Givenchy x (b).STROY, Balmain’s ‘Need For Speed’ Wearables, And More: Web3 Drops Of The Week

If this week has proven anything, it’s that collaboration is key when it comes to making oneself known in the metaverse. Seen as the golden ticket for cracking new consumer bases and leveraging brand image, team-ups are proving — particularly across the digital landscape — to be a winning formula for all parties involved. 

Of course, following a period wrought with scandal in the crypto community, companies in Web3 are simultaneously treading carefully and looking ahead as to how they can regain their consumers’ trust. But the fashion industry remains unphased by the headlines. Many, it seems, are happy to continue on their previous trajectories with confidence.

The week also saw some big-name departures in the fashion industry, including Alessandro Michele’s exit from Gucci. After a year packed with digital initiatives from the house, most notably the long-running “Gucci Vault,” it will be interesting to see whether the Italian label will push ahead with new Web3 activations, or whether these explorations will take a step back during its interim in creative direction limbo.

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Givenchy’s Latest NFT Collection Proves The Unstoppable Potential of Collaboration 

The NFTs created for Givenchy’s partnership with (b).Stroy were designed by Web3-native artist collective, Felt Zine. Photo: Givenchy

What Happened: As Web3 mania continues to blaze across the luxury scene, Givenchy has become the latest LVMH-owned outfit to release a capsule NFT collaboration. Creative director Matthew Williams joined forces with one of New York’s most prolific underground lines, (b).stroy, for the collection: taking cues emblematic of both brands to create something distinct for the digital world. The launch fuses a number of unisex streetwear silhouettes — such as tees, hoodies, footwear, and varsity jackets — with Williams’ design knowledge and craft in a bid to put the urban label on the luxury market map, while bringing the house of Givenchy ever-closer to cracking the growing virtual market. 

The Verdict: Since Williams’ appointment as creative director at the luxury group, his tenure has been met with a mixed response. But this latest move might just aid him in tapping into a new crowd of consumers through the power of collaboration. In partnership with Felt Zine (a Web3 artist platform and collective), the brand is utilizing the power of existing communities for the token drop: to leverage its presence across the digital market as it continues to find its footing in the physical one.

Balmain Celebrates Jumping Into The Gaming Scene With ‘Need For Speed’ Partnership 

The French luxury house has joined forces with Need For Speed Unbound to bring its iconic motifs to the gaming world. Photo: Balmain

What Happened: Balmain is back making waves in the metaverse. Following its successful launch of NFT project The Balmain Thread in October (a first-of-its-kind membership program merging the Web3 and luxury sectors), the Parisian house is once again pioneering within the digital landscape; this time, by entering the lucrative world of gaming and in-game skins. 

The label has announced that it will be collaborating with EA’s latest Need For Speed Unbound title to bring branded Balmain wearables to the channel, which include dedicated Balmain-themed jeans, jackets, and a pair of its bestselling B-IT sliders (also available to purchase IRL). Alongside this, characters in the game will be featured wearing Balmain-branded garments taken from its Fall 22 collection, while various makes of car — such as the Lotus Evora — will be specially wrapped in exclusive Balmain designs. 

The Verdict: A latecomer to the gaming space, the French luxury fashion house has its work cut out when it comes to competing against early adopters such as Burberry (who partnered with Fortnite back in 2021) and Gucci (the brand’s Gucci Town made waves across Roblox in May this year). But as many names flock to popular platforms such as Roblox and Minecraft, Balmain’s decision to move elsewhere and position itself towards a different audience might just prove to be a savvy one. 

Ferragamo Harnesses The Power of China’s Virtual Idol AYAYI In Spring 23 Campaign 

Ferragamo turns to China’s booming virtual idols scene with its latest campaign, featuring meta human AYAYI. Photo: Ferragamo

What Happened: Luxury Italian brand Ferragamo has tapped China’s popular virtual influencer AYAYI for its latest campaign as part of its Spring 23 collection. The label, synonymous with well-crafted style and quality, invited the digital human to promote its new line across socials including Weibo, where AYAYI also advertised the label’s dedicated digital space: “The World of Ferragamo.” 

The Verdict: Digital beings are swiftly becoming the next hot topic when it comes to China’s marketing initiatives. Over the course of the past six months, metahumans have drawn impressive levels of interest across the mainland, becoming a firm favorite in the fashion industry especially. According to iiMedia Research, the country’s virtual idol market hit $16.9 billion in 2021 (107.5 billion RMB) and is expected to more than triple to $52.4 billion (333.5 billion RMB) by 2023. While other marketing strategies such as digital collectibles remain hard to navigate, it’s likely that we’ll see more companies countrywide turn to the metahuman market as a way of harnessing the Chinaverse without the risk of repercussions. 

Bloomingdales and Macy’s Make Web3 A Festive Affair For Thanksgiving 

To celebrate the holidays, department stores have turned to the metaverse to level up their festive digital activations. Photo: Macy’s

What Happened: In honor of Thanksgiving, American department giant Bloomingdales appointed the help of virtual experience developer Emperia to create a multi-brand virtual experience which includes the likes of Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Nespresso alongside a beauty and party section. Users will be able to navigate through the digital store to immerse themselves in the different brand activations, such as Ralph Lauren’s ski-inspired winter chalet.

The Verdict: With one of the biggest spending seasons of the year in full swing, department stores are now facing competition not only in the physical world, but the online one too, with several big names turning to Web3 to launch dedicated festive campaigns. In fact, Macy’s hosted its own thanksgiving parade in the metaverse to celebrate the holiday season. In conjunction with its annual physical event, the high-end chain aired a version of its celebrations in virtual platform OnCyber. The activation also includes NFT galleries from five creators, where visitors will be able to vote for their favorite design to be turned into a balloon for next year’s parade. 

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