Plus, is Zepeto the catalyst for DKNY’s Gen-Z coup?

Although NYFW took a step back from Web3 activations following its lackluster NFT Keys project during SS23, its lesser-known neighbor, Hamptons Fashion Week, isn’t shying away from making full use of blockchain-powered tech this season. 

To streamline the onboarding process, the event is turning to scavenger hunts — a playful format that the likes of Gmoney have adopted to help incentivize their audience to engage with Web3. 

In other news, DKNY is the latest brand to tap the Zepeto goldmine in a bid to regain its relevance, while Ralph Lauren is diving back into the metaverse to explore a new brand DNA. 

Ralph Lauren launched its first virtual store experience this week, inspired by the Joshua Tree desert landscape. Photo: Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren unveils virtual concept store, the ‘888 House’ to coincide with its new handbag release

What Happened: Celebrating the launch of its RL 888 handbag design, Ralph Lauren unveiled a new virtual store called “The 888 House” this week. Inspired by the desert landscape of California’s Joshua Tree National Park, the experience fuses fantasy with reality to introduce the concept of surrealist shopping. 

The launch marks the house’s first digital foray into three-dimensional retail experiences, in which visitors can purchase the new handbag design and peruse other collections from the brand. 

The Verdict: What’s become apparent with the virtual store trend is that brands are using the opportunity to blend their real world trademarks with fantasy. As consumers spend more time on digital experiences, brands are investing more resources in creative endeavors, which suggests that the future of digital enterprise will be rooted in multi-faceted narratives. 

For Ralph Lauren, the launch is a chance for the brand to take its straightlaced DNA and inject it with a hefty boost of surrealism, perhaps signaling a new era for the house and its longstanding identity.

DKNY is going for gold in Zepeto in a bid to align with younger demographics. Photo: Vrtl Wrld

DKNY pivots to Asia’s gaming community to boost its Gen-Z presence

What Happened: In an industry where brands are furiously scrambling to stay at the top, DKNY is turning its attention to Asia’s active gaming community to regain relevancy.

In partnership with 3D design studio Vrtl Wrld, the brand brought its Fall ’23 collection to South Korean gaming channel Zepeto in the form of digital twin garments for avatars to wear. 

The Verdict: For brands looking to engage Asia’s netizens and capitalize on the region’s active gaming community, establishing a presence in spaces like South Korean channel Zepeto is a low-hanging fruit that shouldn’t be underestimated. 

With DKNY losing its spark over the past decade, showcasing its Fall ‘23 collection to Zepeto’s 15 million to 20 million active monthly users puts it on the radar of a new group of consumers.

As the Fashion Week calendar finds its footing in Web3, the Hamptons-based event thinks treasure hunts might be the key to success. Photo: Hamptons Fashion Week

Hamptons Fashion Week launches phygital scavenger hunt to onboard fashion enthusiasts into Web3

What Happened: To celebrate its three-day multi-designer event, which kicked off on Friday this week, Hamptons Fashion Week has teamed up with tech startups Alphaa.io and MetaBurnett to launch a phygital scavenger hunt for onlookers. Participants are encouraged to locate butterfly tokens throughout the event and scan the corresponding QR codes to unlock blockchain-based loyalty points, brand insights and prizes.

The Verdict: Incorporating blockchain-powered, incentivized activities into IRL events not only encourages more individuals to engage with the metaverse through ways that require minimal Web3 knowledge, but also demonstrates how seamless the onboarding process can be.

But it isn’t a guaranteed hit. NYFW’s NFT Keys project last year flopped as a result of sloppy organization, with a number of holders unable to access the benefits they were promised. Events like Hamptons Fashion Week will need to navigate the phygital learning curve in order to create useful and seamless experiences for their audience.


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