How Carolina Herrera turned a virtual dress into a viral moment
Roblox is fast becoming a destination for collecting and wearing digital luxury fashion and accessories. The latest designer piece to arrive in the virtual world’s marketplace is a stunning yellow floral Carolina Herrera gown worn by Karlie Kloss during the designer brand’s Spring/Summer fashion show at New York Fashion Week. Roblox creator Lovespun replicated the dress in digital form and made it available to Roblox players immediately after the New York show for 500 Robux. During the limit
mited sales period, 432 units sold and now many community members are reselling the digital fashion piece, for an average price of 168000 Robux. The highest resale price was US$5,000 ($7,660). The physical Carolina Herrera gown won’t be available to shoppers until 2023.
Wes Gordon, creative director of Carolina Herrera, said in a recent Vogue Business article, “It is exciting to see that there’s been such a great response to the dress, and the fact that there is such appetite and interest in celebrating fabulous fashion no matter where – from our runway show at The Plaza Hotel all the way to the metaverse.”
The idea to release the Carolina Herrera gown on Roblox came from Kloss who, in addition to being a successful fashion model, is also an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast. In July this year, Kloss partnered with Roblox to launch a two-week pop-up experience on the platform called the Fashion Klossette Designer Showcase. The campaign consisted of Kloss collaborating with digital designers, including Lovespun, to create unique clothing lines that appeared in five popular Roblox games.
Younger audiences are showing greater interest in acquiring designer digital collectables, especially items that could be perceived as rare and limited editions. Kloss believes “there will be a deeply symbiotic relationship between physical and digital fashion and both will be reflections of how we want to express ourselves…It is only a matter of time before we see a more parallel relationship between what we see on the runways and the designs we wear and own in real life and in the digital world.”
See now, buy now, wear now
Technology around digital fashion has accelerated due to the popularity of creating digital items, and virtual-world platforms have improved as well. Recently, Roblox introduced its “layered clothing” technology, allowing realistic 3D items to fit any avatar body type.
Providing such functionality has been a struggle for stand-alone platforms that have their own avatar styles and restrict players to skins designed specifically for those avatars. As more platforms introduce a universal avatar body type, digital fashion and accessories for use across multiple platforms will become more common.
This is important, because for brands setting up shop in virtual worlds such as Roblox, ‘see now, buy now, wear now’ is what users will expect. Enabling them to dress their avatar in the latest digital fashion encourages them to purchase the physical version as well.
Fashion marketing has evolved
For decades, marketing efforts have been designed to result directly in purchases; however, we’re now transacting in the experience economy and there’s a stronger focus on building loyalty through community. For instance,brands are broadening their efforts in the awareness phase of the customer journey, by creating mini-games or selling branded goods in virtual worlds.
Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, has released several in-game virtual events and special skins in collaboration with musicians, pro gamers, and brands such as Nike, Balenciaga and Moncler. Luxury brands Gucci and Burberry both ran experiences in Roblox to allow players to collect authentic branded digital items. A Gucci bag in Roblox sold for about US$5,000 ($7,525), more than the retail price of the physical item in store.
These are long-term strategies to establish trust with a younger audience, which will have more disposable income in the next decade and will think of the brands with which they grew up.
Luxury and lifestyle brands are increasingly seeing Roblox and similar platforms as legitimate channels for promoting their brand and products. While the graphics in Roblox might not be what you expect from high-end brands, the 50 million active users on the platform aren’t focused on that. They’re playing games, customising their avatar, and collecting digital items. It’s time to consider how this affects your brand and see it the way children and young adults see it.
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