Gucci creative director designed a pair of neon-coloured sneakers that can only be worn in digital environments.
The digital-only trainers that people can try on using augmented reality and “wear” in photographs for social media. The Gucci Virtual 25, named after creative director Alessandro Michele’s favourite number, is a low-top, high-top hybrid with a fluorescent, highlighter green upper.
The brand’s double G logo is emblazoned both on the chunky blue sole and on a dial, which holds the shoes together in place of traditional laces. Created in collaboration with AR fashion platform Wanna, the non-physical shoes can be purchased within either company’s mobile app for between $9 and $12.
Together with Michele’s design, users will be able to make their avatars wear virtual sneakers, and they will also have the opportunity to customize or create their own model from scratch by combining tops, outs, and patterns of Gucci sneakers. The new all-digital sneaker signed by Michele is the very symbol of the new initiative: a hyper-realistic hybrid of high-top and low-top inspired by the aesthetics of the 80s, with a strata green upper composed of different materials, a chunky sole, and the logo of the double G on the sole.
INTO VIRTUAL REALITY?
EXPERIENCE A 360º VIRTUAL TOUR THROUGH
A MODERN CONTEMPORARY PENTHOUSE
The shoes are Gucci’s “first digital model”, but the brand is not new to the world of in-app purchases. The fashion house already sells digital arcade games in its app, and in January began offering AR functionality, allowing customers to virtually try on sneakers and watches.
Known for its digital innovation, the brand earlier this year released Pokemon GO avatars wearing Gucci x North Face costumes, which were geolocated near retail outlets. Meanwhile, rival Louis Vuitton collaborated with League of Legends to create virtual trophy cases in 2019.
The timing of this latest product rollout is fortuitous (or perhaps deliberate) for Gucci. Spending extraordinary amounts of money on items that only exist digitally has been in the headlines lately, as the speculative market around non-fungible tokens (NFTs) heats up, with digital artworks and NBA trading cards selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, Gucci’s virtual sneakers are not NFTs.
The digital silhouettes of Gucci Sneaker Garage will also be available on Aglet, an app entirely dedicated to sneakerheads that allow users to accumulate virtual currency moving in the real world wearing virtual sneakers, which can then be used to buy sneakers. The rarer the virtual sneakers worn, the more virtual money you can get – and the six Gucci models that are about to land on the app will be among the rarest and most precious of all. Users will also be able to upload their outfits to Roblox and VRChat and see them adapt to the shape of their avatars.
Among the other brands making their first foray into digital-only fashion is Buffalo London, which recently released a flaming, virtual version of its platform trainers that were first popularized by the Spice Girls in the 1990s.
Rather, users simply buy the right to wear the shoes, much like buying music on iTunes only gives the user permission to listen to a song. Gucci provides an ultimate virtual design experience.