- A virtual Gucci bag sold for around $4,115 on Roblox, which is around $500 more than the cost of the physical bag.
- The sale is part of a larger and growing trend: virtual fashion.
- From millions in venture funds to big brands going virtual, digital fashion is a space to watch.
What is a $4,000 Gucci handbag made of?
Pixels, of course.
Last week, someone spent 350,000 Robux, the currency used on popular online gaming platform Roblox, for a virtual Gucci shoulder bag. In the physical world, that converts to $4,115 – in real life, the same Gucci bag costs around $3,400.
The bag, which is tan in color and adorned with a giant bee, was sold at a Gucci-sponsored event on Roblox. While Gucci originally sold the bag for 380 Robux (about $6), it has become a hot commodity in the secondary market, where Roblox users can resell their items for any price. Since the Gucci handbag was “limited,” meaning it would no longer be sold after supplies ran out, players marked up the price by huge markups.
“This Roblox purse is not an NFT and therefore has no value/use/transferability outside of the Roblox world – but it is worth more than the physical purse”, tweeted investor Alexis Ohanian. “Watch this place.”
—AlexisOhanian.eth 7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) May 24, 2021
It’s a sign of what some investors have long predicted: the future of fashion could be digital.
Companies like The Dematerialized and RTFKT Studios sell everything from outfits for digital avatars to clothes you can edit in photos and videos. For the XR Couture startup, you choose your favorite items from their store and submit a photo of yourself. They send you the same photo again, but with an Instagram-ready outfit edited over your previous clothes.
It can be hard to imagine spending thousands of dollars on clothes you can’t physically wear, but people’s lives are increasingly shifting to virtual spaces – a VC has suggested some vanity will inevitably follow .
“People are engaging on more and more digital platforms,” said Mark Batsiyan, partner at Inspired Capital. “The more consumers are present on these platforms, the more they begin to consider their individual appearance when online.”
Virtual fad goes hand in hand with the latest crypto craze, non-fungible tokens. NFTs use blockchain technology to create unique, immutable files. Many virtual fashion companies, like The Dematerialised, turn their clothes into NFTs to create scarcity and retain brand value.
VCs are just beginning to provide substantial funding to these companies. Batsiyan said his company is currently considering several virtual fashion startups, while Andreessen Horowitz recently led an $8 million seed round for RTFKT Studios, which sells virtual sneakers.
Karinna Nobbs, co-founder of virtual fashion company The Dematerialised, attributed the sudden interest in digital clothing to the pandemic. Since most brands have been forced to sell digitally and consumers have socialized extensively online, she said there was a big “moment of a penny drop”. More people than ever before have suddenly realized how important the virtual world is.
Legacy brands, in particular, have started to show a keen interest in the space. Batsiyan said his business specifically focuses on businesses that can “build brand relationships with key fashion and platform partners,” like Gucci’s Roblox event, Balenciaga creating its own video game, or RTFKT Studios teaming up with Atari for a sneaker collaboration.
Nobbs said virtual fashion “offers unlimited potential for new aesthetics and experiences.” The virtual Gucci bag, for example, was sold in a sprawling “Gucci Garden,” a maze of flashing lights and daisies scattered across Roblox.
Virtual fashion is no longer just for gamers or crypto natives: Companies outside the “metaverse” (a term for a shared virtual world) are paying close attention to digital brands, while consumers are spending a lot of money. money for digital items.
As RTFKT Studios wrote in an email to Insider, her clothes are “ten times more expensive than Gucci on the metaverse” — followed by a smiley.