Thanks to a strong community ethos and an unwavering focus on exclusivity, luxury timepiece makers and the NFT market have become a match made in heaven. No goldsmith has embraced the new terrains of Web3 quite like Swiss maestro Hublot which, this past week, unveiled the fourth installment of its artistic venture in collaboration with famed visionary Takashi Murakami. To celebrate the occasion, the duo offered a first peek at its new collection in New York to an exclusive cohort of enthusiasts.
This week also saw emerging designer Martina Spetlova make her debut in the metaverse, after releasing a collection of digital twins to accompany her trademark physical jackets. A member of the Sarabande Foundation, a London-based program which offers support to promising creatives, the designer is a hopeful sign of things to come from the next generation of fashion pioneers.
As for China, popular singer Betty Wu has teamed up with art toy brand TOPTOY to launch a new series of digital collectibles. The company is the latest to tap the power of mainland artists and idols as a marketing strategy in the Chinaverse. Will the country’s notable names become a key feature in the expansion and survival of its digital market?
Takashi Murakami x Hublot Launch Latest Project As Part Of Long-Term Metaverse Collaboration
What Happened: Contemporary artist Takashi Murakami and timepiece maker Hublot have released their latest collaborative project: a 13-piece collection of unique NFTs alongside physical watch counterparts. Unveiled at a private event at the Glass House in New York on February 2, the brand offered audiences a first look at one of the IRL watches available.
The Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Black Ceramic Rainbow watch — featuring Murakami’s famed smiling flower motif created from gemstones including rubies, sapphires, amethysts, tsavorites, and topaz in various shades — will arrive with its very own token, taking inspiration from the 1970s video game aesthetic. The remaining 12 watches and NFTs will be debuted during the Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023 exhibition in late March.
The Verdict: The campaign marks the fourth artistic venture for the duo, as they continue to delve deeper into the NFT world and its potential. Since their initial partnership back in 2021, with assistance from Web3 agency SIGNVM, the pair have had a strong and successful run in the metaverse. Tapping the lucrative market of timepiece enthusiasts, these collaborations offer their tight-knit community exclusive benefits and rewards; this time round, only holders of the 324 NFTs that the brand issued in April 2022 will be able to purchase one of Hublot x Murakami’s new Classic Fusion models.
Martina Spetlova Brings Her Eponymous Textiles Label To Web3 With Phygital Jacket Collection
What Happened: Fashion designer and resident of Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation Martina Spetlova has launched a phygital garment collection. The series, which is now available at Selfridges in London, features several specially designed jackets that each hold a tag produced by the US-based online wardrobe startup Seamm. When scanned, they grant access to the digital twin of the jacket, which is interoperable and can be worn in multiple virtual games and spaces.
The Verdict: An initiative like the Sarabande Foundation, which nurtures and celebrates up-and-coming digital designers, is an exciting progression for the fashion community and its emerging talent. It is even more significant given the fact that a major retailer like Selfridges is supporting the project — and integrating more Web3-focused explorations into its catalog of designers. Although the project is a first for Spetlova, the designer has already introduced NFC chips into her output as a way of communicating brand values and transparency in the supply chain.
China’s Latest Digital Collectibles Platform Teams Up With Art Toy Brand TOPTOY And Singer Betty Wu
What Happened: Art toy brand TOPTOY has teamed up with singer Betty Wu and digital collectible platform Mints to launch its very own art toy phygital collection. Customers are able to purchase the art toy offline initially, which arrives with a QR code that can be scanned to access a wearable digital collectible that is the same as the one their toy figure is wearing. The collection is available to purchase via TOPTOY’s WeChat mall, Tmall, and in offline stores for $30 (195 RMB).
The Verdict: China’s collectible art toy trend is worth keeping an eye on. Gathering momentum over recent years, the craze shows no signs of slowing down and continues to maintain an impressive growth course. This latest collaboration brings together both the current Chinaverse digital collectibles movement with the art toy market. Both sectors share similar standpoints such as scope to trade and resell, as well as the attractive element of collector culture.
Moreover, the collaboration also taps into the power of China’s fan culture by appointing singer Betty Wu as a main contributor to the campaign. After kicking off her career as a member of the popular South Korean pop group WJSN, the singer has amassed a strong following and fanbase: a consumer market that the collaboration could greatly benefit from.