Nike, the latest fashion icon, enters the metaverse with a new virtual trading platform

Fashion giant Nike has announced that it is creating its own space in the metaverse by launching a digital commerce platform.

Named after the iconic Nike logo, the platform will be called .Swoosh (pronounced “dot swoosh”), where users will be able to “collect, trade and flex” virtual Nike products.

Nike will release its first collection of products on .Swoosh in January, said Ron Faris, general manager of Nike Virtual Studios.

However, unlike a normal retailer, buyers cannot wear these items in real life.

Instead, these items will be entirely virtual, similar to NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and various forms of cryptocurrency. Like Nike, fashion brands Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga are also entering the online-only clothing game.

Would you buy shoes that you physically cannot wear?

Shoppers can’t wear these Nike items in the Metaverse just yet, as the brand says members will be able to wear them in video games and digital experiences “soon.”

However, it is not clear on which websites or platforms .Swoosh assets will be compatible.

Nike says some users will also have the opportunity to collaborate on the design of real Nike products and even earn a percentage of royalties.

The platform is currently in beta testing, registration to join opened on November 18th.

“Safe, Trusted Space”

Nike wants .Swoosh to be more than a trading platform.

It aims to be a space for community interaction, calling it a “safe, trusted space” where Nike fans can “create, share and benefit together.”

Nike has previously plunged into the Metaverse on other platforms.

The brand made its Metaverse debut in 2019 under sneaker brand Jordan, which released a collection of virtual sneakers in the hugely popular video game Fortnite.

Nike has also engaged sneakerheads in “Nikeland” – a metaverse space created by the brand on Roblox, a popular video game platform with over 55 million daily active users.

Within Nikeland, users could purchase virtual goods to carry around the Roblox world using in-game currency.

Nike also had a presence on NFT marketplace OpenSea earlier this year, where it showcased its hugely popular CryptoKicks NFT collection.

Nike fans paid up to six figures for a single pair of virtual shoes, with the company making a US$3.1 million (AU$4.62 million) profit from the project.

But it looks like these virtual ventures may soon become obsolete with the launch of .Swoosh, as it aims to become Nike’s exclusive home for its digital Web3 endeavors.

Mr. Faris told Wired UK that the company has not yet finalized what will happen to Nikeland.

Virtual Reality Race

Nike is far from the only fashion brand exploring the world of virtual fashion.

While digital clothing and shoes may seem like unnecessary frills, it’s becoming increasingly common for fashion brands to embark on the metaverse.

Gucci is considered one of the leaders in this field and has already launched a pair of digital kicks in 2021.

The sneakers were quite a catch, selling for just $17.99 compared to typical Gucci prices of over $500.

Designed by Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele, the Virtual 25 sneakers can be worn on VRChat or Roblox.

And they certainly made a statement with the chunky sneakers, which only come in a lime green, pink and aqua colorway combo.

Gucci has also invested in virtual land, announcing in February that it had bought land in The Sandbox Metaverse – a digital real estate platform.

On its virtual lot is the Gucci “Vault”, the fashion giant’s own digital retail store.

The Gucci Vault houses his many crypto and NFT projects, which officially opened to the public on October 27th and closed on November 9th.

And it wasn’t just a marketplace – The Vault was also an opportunity for users to learn more about the history and legacy of the iconic fashion house.

Meta, formerly Facebook, is unsurprisingly going down the path of virtual fashion.

The company announced a full rebrand back in October 2021 and has devoted much of its energy to expanding its presence in the metaverse.

In June this year, the company announced that users can buy digital fashions for their brand new meta marketplace to use on their avatars in Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and VR landscapes.

Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne have all joined Meta’s virtual business.

High fashion labels Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne have all committed to selling their collections worn on meta avatars.

However, Meta says it has yet to figure out how to give its VR avatars legs and feet, which could prove to be a problem for fashion houses hoping to flaunt their shoe options.

And the virtual outfits are a fraction of what it costs to wear designers in the real world. Avatar Shop items will initially range from $2.99 ​​(US$4.40) to $8.99 (US$13.40).

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