The ambitious digital fashion house, which is at the forefront of creative self-expression and futuristic fashion, uses the latest in game engines, NFT, blockchain authentication and augmented reality, combined with manufacturing expertise, to create one-of-a-kind sneakers and other digital garments. This past February, the digital fashion brand made history by partnering with 18-year-old artist Fewocious in a virtual NFT drop that fetched over $3 million in under 7 minutes. The goal of the three co-founders, Benoit Pagotto, Steven “Zaptio” Vasilev, and Chris “ClegFX” Le, is for RTFKT’s digital assets to be present in everything – both virtual and in real life.
The cyber fashion studio has been a force to reckon with in the digital clothing and sneaker space lately, dropping a collaboration with Atari this past march to create limited-edition Atari-themed NFT sneakers usable across multiplayer blockchain universes and games including Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Atari’s own upcoming metaverse platform. RTFKT collaborated with six different artists to develop a digital fashion collection inspired by classic Atari video games. Users were able to “try on” the limited edition sneakers virtually using Snapchat and the MetaverseMe App before purchasing the NFT wearables.
Beyond the Atari partnership, RTFKT has also been collaborating with streetwear icon Jeff Staple and his Staple Pigeon brand for metaverse fashion designs, and even helped Janet Jackson celebrate the 35th anniversary of her Control album with a digital collection, with the NFT proceeds going to a charity of Jackson’s choice. Building on the success of their digital fashion initiatives, RTFKT has also executed two “forging” events – granting NFT holders the opportunity to receive a hypercrafted physical reciprocal product of their digital sneaker, uniquely bringing their highly sought after brand of virtual fashion wearables for a users’ online persona into the physically wearable world.
With $8 million in recent funding led by venture capital titan Andreessen Horowitz along with blockchain standout Dapper Labs’ CEO Roham Gharegozlou, RTFKT is just getting started in its mission of becoming the future of fashion, with wide adoption across AR, VR and physical realms. Next up is the brand’s highly-anticipated three-dimensional avatar profile picture (PFP) project CloneX, a set of full body, metaverse ready, 3D avatars. 20,000 of these brand new digital personas will launch into the crypto realm in two drops, with current RTFKT NFT holders getting exclusive access. Whatever NFT wearables the CloneX users dress their avatars in will have the option to be forged as a real physical garment, just like RTFKT did in the past with versions of their sneakers.
This astoundingly hybrid approach to fashion, bridging both the virtual and physical worlds and with an arguably rabid adoption across both, is part of a larger trend PSFK researchers have been following around the increasing digitization of the fashion industry. As the world moves online, so do the aesthetic ways consumers express their own individuality, as virtual metaverse communities become the latest marketplaces and runways for fashionable self-expression.
This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Digitizing the Fashion Industry