With a16z investment, NFT virtual fashion brand RTFKT sells virtual sneakers out of stock

NFT virtual fashion brand RTFKT has closed an $8 million round of funding led by a16z, with participation from C Ventures, Galaxy Digital, Shrug Capital, Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill, Behance co-founder Scott Belsky, artist Fewocious, and former LVMH chief digital officer Ian Rogers. Fewocious, and Ian Rogers, former Chief Digital Officer of LVMH, participated in the round.

Following bold moves such as virtual idols, online fashion weeks, new collections released in collaboration with games, and clothing stores in Kinetic Mori, luxury fashion brands’ exploration of the virtual world seems to have finally landed on the core product trade.

According to Fashion Business Express, virtual fashion trend brand RTFKT Studios recently collaborated with 18-year-old crypto artist Fewocious to launch three NFT sneakers priced at $3,000, $5,000 and $10,000, respectively. 621 pairs of shoes quickly sold out within seven minutes of hitting the shelves, netting RTFKT Studios and Fewocious $3.1 The 621 pairs sold out in 7 minutes, netting RTFKT Studios and Fewocious $3.1 million.

Although the average selling price of RTFKT Studios and Fewocious co-branded virtual sneakers is not high compared to last August’s Air Jordan pair that ended up selling for a whopping $615,000, it has sparked curiosity in the industry.

NFT full name Non-Fungible Token,, characterized by uniqueness, can be understood as proof of ownership of rare digital art, representing the financialization of digital goods, consumers can use cryptocurrencies such as Ether to buy related products, each transaction will be recorded, not only to ensure that goods will not be copied or codified, each resale creators This means that RTFKT Studios will not only ensure that the products will not be copied or codified, but also that the creators will receive a certain amount of revenue every time they resell them.

This means that RTFKT Studios’ sneakers are not physical, and buyers will not be able to wear or touch their purchases, but rather “wear” them on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms through custom AR filters.

But according to RTFKT co-founder Benoit Pagotto, they have invited two former employees of British century-old footwear brand Clarks to turn Fewocious’ designs into real sneakers, which will be shipped to consumers who have purchased the virtual versions in April.

RTFKT Studios was founded in London, UK in 2020 by Chris Le, Benoit Pagotto and Wissam AI-Madhon, with a focus on sneakers, 3D, skin design, AR, AI, blockchain, NFT, digital fashion and innovative game design. The products they design are regularly auctioned off online and users bid on them using digital currency, similar to gamers buying props and skins.

With a16z investment, NFT virtual fashion brand RTFKT sells virtual sneakers out of stock
With a16z investment, NFT virtual fashion brand RTFKT sells virtual sneakers out of stock

RTFKT Studios sneakers on sale are not physical

According to RTFKT Studios’ public profile, the three founders have previously provided designs and concepts for gaming companies and some fashion brands, and originally planned to launch the RTFKT project only in 2040, but the rapid rise in digital awareness after the epidemic made them decide to bring the idea forward to reality.

What made RTFKT Studios a hit was a photo of Tesla founder Elon Musk wearing virtual sneakers to an event. Inspired by the Cybertruck, Tesla’s electric pickup truck, the virtual shoes designed by RTFKT Studios were eventually sold for $15,000 at the time, making Elon Musk the first person to own a virtual sneaker. Currently, the latest price of the shoe has risen to $53,542.

With a16z investment, NFT virtual fashion brand RTFKT sells virtual sneakers out of stock
With a16z investment, NFT virtual fashion brand RTFKT sells virtual sneakers out of stock

What made RTFKT Studios a hit was a photo of Tesla founder Elon Musk wearing virtual sneakers at an event

Another pair of RTFKT Studios’ highly anticipated creations is the Nike Dunk High-inspired virtual shoe, The X Evolution, which has been bought by Whale Shark, a crypto community NFT collector and early BTC investor, for 22 ETH, the highest amount purchased at the time.

After sensing the high acceptance of virtual sneakers in the market, RTFKT Studios also recently collaborated with game maker Atari to launch the NFT METAVERSE series, which included the first virtual apparel METAJACKET in addition to sneakers, in a limited 24-hour auction on March 11 at 13:00 EST, which was also snapped up.

Some analysts believe that when people habitually link their daily lives with social media, they are becoming more and more receptive to virtual fashion, and they are fully able to understand this new trend, so in the eyes of NFT enthusiasts, sneakers that already have collectible value and circulation in real life are also an excellent collectible in the virtual world.

Although sneaker culture can be traced back to the last century when NBA basketball first emerged, it is only in the last five years that it has officially moved from professional to everyday and from niche circles to the masses under the strong invasion of hip-hop culture and the mainstreaming of fashion trends. The ever-appreciating limited edition sneakers have become a serious business through resale, and even “financialized” as an investment and financial tool, which provides the premise for the birth of virtual sneakers.

Since 2019, the phenomenon of shoe speculation caused by rapid warming has attracted increasingly widespread social attention. According to consulting firm Cowen & Co, sneaker resale is expected to become a $6 billion global business in 2025. statista data, on the other hand, shows that the revenue forecast for the sneaker industry in 2019 is $9.52 billion, and the market is expected to continue to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% over the next five years, and this figure will continue to grow.

Faced with this huge potential plate, American sportswear giant Nike was the first to put virtual shoes on the table, announcing a blockchain sneaker called “CryptoKicks” at the end of 2019, which means the brand can attach secure encrypted digital assets to the sneaker through blockchain technology, and then create tokens based on the sneaker A unique ID is generated and tokens are created so that consumers can record ownership of the sneaker and verify its authenticity.

In other words, when a consumer purchases a pair of Nike sneakers, a virtual sneaker is created and a crypto token is assigned, where the virtual sneaker and the crypto token together represent a “CrpytoKicks”. Consumers who have multiple pairs of virtual sneakers can also combine different shoes to create a new pair of sneakers, all of which will be recorded.

New Balance has also previously launched a pilot program, working with IOHK to develop the ” New Balance Realchain” in order to use the blockchain to verify the authenticity of its new sneakers for customers.

But a closer look reveals that RTFKT Studios’ logic is more advanced than theirs. RTFKT Studios is selling virtual products before creating physical ones, i.e., impressing consumers with pioneering designs, and then exploring the combination of physical and digital on top of that, a format that will create a more immersive and profound experience for consumers.

RTFKT Studios also believes that their mode of operation is no different from luxury fashion brands, and that the products are more unique and rare than luxury goods, and that this collaborative collection with Fewocious is like buying co-branded products from Louis Vuitton, Dior and artists for NTF lovers.

According to the information, Fewocious’ family was unfortunate at an early age and it wasn’t until she was 12 that she was able to escape her past with the help of the courts and move in with her grandparents. Her chronically repressed environment led her to choose to express her emotions in the form of art, gradually developing a unique aesthetic style that is both crazy and colorful, with her latest work selling for a final total of $370,000 on the NFT platform Nifty Gateway.

Some analysts say outright that the success of RTFKT Studios in just one year of existence is proof that NFT is even more of a natural traffic pool for luxury brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent and Prada, promising to open up a whole new space for the soon-to-be-saturated luxury fashion industry.

And this trend has been mapped last year, the game developed by Nintendo in March last year, “Collection! Animal Mori Friendship” has become a must for luxury brands to try virtual fashion, Valentino, Coach and Givenchy beauty have launched virtual clothes and accessories on it.

Balenciaga even created a video game, Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, specifically for its Fall 21 collection last December, and Louis Vuitton’s collaborations with League of Legends and Burberry and King’s Quest have also received positive market reactions.

According to a recent study released by Statista, consumers will spend $50 billion on gaming “skins” by the end of 2022, reflecting the fact that consumers also have a taste for fashion in the virtual world. In addition, NFT’s tracking properties may also be a new direction for luxury fashion brands in the future, as counterfeit products have been the biggest pain point in the industry.

Other data shows that the total market value of NFT grew by 50% to $550 million by the end of 2020, with 53,663 unique artworks sold on the five largest crypto art platforms SuperRare, MakersPlace, KnownOrigin, Async Art and Nifty Gateway.

Last week, an NFT painting “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” featuring the first 5,000 works of digital illustration artist Beeple was sold for $69.34 million or about $440 million.

It is certain that in the digital environment, the value of luxury goods is slowly shifting from the craftsmanship and quality of the past to creating an all-encompassing immersive world. the sudden explosion of RTFKT Studios virtual tide brand sneakers has pried open the doors of NFT, and it is only a matter of time before the business of luxury fashion takes root in the virtual world.

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