Balenciaga is Launching a Metaverse Division
Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Amid all the FOMO from brands diving deep into the NFT and metaverse space. Balenciaga is now rolling out their own virtual division which one of their moves focused on the development of products, projects and experiences designed to be metaverse ready. “Right now, the climax of interaction with a luxury brand is that you click like, or comment or you buy something,” Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit.
Balenciaga’s push to further explore the avenues provided by the virtual world comes as the metaverse continues to take a more prominent place in companies’ branding efforts, potentially setting the stage for these experiences and virtual goods to add real might to brands’ and luxury goods powerhouses’ revenue-generating activities. With the open metaverse being a tokenised world where everything is ownable and tradeable through a marketplace like Opensea or the soon to launch Coinbase NFT, the interaction between brand experience and the customer takes on a new life as its very much uncharted territory. Experiences within this new realm are built completely different compared to those that we have been used to.
Gucci, for instance, launched a garden-themed virtual pop up on Roblox in the spring of 2020, a move that enabled Roblox’s daily active user base (50 million active users) to immerse themselves in Alessandro Michele’s creative vision and share the captivating experience of the exhibition with their friends. At the same time, they could, of course, win and/or purchase, and then wear exclusive Gucci virtual items. This provides never before seen value to digital items created by brands. Your digital self or avatar will matter a lot we become more digitised and "flex" culture now can flourish in the digital world.
After unveiling their virtual world game experience, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, Balenciaga has since followed suit with their Epic Games collab on the blockbuster title Fortnite for a collection of both in-game apparel and accessories, as well as physical merch. In this race to see who will be at the forefront of the move to include digital endeavors in the luxury industry’s traditionally-tangible focus, Saint Laurent is looking to get a piece of the pie with their new trademark applications for registration that cover things like “connected clothing, smart clothing, connected footwear, and smart footwear” among other unrevealed plans.
Nike has been garnering widespread attention in connection with the launch of an experience of its own within the Roblox metaverse called Nikeland, and filing a number of applications for the newly-revealed trademark for use on “downloadable virtual goods,” “on-line, non-downloadable virtual footwear,” and “an interactive website and computer application software for virtual reality game services,” etc.
And not to be outdone, rival sportswear titan adidas revealed in mid-November that it acquired space on virtual gaming platform The Sandbox, and teased a partnership with cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase. It did not stop there; the Three-Stripes announced a multi-faceted metaverse project on November 29 that sees it join forces with the non-fungible-token brand Bored Ape Yacht Club, NFT comic series Punks Comic, and cryptocurrency investor Gmoney.
How will this play out in the next couple of years? Only time can tell. But stay with us as we continue to provide more information within the space that may benefit your brand as the shift to tokenised experiences continue.