Are virtual stores the future of retail? Plus, Ralph Lauren drops physical Fortnite boots: Web3 drops of the week

Virtual storefronts have matured from a buzzworthy fad to a crucial marketing vehicle over the course of 2023. But with competition swelling, curating a space that grabs the eyes — and pockets — of consumers is no easy feat.

This week, Lacoste seems to have hit the jackpot with shoppers after launching its second hyperrealistic retail spot to showcase its Summer 2023 collection. Complete with gamified activities and exclusive token-gated perks, the brand is crafting its own playbook when it comes to meaningful consumer experiences. We dissect below.

In other news, Ralph Lauren is no stranger to the colossal cultural influence of Fortnite, which is why the label jumped at the chance of collaborating with the Epic Games subsidiary last year. Now, the tie-up is giving fans of the game the chance to brandish their character’s wearables IRL, as Ralph Lauren continues on its mission to bridge the gap between reality and the virtual realm. 

Ralph Lauren has dropped a new collection as part of its Fortnite collab, bringing the game’s digital wearables to the real world. Photo:

Ralph Lauren launches ‘Race To Greatness’ experience in Fortnite alongside phygital boot release

What Happened: Ralph Lauren is on a “Race To Greatness” across Web3, as it once again teams up with gaming behemoth Fortnite on a new branded in-game experience and phygital boot drop.

In conjunction with the new digital island, which launched on August 3, the label is also selling the IRL version of its P-Wing boot that debuted in the game last year. The red and black chunky biker boots are available for $250 via Ralph Lauren’s website.

The Verdict: The gaming and fashion industries have once again joined hands to create the ultimate collector’s item for Fortnite fans. With an average of 239 million monthly players, Fornite’s influence is omnipresent, but spotting someone sporting the boot out in the wild will be like finding a needle in a haystack; only 300 pairs will be available to buy. 

Ralph Lauren’s latest Web3 tie-up also explores a new form of self-expression, whereby brands can pluck popular characters’ uniforms straight from the digital realm and transport them into the wardrobes of consumers worldwide.

In partnership with Emperia, Lacoste is diving deeper into the digital retail scene. Photo: Lacoste

Lacoste unveils its latest virtual storefront for Summer 2023 collection

What Happened: Lacoste is doubling down on its exclusive Web3 members’ offering in its latest activation. This week, the French label launched its second virtual shopping experience, in partnership with virtual store developer Emperia, to showcase its summer collection in the metaverse. 

Complete with crocodile-themed scavenger hunts, digital twins, new product ranges, and exclusive token-gated sections designed specifically for members of Le Club Lacoste and UNDW3 non-fungible toke (NFT) holders, the seasonal storefront amps up Lacoste’s focus on its storytelling and loyalty schemes.

The Verdict: The concept of virtual shopping destinations has taken off across various industries. But while these novel experiences may drive initial consumer interest, translating them into sales is the ultimate goal. Having established a robust loyalty program in Web3, Lacoste can bank on its community’s spending power and receptiveness to endorse activations like these.  

Digital fashion house The Fabricant has unveiled its latest growth plans, as well as the final collection from its Wholeland series. Photo: The Fabricant

The Fabricant drops the final chapter of its Wholeland series as it enters a new couture-focused era

What Happened: Digital fashion house The Fabricant has released its latest collection and the third chapter of its Wholeland project, called Primal Rave. The six-piece launch merges 17th century Dutch garments with cues from ’90s club and gabber wear, and has been described by the platform as a couture capsule series. Comprising lace-up boots, two-pieces and shimmering bodysuits, the collection will launch on August 22.

The Verdict: The Fabricant is transforming itself from just another digital fashion brand into a digital craft house — a move that could establish its status as the Kering or the LVMH of Web3. The company is also funneling resources into catering to Gen Z’s preferences, a demographic in which virtual fashion is gaining the most traction.

In September, the month when all eyes turn to fashion, The Fabricant will also present all three of its releases under the Wholeland umbrella in a first-of-its-kind, invite-only couture showcase, marking the beginning of the brand’s associations with high-end fashion. 


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