Let’s start with the good news: Gucci’s newest footwear is the same price as a McDonald’s Big Mac meal. The bad news? It’s only available virtually. Fashion houses have long embraced social media as a marketing tool, but what happens when designs themselves are confined to digital space? (Sick Roblox outfits, that’s what!)
Gucci’s virtual drop isn’t the first of its kind. In fact, the brand is one of many to experiment in the market for “non-fungible tokens” or NFT’s. According to W Magazine, NFT’s are generally pieces of digital art that hold subjective value. Think the virtual equivalent to collectible cars or rare baseball cards. Here are a few examples:
- A video of a Banksy print being burnt to a crisp is now available for 22.5 NFTs, or roughly $34,421.
- Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, sold one of his own tweets for nearly $1,000.
- Grimes has made around $6 million from sales of digital art in NFT format.
If you’re still wondering how mere data could be worth so much, don’t worry. So are we!
Let’s get back to Gucci. Designed by Alessandro Michele himself, the AR sneakers are available exclusively on Gucci’s mobile app. After paying between $9 and $12, users are granted access to a photo filter containing the designer kicks. There’s even an in-app option to flaunt them on virtual platforms like Roblox, Business of Fashion reports.
While Gucci’s virtual shoes aren’t technically NFT’s because they’re not limited in quantity, they certainly beg the same question—what’s the hype around items you can’t see without the help of a smartphone? Perhaps the growing market for virtual goods is the result of thriving digital spaces like Roblox where flexing wealth is just as important to users as it is in the real world.
Gucci’s virtual drop was created in collaboration with the AR technology company Wanna. CEO Sergey Arkhangelskiy has high hopes for the industry’s future: “In five or maybe 10 years a relatively big chunk of fashion brands’ revenue will come from digital products. Our goal as a company is to actually supersede the product photos … and substitute it for something which is way more engaging and closer to offline shopping.”
Will you be (digitally) sporting Gucci’s new shoes?