Gucci Is Selling $12 (Virtual) Sneakers


In collaboration with fashion-tech company Wanna, the Italian house is debuting a digital sneaker, available to purchase for $11.99 on its app or $8.99 on Wanna’s app.

Designed by creative director Alessandro Michele, the sneaker is also the first original digital product from Belarus-based Wanna, which specialises in using augmented reality (AR) to create 3D models for digital fittings of sneakers and watches. So far, the app’s technology has been used by Reebok, Farfetch, Puma and Snapchat to test out how consumers engage with virtual try-ons, and perhaps more importantly, taking photos of themselves with new products using augmented reality.

The brand previously worked with Wanna to digitalise its sneaker catalogue for AR try-ons as well as integrating the capabilities within the brand’s own Gucci app.

The frenzy around digital-only products has grown in recent weeks, in part due to the large sales of digital assets in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the rise in online gaming and the continued pandemic e-commerce boom.

Wanna co-founder and CEO Sergey Arkhangelskiy is confident in the digital fashion market and the company is looking to expand beyond shoes and watches to clothing. He also predicts AR technology like Wanna’s will be further integrated into brands and retailers’ online shops.

“In five or maybe 10 years a relatively big chunk of fashion brands revenue will come from digital products,” he said. “Our goal as a company is to actually supersede the product photos … and substitute it for something which is way more engaging and closer to offline shopping.”

Gucci has rapidly expanded its presence in the world of virtual clothing, collaborating with gaming platform Roblox, fashion styling game Drest, 3D social media app Zepeto, Sims 4 and Pokemon to create products and branded avatar items. Though purchased through the Gucci app, the sneakers can be “worn” in other virtual worlds on Roblox and virtual reality chat.

The virtual sneakers are largely targeted towards a digitally-native Gen Z audience, consumers that hold interest in the sneaker market but may not be able to afford physical Gucci products. Instead, they can spend $9 or $11 on the shoes for gaming and social media posts. And while NFT products rely on a one-of-one, minted asset, the virtual Gucci sneakers are unlimited and interchangeable for consumers.

Unlike the physical sneaker market, however, the secondary market for digital products is still nascent: resale or gifted products aren’t currently possible through Apple, meaning those that buy Gucci’s digital shoes won’t be able to flip them later on StockX. Resale in particular is an important area; the market for sneakers is a key part of the industry and an opportunity for further revenue and engagement among consumers. Arkhangelskiy said Wanna is working to develop trading capabilities, as well as limited-edition digital products that are in some ways similar to the NFT approach.

However, he acknowledges that the digital product space still has much room to grow. He’s cautious of the NFT market, citing the hurdles in setting up bitcoin wallets and purchasing on blockchain for consumers.

“It’s not very user friendly,” he said. As for the development of digital products, “we’re on the very early stages of this.”

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Gucci’s New Sneakers are $12 (But They Only Exist Digitally)


Over the past few weeks, a new term has bubbled up on the internet. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have become the subject of explainers and DIY art world think pieces, and the increased attention is causing NFT prices to skyrocket. Naturally, luxury brands are circling the wider trend of people paying real money for items that only exist as data. Gucci continues to lead the way in expanding its product offerings into the virtual market with its new sneaker, designed by Alessandro Michele himself. Though the product is not technically an NFT, it is one that only exists digitally. This begs the question: would you pay for Gucci shoes that exist only on your smartphone?

Gucci’s new sneakers will cost $9 to $12, reported Business of Fashion. It is, essentially, a photo filter that superimposes the sneaker onto the user’s feet using AR technology, and was created in collaboration with Wanna, a Belarusian design studio. It will be available for purchase exclusively on Gucci’s mobile app, and users can flex them on a variety of other digital spaces and game avatars, including Roblox. Gucci also plans on creating limited-edition “shoes,” which will encourage a resale market and trading boom among collectors.

Such technology is currently used by other footwear brands and retailers to allow consumers to visualize how the shoe would look prior to purchase — simply point your smartphone at your foot, and the AR tech drops the shoe onto your screen. This product is distinct, in that the filter is usable outside of the retail environment; as the technology becomes more popular, expect to see different platforms offering avenues to display your digital kicks.

The Italian brand had previously attempted something similar by offering digital Gucci clothing you could buy for your Pokémon Go avatar to wear. They are not completely alone in the space either. Louis Vuitton has designed skins for League of Legends.

Though, it remains to be seen if other brands will enter the digital space with similar offerings? $15 Bottega Veneta Cassette bags for your Animal Crossing avatar? $5 Byredo makeup Instagram filters? The possibilities are endless.

El NFT de Gucci son unas zapatillas virtuales de 12 millones de dólares


El interés por los NFT ya no solo interesa a los artistas digitales, también a las marcas de ropa y accesorios de lujo. Gucci acaba de lanzar su propio NFT: unas zapatillas virtuales que puedes «usar» como si fueran un filtro de Instagram. Por más absurdo que parezca, su propuesta podría alcanzar un valor de entre 9 y 12 millones de dólares, según informa Business of Fashion.

Desde luego, el NFT de Gucci se apoya en la realidad aumentada para hacerlo posible. Además, las zapatillas virtuales fueron creadas en colaboración con Wanna, un estudio de diseño de Bielorrusia. Si te sobran 12 millones de dólares y quieres tener el filtro más caro de la historia en tu teléfono, lo único que debes hacer es ingresar a la aplicación móvil de Gucci y comprarlo. No habrá otra manera de obtenerlo.

Según la firma, los compradores igualmente podrán usar sus zapatillas en «otros espacios digitales», incluyendo personajes de videojuegos. De hecho, a principios de 2021 unieron fuerzas con Pokémon GO para ofrecer una línea de prendas digitales. Ojo, porque este filtro no será la única propuesta de Gucci en lo que se refiere a los NFT. Su plan es lanzar una línea completa de productos digitales, entre ellos unos zapatos edición limitada que se darán a conocer en el futuro próximo.

Cabe mencionar que esta no es la primera vez que una marca de ropa aprovecha la realidad aumentada para que las personas «prueben» sus productos de manera virtual. Y es que durante la pandemia varias empresas se unieron a esta tendencia debido a que los clientes no podían salir de casa. No obstante, Gucci identificó una oportunidad de negocio muy distinta que seguramente le dará resultados. El interés que existe por los NFT se ha incrementado exponencialmente en las últimas semanas.

Los NFT apenas están despegando

Sin ir más lejos, Beeple, uno de los artistas digitales más reconocidos, sacudió internet el pasado 11 de marzo al vender su NFT por 69 millones de dólares a través de la casa de subastas británica Christie’s. Everydays: The First 5000 Days, como Beeple nombró a su NFT, es un lienzo de 21.069 x 21.069 píxeles compuesto por cientos de creaciones del artista. Esto es tan solo el comienzo de los NFT.