Luxury Brands Embrace Metaverse Amid Crypto Bubble Fears

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Damir Mujezinovic

Metaverse is loosely defined as a combination of virtual and augmented reality. It is essentially a 3-D virtual environment where people can play, learn, explore, and interact with one another.

Just like in the real world, one can customize their appearance in the metaverse. Fashion brands have paid close attention to this new technology and are now embracing it.

According to new reports, several luxury brands have already made millions in the metaverse and plan on expanding their efforts in this area even further.

Read more below.

Virtual Luxuries

British startup The Dematerialised, described as "the digital department store of your dreams" by one of its founders, is entirely focused on selling virtual luxury items.

As reported by Bloomberg, The Dematerialised usually releases a unique virtual item in limited edition.

Those who decide to buy one receive an NFT (non-fungible token), which is essentially a unique digital token based on blockchain technology that serves as proof of ownership.

Spending a large chunk of money on a virtual Birkin bag may seem pointless to some, but business is actually booming.

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Pure Profits

Neither workers nor materials are necessary to create a virtual clothing item, so the profit margins are enormous -- and big fashion names are paying attention.

Nike, for instance, recently announced a partnership with Roblox to create Nikeland, a virtual world that will offer exclusive goods for sale.

Tommy Hilfiger’s venture capital arm, meanwhile, has officially partnered with the virtual marketing agency EWG Virtual.

Dolce & Gabbana went one step further, releasing several virtual-only designs. The designs were sold at an auction for $5.7 million.

Balenciaga

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Balenciaga, which released its Fall 2021 collection via a video game, also has plans to stake a claim in the metaverse.

According to CEO Cédric Charbit, Balenciaga believes virtual fashion is the future.

"The use-ability [of digital fashion] is the point that’s missing, but that’s making gigantic steps every day," Charbit said at at BoF’s annual VOICES gathering, according to The Business of Fashion.

"Right now the climax of interaction with a luxury brand is that you click like, or comment or buy something. I think we can get to a next level," Charbit, noting that he expects consumers to become "active participants" in the brands they like.

Crypto Bubble

From virtual reality, over metaverse, to blockchain and cryptocurrency, new digital technologies appear to be changing the way we work, live, and shop.

But some are not as optimistic about the future. Financial adviser Ryan Payne recently described crypto -- Bitcoin in particular -- as a bubble waiting to burst.

"This whole Bitcoin thing -- this whole cryptocurrency -- is one of the biggest bubbles ever. I do think that bubble is eventually going to burst. It's going to be ugly," Payne said, adding that what's happening with crypto now is reminiscent of the 1990s dot-com bubble.

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