It seems as though the future we’ve all been talking about, reading about and watching in Sci-Fi films since the ’80s is coming into view at warp-speed. With so many humans fed up of life on this feeble planet, migration to a virtual plane – The Metaverse – is full steam ahead. Beam me up, Scotty!

With products including the world’s very first digital perfume, sales of $125,000 digital jackets and the extremely delicious-looking, totally-inedible Pringles’ CryptoCrisp – which was auctioned off for a tasty $731 – The Metaverse is really gathering pace.

Gucci have been hitting the headlines for their virtual Dionysus bag that just sold on Roblox for $4115, which is more than the real, physical product. And an NFT fashion sale on digital marketplace The Dematerialised between digital fashion house The Fabricant and RTFKT sold out in a mere 11 minutes.

Meanwhile, one Italian artist is striking back at the virtual world with the creation of an invisible statue that exists ‘only in his mind’ – which sold for $18,000. The statue is based on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which proves that even nothing has a weight and, therefore, exists (some people just have too much money).

What do you mean you don’t understand why someone paid $18,000 for this piece of art? You’re so not with the times.

 

Branded virtual hangouts, games and digital retail spaces gave brands a chance to connect with their customers over lockdown, and the phenomenon has now given way to an explosion of brand worlds popping up online.

Gucci have entered the metaverse in style, with their virtual two-week Gucci Garden exhibition on gaming platform Roblox, where players can explore the world of Gucci’s latest designs and buy rare virtual clothes for their avatars.

Havaianas have a history of gaming collaborations, and have now joined forces with Fortnite to launch a flip-flop shaped in-game area called Havaianas Summer Island.

If you’d rather a pair of the actual things, then you can get your hands/feet on a pair of the Havaianas-Fortnite collection, which is available to buy IRL.

Inspired by well-loved 90s game Simcity, SK-II has also just launched their hyper-realistic world, SK-II City, which allows players to virtually explore destinations in Japan and earn currency or ‘miracle drops’ while interacting within the digital city.

Gucci is keeping things niche in the weird and wonderful world of Gucci Garden, with butterflies that flutter around your flower-sprouting avatar’s head.

 

The bang in the NFT market is getting bigger (and more bizarre) by the day, with exclusivity and tradability driving both demand and hype.

eBay became the first e-com company to allow the sale of NFTs last month, and Dapper Labs have created a marketplace for virtual avatar clothing, with the ambitious goal of becoming the “Amazon of Digital Wearable NFTs”.

Digital fashion store Dress X is paving the way for sustainable fashion by cutting out the clothing part entirely: submit a photo of yourself trying on an item and they’ll send you a digital photo back, ready to share online.

And if clothes you can’t actually wear doesn’t take your fancy, how about a digital perfume you can’t actually smell? Look Labs have created the world’s first NFT virtual perfume: an artwork made by recording the molecular wavelengths of a scent. The real Cyber Eau de Parfum launches later this month.

digital perfume
The scent apparently combines ‘gender-less, metallic, retro, and futuristic elements, all in one’ – sounds delicious.

 

If all of the above is still a little too farfetched for your liking, fear not: a host of brands are using virtual technology to make IRL that little bit more exciting.

Google is working on something rather magical to recreate the feeling of being with a loved one: Project Starline is a next-gen video chat booth that brings to life whoever is on the other end of the call, as though they’re actually there in front of you, in hyper-realistic, life-sized 3D.

Back in the art world, Snapchat and Los Angeles County Museum of Art have created Monumental Perspectives: an AR experience that allows you to explore the history of LA’s monuments and murals, all through your Snapchat lens.

With so many loved ones apart from us over the past year, this will strike an emotional chord with many. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

 

If you’re struggling to get your head around the explosion of virtual worlds, well, this is just the tip of a very big, imaginary iceberg – and the opportunities for brands will no doubt be unlimited. 

In other brand news, if you haven’t already, check out our latest, 100% real project with Under Armour – their most premium flagship store to date – which opened its doors in The Dubai Mall last month.

Under Armour

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