Nike and RTFKT play with physical fashion for virtual worlds | WARC | The Feed
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Nike and RTFKT play with physical fashion for virtual worlds
Digital twins are a major ambition for the emerging suite of technologies that are coming to be known as the ‘metaverse’ – now Nike-owned digital product firm RTFKT is bringing out a physical and digital hoodie that could pave the way for a more sophisticated take on digital products.
Why it matters
It’s an interesting time in crypto, as physical summer meets a crypto winter – a sharp downturn in what had otherwise been an extremely frothy market. Last December, when Nike acquired RTFKT, the market was hot for NFTs, but WARC’s report hypothesised that a critical aspect of bringing such a company into the Nike mothership was to explore ways of linking physical items to digital identity, with an eye on the vast resale market.
While interesting, it’s important to point out that this is not yet mass-market with avatars at $17,000. But it is an example of early interest from a leading brand that is likely to have a big influence over the coming physical/digital product space as it gives it a chance to set much-needed standards in digital twinning.
Blockchains aren’t necessarily the best way to do this, but RTFKT is using the Ethereum protocol. It’s vital to note that this system uses vast quantities of energy, and that any brands looking to get involved must weigh this impact very carefully. While the systems are shifting, the transition is expected to take years.
First teased in May, this week the two brands are launching a new physical/digital collaboration. Titled the RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis hoodie, the item is both a physical hoodie and a digital token available only to the owners of a previous CloneX token drop (there exist about 20,000 of these avatars, most of which cost north of $17,000 in real money) and Cryptokicks owners (12,000, priced at over $1,000).
- The AR component comes from the ability of the garment to show up with the wearer sporting virtual wings.
- Hoodies will also feature NFC (near-field communication) chips that link the digital NFT (non-fungible token) and the garment.
- Buyers will likely have to part with around $250 worth of the Ethereum currency.
In a fascinating overview from Vogue Business, RTFKT has also broken new ground with the CloneX drop. Owners of these NFTs are now privy to the intellectual property, meaning they have access to 3D design files that they can then use in their own digital creations that, should they wish to, they can then monetise.
This is, effectively, an early foray into interoperability. At this stage, that interoperability between systems isn’t baked in, but if the user has enough technical nous, they can do it themselves. It’s interesting to see a brand like Nike willing to follow its acquisition’s guidance by opening up its creative property.
Sourced from RTFKT, WARC, OpenSea, Vogue Business. [Image: RTFKT]
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