Burberry, the British luxury fashion brand, said on Wednesday that it has launched virtual handbags on social gaming platform Roblox, inspired by one of the brand's physical handbag designs.
Community members on Roblox can purchase and use the bags to dress their avatars. On average, one-in-five daily active users on Roblox update their avatar on any given day.
While the physical bag retails for more than $1000, the virtual bags cost just a few dollars, which is paid in Robux, the platform's currency. Each handbag is accompanied by an exclusive emote, which refers to an action that avatars can perform on Roblox, such as levitation or dance.
"The expression of our digital personas is a fascinating concept and one which we know is increasingly important to our customers," said said Rachel Waller, vice president of channel innovation at Burberry, in a statement.
This isn't Burberry's first foray into gaming. In October 2019, the company launched its first online game called B Bounce. Most recently, in June, Burberry announced a non-fungible token (NFT) collection with Mythical Games, who the brand had already worked with last August to launch NFTs.
This is, however, its first partnership with Roblox, which supports over 50 million daily active users. Brands such as Nike and Gucci have already established stores on Roblox.
Burberry worked with Roblox's top digital fashion designer
The bags were created in partnership with digital fashion designer Samuel Jordan, who at the age of 22 has already sold more than 25 million units of his own work on the platform. On average, Roblox pays developers 28 cents-per-dollar spent, based on its developer economics page. This number, however, varies depending on where they are sold on the platform. Jordan has made around $1 million, after $10 million in sales.
"I first started playing Roblox when I was 12. My older brother Zack asked me to do it just to hang out with him. And I grew up homeschooled so I didn't have many friends socially. Roblox is really where I found community," said Jordan in an interview with The Block.
After enough trial-and-error making games on his own, Jordan was accepted into Roblox's avatar accessory program in 2019, the platform's user-generated content program. That's when he had the chance to upload items to Roblox's catalog.
Now, Jordan consults large fashion and luxury brands such as Stella McCartney and Burberry on how to enter the space.
"Every client I have has completely different interests," says Jordan.
Some, he says, want to connect with a younger audience. Just under half of Roblox's community is over the age of 13, with its fastest growing demographic being 17 to 24 year olds. Others want to work with Jordan because they think creating a digital item that looks like a physical one will ramp up sales of the physical item.
As the industry has grown, a hot topic among digital fashion players has become figuring out what it means to own a piece of digital clothing, and why it matters. Both tech companies and fashion brands are increasingly collaborating to address this question for the broader society of people who still view digital clothing as a passing fad.
Last month, Meta announced a partnership with Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne. Snapchat has also created augmented reality filters for brands like Tiffany's. Fashion brands are expected to double their investment into technology by 2030, a chunk of which will be dedicated to the so-called 'metaverse.'
Despite signs of a bear market, fashion brands aren't backing down on experiments in Web3. And neither is Jordan. He hasn't seen a decline in sales on the platform.
"Of course, with negative economic times, you always worry about consumer spending dipping. I haven't seen that happen yet in my sales," he says. "You're buying it because you want to wear it. You don't care if it goes up or down in value. You're not predicting the future. You're saying right now, in this game, I want to feel this way. I want to represent myself in this way."
When asked what plans he has to make sure he stays afloat during a rough economic period, Jordan said he wasn't planning anything aggressive, but to keep focusing on the consumer journey. "I just want to make things that I think people will enjoy and love and use."
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