Dolce & Gabbana, Nike and Adidas are among the brands designing clothing for the virtual world where each item is sold as a non-fungible token (NFT) but critics say the prices are “disproportionate”.
Fashion lovers pay thousands of pounds…for clothes that are only found online.
Digital tokens can be used to decorate animated versions of participants in virtual worlds.
This £9,000 golf apparel 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 in the Decentraland Games logo, which can be worn in Decentraland – one of the internet’s most advanced virtual worlds.
Designer brands are also entering the amazing new trend, bringing Dolce & Gabbana, Nike, and Adidas Clubber to the virtual world.
Every piece of clothing is sold as an NFT token – or a non-fungible token – that can be bought and sold in real life as a painting or any other item of value.
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An industry source said: “Fashion in the real world can seem crazy sometimes with some clothes going for ridiculous money, but this is a whole new world.
“We’re talking about people paying thousands for something that only exists as pixels on the screen. It’s unbelievable.”
So far, D&G has sold nine designer digital pieces at auction for £4.2 million.
The pieces included The Glass Suit – a green and silver suit that sold for £740,000, along with an actual copy of the suit.
In March, the first virtual fashion week will be held – in the real world. Virtual sportswear is set to be big business, too.
Nike has bought technology company RTFKT, recently valued at £25m, to help them create and sell virtual training devices.
Adidas has teamed up with two companies to take its original line of products into cyberspace.
Technical advisor Grace Rachmani said: “Selling clothes in games is here to stay but I think the prices are out of proportion now.
“A lot of people have money in cryptocurrency that they won’t take because they will have to pay taxes, it’s like playing money.”
The surge of interest in NFTs comes after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the future of his company lies in the “metaverse” – a virtual 3D world.
There, users can play games, shop, interact with friends, and even hold business meetings while wearing VR glasses, if they so desire.
Decentraland, which has its own digital currency, recently made headlines when it sold a plot of “real estate” for £1.7 million.
But criminals in real life also make money. Todd Kramer, of the Ross + Kramer Gallery in New York, spent £1.6 million on NFT animation monkeys from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, only to be robbed by a hacker.
AZ on digital NFTs
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are one of the biggest internet crazes in the world.
While some experts say they are the future of the art and fashion worlds, others believe investors will suffer a similar fate to those who took off during the internet boom 20 years ago — but they will lose out hard.
NFT is a unique unit of computer data that is stored in a special piece of code called a blockchain. It can be linked to a digital asset such as a video, photo, quote, or even an outfit.
The fact that they have a unique signature means that they are limited and can be bought and sold like real-life artwork or collectibles.
The blockchain allows cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to exist because it records in the digital ledger that a token has been changed.
While for cryptocurrencies, each token has the same value as the £1 coin, NFTs have different values depending on how much people are willing to spend them on them – like paintings or antiques.
The first known NFT was a digital illustration called Quantum designed by artist Kevin McCoy and his wife Jennifer in 2014. He sold the artwork to businessman Anil Dash during a presentation for just £2.95, but it is now believed to be over £5 million.
It wasn’t until 2021 that niche technology became mainstream with a high-level sales chain.
Artist Mike Winkelman, better known as Beeple, has sold his work Every Day: The First 5,000 Days for $69.3 million in a sale that rocked the art world.
Since then, major artists like David Hockney, Jeff Koons and singer Grimes have sold NFTs for huge amounts of money.