Fashion Week will soon take over the metaverse as well as New York City. Tommy Hilfiger plans to put forth a physical show while simultaneously recreating the show on Roblox, with all tangible products shown available to buy immediately. The upcoming “see now, buy now” showcase marks the brand’s first NYFW appearance in three years.
“This season is all about the collision of my favorite archival inspirations with the new live event concepts and virtual worlds,” Tommy Hilfiger said in a statement. “It’s the perfect expression of what we stand for as we pay homage to our roots with a return to NYFW.”
How it works — As models showcase the brand’s Autumn 2022 offerings on September 11 — walking a real-life runway at the Skyline Drive-In in Brooklyn — Roblox avatars will recreate the scene wearing the same (albeit digital) pieces while walking through a virtual version of New York City. Users of the gaming platform will be able to purchase digital exclusives related to the show, although details of those pieces have yet to be announced.
It’s likely Tommy Hilfiger plans to release NFTs or avatar wear through Roblox, following the footsteps of brands including Gucci and Burberry. The label has previously partnered with Roblox itself, first collaborating with the platform in December 2021 to release a 30-piece digital fashion collection. Tommy Hilfiger then expanded the partnership in June with its Tommy Play community space.
The future of fashion — Virtual fashion shows aren’t necessarily new. In 2020, Balenciaga launched Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, a “video game” that stood in place for its Fall 2021 runway show.
More often, though, brands are turning to community-oriented digital worlds to showcase their offerings. Gucci Town, Nikeland, and Jumpman Zone spaces have all launched on either Roblox or Fortnite, and all boast features including mini-games, virtual clothing, and chatrooms to encourage consumers to fully immerse themselves in branded spaces (and subsequently spend money there).
Digital exclusives push this agenda further, appealing to customers with one-of-a-kind avatar outfits or collectible NFTs that can often be redeemed for tangible products that are equally limited. As the metaverse becomes a new forefront for retail, branded virtual worlds and digital drops will only pick up in popularity, and we could soon be shopping and dressing exclusively online.