Ralph Lauren dives into digital fashion with Zepeto
Iconic American fashion brand Ralph Lauren has taken its first step into purchasable digital apparel with the release of a collection on Gen Z-focused 3D avatar platform Zepeto.
The collection features 12 looks, made up of more than 50 unique items including both vintage Polo Ralph Lauren styles and pieces from the current Polo Ralph Lauren collection. There are also a number of special, exclusive items on offer, such as two limited-edition skateboards.
Zepeto members will be able to purchase the items to dress up and accessorize their 3D avatars, which are created from selfies and allow users to socialize and interact with the platform’s immersive virtual world.
As part of its collaboration with Zepeto, Ralph Lauren has also launched three interactive digital spaces on the platform. Offering users the chance to make a virtual visit to the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship, Ralph’s Coffee Shop and Central Park, the digital environments seek to capture the Ralph Lauren spirit and allow fans to engage with the label in a new and immersive way.
“Ralph Lauren’s new partnership with Zepeto further demonstrates our belief that innovating in virtual worlds is essential to engaging the next generation of consumers,” said Ralph Lauren chief digital officer Alice Delahunt in a release.
“Ralph Lauren has always embraced new environments, and we’re excited to push the boundaries in this emerging arena. Making our product available to purchase and wear digitally and allowing consumers to experience the brand in immersive new ways is the next frontier,” added the executive.
Although it does represent the company’s debut in purchasable digital fashion, Ralph Lauren’s partnership with Zepeto is not its first foray into the world of digital products and gaming. The company has previously teamed up with Bitmoji for a collection, as well as with Snapchat for augmented reality lenses. Ralph Lauren also became the first luxury brand to outfit an esports team on a long-term basis through its recently announced partnership with G2 Esports.
Launched by South Korean digital conglomerate Naver’s Snow subsidiary in 2018 and spun off as part of Naver Z in 2020, Zepeto boasts around 10 million monthly active users. The platform has previously signed off on collaborations with major global brands including Disney and Nike, as well as K-Pop stars, such as BTS and Blackpink.
In September, K-Pop band Tomorrow x Together will be hosting a live virtual event at Zepeto’s version of the Ralph Lauren Madison Avenue Flagship in order to promote the launch of the brand’s digital collection. Band members will interact with visitors through their 3D avatars, shooting selfies and videos that users will be able to share on social media, all while wearing Ralph Lauren’s virtual looks.
Ralph Lauren’s plunge into digital apparel comes as the fashion industry continues to explore the possibilities presented by partnerships with video games and other kinds of virtual media. From the skins designed by Louis Vuitton for team-based battle arena League of Legends in 2019, to the phygital collaboration between Brazil’s Havaianas and popular online battle royale game Fortnite earlier this year, fashion brands seem keener than ever to ensure their relevance in the rapidly developing digital sector.
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