RTFKT was born in the metaverse about two years ago in January 2020 with the goal of bringing streetwear and limited-edition drops to the digital world. On its About page, the company says that it “uses the latest in game engines, NFT, blockchain authentication and augmented reality, combined with manufacturing expertise to create one of a kind sneakers and digital artifacts.”
But what happens when two leaders from the real and the virtual worlds unite their efforts?
In December 2021, NIKE – a Fortune 500 company and among the largest sellers of athletic footwear and apparel in the world, acquired RTFKT for an undisclosed amount of money. The news comes after NIKE trademarked the use of its logos and slogans for digital wearables. The sportswear giant also launched its own virtual space, Nikeland, within Roblox, allowing the game’s players to buy branded products for their avatars.
RTFKT was founded by three friends – Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, and is a pioneer in breaking the boundaries between the real and the virtual world. The acquisition of RTFKT would help NIKE improve its own digital game, especially in terms of the production of virtual wearables.
“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” said John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc. Additionally, Donahoe announced his company’s intentions to invest further in the RTFKT brand – “to serve and grow their innovative and creative community.”
In March 2021, RTFKT released a virtual sneaker designed in collaboration with crypto artist FEWOCiOUS. The digital fashion product sold out in just under seven minutes, generating USD 3.1 million. The metaverse company also worked with artist Takashi Murakami on the release of a series of rare avatars.
RTFKT united its efforts with The Fabricant, the first fashion company to ever release an NFT, and launched a co-branded collection exclusively via the Dematerialised marketspace.
What makes RTFKT special, though, is that each of its products is backed by a non-fungible token (NFT). This means that RTFKT’s products can be collected, traded and sold on for profit.
A number of well-known fashion brands started investing in the metaverse. These include Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Gucci, Burberry. What other fashion giants would join the Metaverse world in 2022 is something we cannot wait to learn!