Adidas, Gucci, and Prada: Big Brands Joining Web3
Since the 2021 NFT and metaverse hype wave, many big brands have been trying to establish themselves in the Web3 space, believing in the future of blockchain technologies and their upcoming adoption. Adidas, Gucci, and Prada are some of the businesses with already established, strong brand equities in the clothing industry that saw an opportunity and began offering their Web3 products in this yet-to-be-clearly pictured space.
Into the Metaverse: Adidas’ Positioning in Web3
In December 2021, Adidas sold 30,000 Into the Metaverse (ITM) NFTs that guaranteed the owners access to the company’s upcoming products, both physical and digital. Notably, Adidas made 22 million dollars in several hours, selling out the ITM NFTs. Some of the most prominent NFT pioneers, including Gmoney, PUNKS Comic, and Bored Ape Yacht Club are guiding Adidas on its Web3 journey and collaborating along the way with the brand.
The initial roadmap of ITM was divided into three main phases: during the first, NFT holders were invited to claim limited edition merchandise for free, in the upcoming second phase holders can expect a mysterious airdrop, marking the start of ITM universe and its further development with the help of the community in phase three. The initial Phase one ITM NFTs served as a ticket to claim the merch. The NFTs had to be burned in order to get the physical clothes for free, which included an iconic adicolor Firebird Tracksuit, a graphic hoodie, and Gmoney’s signature orange beanie. After successfully claiming the physical items and burning the phase one NFT, users entered the second phase, receiving another NFT - Adidas Originals: Capsule Collection as an airdrop. Its holders are now eligible for the second phase offerings.
The ITM holders also had an opportunity to participate in an experimental, first-of-a-kind project called Adidas for Prada Re-Source, created by two brands in collaboration with Zach Liberman, a prominent new media artist. The ITM holders, who signed up for the project’s raffle, had a chance to become one of 3,000 contributors to a large-scale artwork by uploading a photo. The photographs were then compiled by Zach Liberman into a mass-patchwork NFT and sold via an auction on SuperRare.
In April 2022, Adidas Originals teased a new virtual Ozworld experience in collaboration with Ready Player Me, a Web3 avatar-creation platform. The Ozworld Experience allowed users to create unique avatars using the world’s first personality-based AI to generate virtual beings. After the avatar creation, people were able to see their digital twin and even try on digital sneakers from the collection. Adidas’ NFT holders will have early access to the platform once it will be released. However, it is still unclear when this digital experience will launch.
As of the posting of this article October 21, 2022, the Ozworld website is currently down. There is no news as to why this has occurred, how long it has been going on, or when it will be live again.
Gucci Exploring the Metaverse
“We think that Web3 and NFTs are a real breakthrough and we want to be pioneers on that” - Gregory Boutte, Chief Client and Digital Officer at Kering (The corporation that owns such luxury brands as Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.) "To test and learn, we want to experiment with new models that could transform our sector and shape tomorrow's Luxury. Even if it is still early days, entering the metaverse gives us real know-how about this new trend, as we want to be well positioned and ready when it reaches scale."
There is no doubt that the world’s biggest luxury brands would want to carry their brand equities along with loyal fashion enthusiasts to the virtual worlds, especially, when the possibilities to design and create are limitless. Moreover, scarcity, being easily manipulated for better or worse, thanks to the underlying NFT technology, is another instrument that will come in handy for luxury fashion brands to offer limited editions of virtual clothes, apparel, decorations, etc.
In February this year, Gucci released its first NFT collection of 1000 pieces in collaboration with Superplastic, a leading character-based product, and entertainment company. The collection was co-designed by Gucci’s head of design, Alessandro Michele. Each NFT holder received a handmade ceramic sculpture from the fashion brand.
Later this year, Gucci acquired $25,000 worth of RARE tokens in order to join SuperRareDAO and open an exhibit of collectible NFT artworks, called Vault Art Space. The brand’s first exhibition, “The Next 100 Years of Gucci” showcases a selection of NFT artworks by 29 prominent artists, all of which represent Gucci’s heritage and its future.
Prada Merging Real World with NFTs
After Prada joined the crowd of luxury brands launching NFTs in its experimental project in collaboration with Adidas, the brand decided to extend its presence in the Web3 space. In June, Prada airdropped 100 NFTs to the buyers of its Timecapsule drop, limited edition physical merch in collaboration with Cassius Hirst, the son of a famous British artist. The NFTs represent pill capsules, colored in line with the color of shirts purchased, and refer to the drop’s serial number as well as the number on each physical shirt.
Prada introduced its Timecapsule drops back in 2019 as a way to sell the brand’s limited edition items. Interestingly, Prada promised to airdrop NFTs for each of the previous drops, most likely signifying that the brand is looking to stick with blockchain technology and implement it for all future limited-edition drops. Prada, as well as its customers, would therefore be able to benefit from product authentication via NFTs.