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  • Writer's pictureEugenie Mae

Gucci Vault is in The Sandbox

Gucci has launched an experimental space for NFTs, vintage items and emerging creators in The Sandbox, making it the first major luxury brand to build its own world in the metaverse platform.

Gucci's virtual world is now open on digital real estate platform The Sandbox, expanding its Gucci Vault metaverse hub and making it the first major fashion brand to have its own space on the platform.

Called Gucci Vault Land, the virtual world is open from today until 9 November. Designed to be a landing space for all of Gucci's "multiverse" and Web3 efforts, the world will be home to curated NFT artwork, Gucci's previous NFTs, its community, its garden concept (users enter the space via a "Garden of Curiosities") and the brand's vintage pieces, which will be on display, though not for sale. The space also gamifies education about Gucci's heritage and products.

Gucci first announced in February that it had purchased digital real estate on The Sandbox, and planned to open its own "interactive fashion experience" on the platform. The Sandbox typically opens these types of experiences within fixed time frames, called seasons; Season 3 began in August. Gucci is notably launching the world outside of the season framework, underscoring the standalone pull Gucci's presence brings to the platform.

It's the first major fashion brand reveal for The Sandbox, where Gucci-partner Adidas has also purchased and is developing real estate. (In June, NYX Cosmetics opened an off-season experience for Pride). Gucci has been the first luxury brand to use many metaverse and Web3 technologies: It was the first luxury brand to make an NFT (in May 2021) and its Gucci Garden on Roblox that same month was the first of its kind, resulting in a Webby award. It's launched its own community on Discord, which it plans to carry over into The Sandbox world.

Similar to its ongoing Roblox space called Gucci Town, Gucci Vault Land is centred around a "play-to-know" narrative – a riff on the increasingly-popular "play-to-earn" format, wherein users complete activities to earn blockchain-based tokens or rewards. Visitors will be invited to complete gamified tasks that educate on its "core pillars", such as restoring vintage handbags in the Vault Vintage Lab and solving a riddle in the Vault Room of Rhyme. All of these mini-games will bring players closer to the chance to win The Sandbox-organised raffle for a Sand utility token, which is the Ethereum-based currency of The Sandbox, used throughout the platform.

Through these gamified steps, the brand aims to educate the Web3 community on Gucci's heritage, exposing users to different elements of the Vault's pillars such as vintage, emerging designers and Web3 activations.

It also expects to draw non-native users, and recognises the potential need for hand-holding for those newer to metaverse experiences. NPCs (non-playable characters) will wander throughout Gucci Vault Land, ready to help players throughout the activities. In addition to the mini-games, there are digital collectible NFTs for players to win, which they can then wear in other Sandbox lands; think hats, skate ramps, and a car. There's an extra perk for Gucci's metaverse loyalists: Gucci Vault NFT holders (including Supergucci and the Gucci Grail NFT) will be airdropped a Gucci Vault Aura collectible, which their avatars can wear throughout The Sandbox, showing off their Gucci loyalty in a new metaverse space.

Fashion brands have been quick to begin experimenting in the metaverse and with NFTs, but these activations will be put to the test as Forrester predicts a "metaverse winter" as hype cools off. For now, Gucci's continued commitment to firsts in the metaverse indicates the long-term value the brand sees in the digital space.

"Gucci is not afraid to be a first mover in many areas and will continue to adopt this mindset and challenge the status quo." Gucci's strategy was not – and still isn't – about playing it safe.

"Other big players prefer instead to wait, following up at a later stage, adopting a more conversative approach – a respectable strategy, but it is not ours and it never will be."

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