Fashion has its moment in the metaverse.
In the virtual world, luxury labels, music and games vie for attention. And when physical events and the dependent entertainment industry are closed, virtual things embody the popular culture of the pandemic.
It creates an environment where imagination and technical skills, not wealth, are the only obstacles to the accumulation of status symbols that only money and fame can buy.
Whether it's famous designers like Marc Jacobs, Sandy Liang or Valentino, the styles in Nintendo's breakout hit Animal Crossing: New Horizons drop; HypeBae plans to host an in-game fashion show later this month. or various crossovers between Epic Games & # 39; Fortnite and brands like Supreme (which arose before the pandemic), fashion uses game culture to preserve its relevance.
An entrepreneur who spent time on both sides of the company as the founder of a start-up and employee of one of the largest sportswear brands has launched a new app to bridge the physical and virtual fashion world.
Their goal is to give Hypebeasts the opportunity to collect virtual versions of their physical objects of desire and earn points, possibly to buy the equipment they crave, while at the same time providing a storefront where brands have new design talents discover to start the next generation of cult collaborations start careers.
Aglets phase 1
The app, called Aglet, was developed by Ryan Mullins, former head of Adidas' digital innovation strategy, and offers the opportunity to collect limited-edition virtual versions of sneakers and eventually design tools to help all potential Virgil Ablohs and Kanye Wests of the Welt can make their own shoes for the metaverse.
At the theinformationsuperhighway talked to Mullins last month, he was still stuck in Germany. His plans to start the company and move to Los Angeles had changed dramatically since travel was suspended and nations were banned to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Originally, the app was supposed to be a Pokemon Go for sneakerheads. Limited “drops” of virtual sneakers would occur in locations in the city, and players could go to those locations and add the virtual sneakers to their collection. Players received points for traveling to different locations. These points can be redeemed for in-app purchases or discounts in stores.
"We are converting your physical activity into a virtual currency that you can spend in stores to buy new brands, ”said Mulins. "Brands can have challenges and you have to pass two or three challenges in your city if you take part in this challenge. The winner will receive prizes."
Aglet determines how many points a player earns based on the virtual shoes they wear on their expeditions. The app offers a range of virtual sneakers from Air Force 1s to Yeezys. The more expensive or rarer the shoe, the more points a player earns if he "gets out" in it. Over time, the shoes wear out and have to be replaced – ideally this leads to more stickiness for the app.
The currency for in-app purchases can be purchased for $ 1 (for 5 "aglets") to $ 80 (for 1,000 "aglets"). When players collect shoes, they can view them on their virtual in-app shelves and possibly trade them with other players.
When the locks and shelter-in-place orders came in, Mullins and his designers quickly switched to create the game's "pandemic mode", where users can go anywhere on a map and simulate the game.
"Our plan was to have a LA-specific release and to host a competition, but that was obviously rejected," said Mullins.
The app has predecessors like Nike's SNKRS, which offered limited drops to users and geographically localized places where people could find shoes from its various collaborations, according to Input at the release of Aglet in April.
While Mullins' vision for Aglet's current incarnation is an interesting attempt to weave the threads of gaming and sneaker culture into a new kind of augmented reality-enabled shopping experience, there is a step beyond the game universes that Mullins create would like to.
Credit: Adidas (opens in a new window)
The future of fashion discovery could lie in the metaverse
"My proudest initiative (at Adidas) was one called MakerLab, ”said Mullins.
MakerLab brought Adidas together with young, up-and-coming designers and let them create limited-edition designs for the shoe company based on one of their classic shoe silhouettes. Mullins believes that this type of collaboration points the way to a potential future for the industry that could be incredibly compelling.
"The real vision for me is that I believe that the next Nike is an inverted Nike," said Mullins. "I think what will happen is that you will have young children on Roblox When you design things in virtual environments, they appear there and are made by Nike or Adidas. "
From this perspective, the Aglet app is more of a Trojan horse for the big idea that Mullins wants to pursue. This is to create a design studio in which the best virtual designs are presented and brought into the real world.
Mullins calls it the "Smart Aglet Sneaker Studio". "(Here you can design your own sneakers in the standard design style and we bring them into play. We let you design your own hoodies and then (Aglet) becomes a YouTube for fashion design."
The YouTube example comes from the starmaking force that made the platform possible for everyone, from makeup artists to musicians like Justin Bieber. who was discovered on the social media streaming service.
"I want to build a virtual design platform that kids can use to build their own virtual fashion brands and integrate them into the gaming environment that I build in the first phase," said Mullins. “When Bieber was discovered, YouTube meant that he could access an entire infrastructure to become a star. What Nike and Adidas are doing is something similar, where they can find that talent out there and give this designer access to their infrastructure and maybe boost a little kid's career. "