Born In The Metaverse: Will RTFKT’s New Avatar Project Be The Next Big Thing In NFTs And Fashion?
Punks, Apes, Cats, and now Akiras? If you’ve been tracking the latest NFT and crypto news, you’ve probably come across headlines like Visa buys a $150,000 CryptoPunk NFT or 101 Bored Apes sell for over $24 Million in Sotheby's auction. Or you might have noticed starts like Mike Tyson changing his Twitter profile to a Cool Cat, Steph Curry to a Bored Ape, or Steve Harvey to a Solana Monkey Business NFT. A new project is on the horizon, and this time, it has its origins in fashion.
RTFKT, of which we’ve written in Forbes before, is a next-gen fashion brand and studio born in the metaverse. It was created by three friends that came together at the beginning of the pandemic to envision the future of fashion, sneakers, and identity, with a huge focus on creators. Prior to founding the studio, Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le,and Steven Vasilev, worked behind the scenes providing designs and concepts to game companies and a few select fashion brands. According to their website, RTFKT 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.
It has crushed records, with the fashion world taking notice, especially after their FEWOCiOUS x RTFKT sneaker NFT collaboration drop that generated $3 million, selling out their virtual sneaker editions at $3,000, $5,000, and $10,000 levels. RTFKT already counts celebrities like, Paris Hilton, among its fans and have recently secured $8 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Ready To Wear In The Metaverse
They are about to release a fashion-forward 3D avatar project called the Akira Project, which many in the NFT world suspect will make a big splash and will make more brands take note of what’s happening in the profile picture (PFP) NFT space.
“It’s a foundational project for RTFKT, so far we’ve been known and pushed boundaries with sneakers and metaverse wear, but with this project, we’re focusing on the core of your Metaverse identity,” said Pagotto. “We’ve put all our passion into this project, and aim to release a truly next-gen avatar project that goes beyond the PFP, and allows its community to truly express themselves in the metaverse via their avatars.”
According to an article in ONE37pm, beyond working on viral videos and the creation of some of the most sought-after NFT collectibles, RTFKT’s new collective is also building a new virtual world. The Akira Project will be made up of 20,000 avatars, of which 10,000 will be available for pre-sale to current collectors of RTFKT’s NFTs on Ethereum. The other 10,000 will be available in a public sale that many expect will sell out.
Coming To A Blockchain Near You
Additionally, RTKFT’s goal is for some of their avatar collectors to be able to build their own IPs and monetize their avatars. Imagine being able to own a piece of what in the future could become the next Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, or Looney Tunes. Collectors will get 3D models of their avatars, which will be metaverse ready to wear in certain virtual worlds with updates to their roadmap along the way.
Pagotto highlights, “We haven’t even started marketing the drop and we haven’t shared to many details yet, and there’s already been a lot of hype around Akira”
He’s promised a lot of surprises coming even before the release of the project in October. The studio has been sharing sneak peeks of the avatar designs with their Discord community and on their social media channels, with the likes of Hilton commenting on posts. They have also given away Akira hoodies to their Discord community that can be used in Decentraland.
Brands Entering The Metaverse = WAGMI or NGMI?
With more brands like Dolce & Gabbana and celebrities like Doja Cat recently launching NFTs, some brands still have a wait-and-see attitude. Brands are having to rethink how they engage with audiences in virtual spaces, where authenticity and community are kings, and the old advertising ways of Madison Avenue no longer work.
While the digital collectibles and the digital fashion community prepare their crypto wallets for the project’s drop, Pagotto has some candid words to share with the brands that are interested in entering the space authentically.
“With regards to authenticity in the Metaverse, it’s just like with gaming. Authenticity is a key factor for success. You can’t build a community that’ll support you if you don’t live and breathe your project and creative endeavors,” he added. “Brands that are jumping into the Metaverse to just jump on the trend are NGMI.”
In case you’re wondering what NGMI or WAGMI mean, then it’s probably a good time for you to get acquainted with Discord and follow professionals like Pagotto on Twitter. Will RTFKT’s Akira NFTs be tomorrow’s ultimate flex? Keep your eyes on your Twitter feed as time will tell.
This column should not be taken as financial advice.