The digital Gucci sneakers on sale for $17.99 – a virtual steal

The first “digital” shoes by luxury brand can only be worn online in virtual or augmented worlds, but many believe that the concept will soon spread across fashion.

Gucci sneakers are usually priced at well over $500. But, this week, the luxury fashion brand has begun selling them for $17.99. But here’s the catch: they are digital only.

Virtual 25 is a sneaker made of chunky slime, bubble-gum pink, and sky blue that can only be worn via augmented or virtual reality.

Gucci’s virtual sneakers ‘worn’ by Alyx Gorman. Photograph: Gucci

The sneakers are available for purchase in-app from Wanna AR or Gucci apps. Users can “try them on” and then wear them in virtual worlds such as VR Chat and Roblox. Roblox’s valuation has risen to $38bn US since the company’s IPO on March 10.

Gucci’s first digital model is the shoes, but the brand isn’t new to the world that allows for in-app purchases. Gucci already offers digital arcade games through its app. In January, the fashion house began offering AR functionality that allows customers to virtual try on shoes and watches.

The brand is known for its digital innovation. It released Pokemon GO avatars in Gucci x North Face costumes earlier this year. These were geolocated close to retail outlets. In 2019, Louis Vuitton, a rival brand, collaborated with League of Legends in order to create virtual trophy boxes.

Gucci is lucky (or maybe deliberate) in the timing of its latest product launch. As the speculative market for non-fungible tokens heats up, it has been a hot topic to spend large sums of money on items that are only available digitally. NFTs (Digital Artwork and NBA Trading Cards) are hot, selling for hundreds of thousands of Dollars. Gucci’s virtual sneakers, however, are not NFTs.

The sneakers were created in collaboration with Wanna, a Belarus-based fashion technology company. Wanna’s CEO, Sergey Arkhangelskiy, was bullish about the future of these kinds of products, telling Business of Fashion that “in five or maybe 10 years, a relatively big chunk of fashion brands’ revenue will come from digital products”.

Gucci also considers children’swear a significant category. Roblox users are more than half of those who purchased the sneakers. Roblox is a platform that allows for the sale of new sneakers. Roblox users under 13 years old can also buy the sneakers. This is perhaps a parental wish-fulfillment, a pair that children can’t grow out of.

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