Gucci may not have been part of the recent Milan Fashion Week but that doesn’t mean it has been sitting idle. In a new move, it has just released a range of digital-only sneakers as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Eyeing the lucrative world of high-end sneakers, and keeping pace with the latest virtual trends, the Italian fashion house has teamed up with fashion-tech specialists Wanna on a range of augmented reality (AR) sneakers. Sold as a package of 25 different styles, all designed by Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele, the set costs $11.99 on Gucci’s website, and just $8.99 through Wanna.
This is actually the second time Gucci and Wanna have worked together. Previously, Wanna created the virtual sneakers that customers could 'try on' via Gucci's app. Industry leaders in the field, Wanna has also worked with Reebok, Snapchat and Puma to create virtual clothing.
Gucci, too, is making inroads into the virtual fashion world, having already created looks for the gaming platform, Roblox, and game Drest, as well as for Sims 4, Pokemon and Zepeto, the 3D social media app.
By creating these virtual kicks, Gucci is aiming to tap into the latest cryptocurrency of NFTs, which assigns a unique and verifiable code to create a one-of-a-kind digital asset, which can then be bought or sold on blockchain.
While this is still a new concept, it is already gaining traction with people hoping to mimic the riches found elsewhere in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Recently, the artist Beeple sold a digital collage of images as a NFT at Christies for $69 million, while a crude, 10-year-old GIF of a cat / Pop Tart hybrid called Nyan Cat has just sold for $600,000. The founder of Twitter meanwhile, Jack Dorsey, is currently inviting bids for the NFT of his first ever tweet. Bidding presently stands at $2.5 million.
While the NFT world is still very new, it has a vast potential that fashion is eager to explore. Technically, Gucci's new range of sneakers is not actually NFTs, which specifies uniqueness.
Gucci openly aims to release thousands of packages to try and make it accessible to as many as possible. What the long-term effect of this is will be, no one yet knows, as Gucci is experimenting with a totally new approach.
If these virtual kicks will trigger the same re-sale frenzy as their physical counterparts is equally unknown, but one thing is clear - this is the beginning of a whole new chapter in fashion.