Dolce and Gabbana, Nike and Adidas are among the brands that design clothing for the virtual world, with each piece being sold as a non-fungible token (NFT), but critics say the prices are “out of proportion.”
Fashion fans pay thousands of dollars… for clothes that only exist online.
Digital togs can be used to dress up cartoon versions of participants in virtual worlds.
A £ 9,000 golf outfit is just one of the items available online, and a matching Tam O’Shanter hat will set you back another £ 2,300.
For £ 9,000 you can also get a tracksuit covered with the Decentraland Games logo, which can be worn in Decentraland – one of the most developed virtual worlds on the internet.
Designer brands are also jumping into the mind-boggling new trend, with Dolce & Gabbana, Nike and Adidas all producing clobber for the virtual world.
Each item of clothing is sold as an NFT – or non-fungible token – which can be bought and sold in real life like a painting or other valuable item.
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An industry source said, “Real-world fashion can seem crazy at times with some of the outfits going for ridiculous money, but it’s a whole new realm.
“We’re talking about people paying thousands of dollars for something that only exists as pixels on a screen. It’s incredible.”
So far, D&G has auctioned off nine digital designer pieces for a tantalizing total of £ 4.2million.
The lots included The Glass Suit – a green and silver outfit that sold for £ 740,000, as well as an actual version of the costume.
In March, the first Virtual Fashion Week will take place – in the real world. And virtual sportswear is also expected to become a big business.
Nike bought tech company RTFKT, recently valued at £ 25million, to help them create and sell virtual trainers.
And Adidas has partnered with two companies to bring their Originals line to cyberspace.
Technical consultant Grace Rachmany said, “Selling clothing in games is here to stay, but I think the prices are out of proportion right now.
“A lot of people have money in cryptocurrencies that they won’t withdraw because they will have to pay taxes, so to them it’s like play money.”
The renewed interest in NFT comes after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company’s future lay in the “metaverse” – a virtual 3D world.
There, users can play games, shop, interact with friends, and even hold business meetings while wearing virtual reality glasses, if they wish.
Decentraland, which has its own cryptocurrency, recently made headlines when ‘real estate’ land sold for £ 1.7million.
But the real criminals also benefit. Todd Kramer, of the Ross + Kramer Gallery in New York City, spent £ 1.6million on NFT cartoon monkeys from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, only to have them stolen by a hacker.
AZ on digital NFTs
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are one of the world’s biggest internet follies.
While some pundits say they are the future of the art and fashion world, others believe investors will suffer the same fate as those who exploded during the dot-com boom 20 years ago. years – to lose heavily.
An NFT is a unique unit of computer data stored in a special piece of code called a blockchain. It can be associated with a digital asset such as a video, a photo, a quote or even an outfit.
The fact that they have a unique signature means that they are finished and can be bought and sold as works of art or real world collectibles.
A blockchain allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to exist because it records in a digital ledger proof that a token has changed hands.
While for cryptocurrencies each token has the same value as a £ 1 coin, NFTs all have different values depending on how much people are willing to spend on them – like paintings or antiques.
The first known NFT was a digital graphic called Quantum designed in 2014 by artist Kevin McCoy and his wife Jennifer. He sold the artwork to entrepreneur Anil Dash at a presentation for just £ 2.95 but is now believed to be worth over £ 5million.
Niche technology only became mainstream in 2021 with a series of high-profile sales.
Artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold his piece Everydays: the First 5000 Days for $ 69.3 million in a sale that rocked the art world.
Since then, major artists such as David Hockney and Jeff Koons, and singer Grimes, have sold NFTs for colossal sums of money.