Ralph Lauren plays the metaverse with Zepeto Partnership

With the making of digital clothing in recent months, fashion is clearly reaching the metaverse. The latest to join the fight is Ralph Lauren, who on Wednesday announced a new collaboration with 3D avatar platform Zepeto to offer a digital fashion collection for sale, along with themed virtual environments.

The partnership represents a major first for Ralph Lauren. Although this is not his first technology partnership: he previously collaborated with Bitmoji on a special collection, as well as Snapchat on augmented reality lenses and recently with G2 Sports, the first luxury brand to equip a long-term sports gaming equipment – the company had never sold digital clothing.

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For its first foray into virtual economies, the brand described the Ralph Lauren x Zepeto collection as a reimagining of its clothing for the virtual world of Zepeto, a social environment where people interact through avatars. Users will be able to dress their characters with exclusive products from the fashion house.

Fans of the brand can see the well-known favorites in the assortment. The styles on offer include 12 looks, with more than 50 unique items spanning a mix of vintage pieces by Polo Ralph Lauren and others from his current summer collection. Special items are also included, such as two limited edition skateboards designed exclusively for the virtual collection.

The collaboration also offers users opportunities to immerse themselves in the world of Ralph Lauren through three virtual and interactive spaces. The stages, the flagship of Madison Avenue, Ralph’s Coffee Shop and Central Park, were modeled from New York City locations and were designed to invoke “the iconic spirit, energy and attitude of the brand “, according to the ad.

The work points to the fashion house’s belief that “innovating in virtual worlds is essential to attracting the next generation of consumers,” said Alice Delahunt, Ralph Lauren’s digital director.

“Ralph Lauren has always adopted new environments and we are thrilled to push the boundaries in this emerging field,” he added. “Making our product available for purchase and digital delivery and allowing consumers to experience the brand in new and immersive ways is the next frontier.”

In fact, the digital promise of fashion increased this year, thanks to trends like NFTs or non-expendable tokens. Blockchain technology made it possible to authenticate virtual products such as digital sneakers, turning them into hot commodities with drops capable of extracting millions of dollars in minutes.

Today, the worlds of fashion, art and technology are trying to analyze the future of digital works and products in real time, with new platforms and markets in the running. But in the midst of all this activity, a general question remains: what can people do with assets such as digital clothing, beyond owning it?

One view sees them as an avatar suit for online citizens of virtual worlds, games, and other digital environments, similar to the Ralph Lauren x Zepeto collaboration. Although neither company mentioned NFTs in this project, the effort could still prove valuable as a viable use case if it takes off.

While the fashion industry may take note of a major brand like Ralph Lauren that is suddenly delving into the digital clothing trade, it shouldn’t overlook the implications of Zepeto’s involvement either. The 3D avatar platform, developed by Naver Z Corp. and launched in 2018, it is already considered a metaverse giant on its South Korean turf, where it has 10 million monthly active users. Your business is expected to accelerate when it launches game development tools this year.

Meanwhile, Zepeto will host the K-Pop band Tomorrow x Together in September for a live event of Ralph Lauren’s virtual flagship, located on the platform. The band’s 3D avatars will interact with visitors, taking selfies and taking photos and videos that fans can share via social media.

And while they do, these digital characters will be adorned with pieces from the Ralph Lauren x Zepeto collection.

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