Inside the cyber fashion market where ‘digital clothes’ sell for thousands

A price tag of £2,800 for a Gucci handbag is not uncommon. A recent transaction, however, has thrust the luxury fashion house into the limelight. A digital version of its Dionysus bag sold on Roblox, an online gaming platform, for about $4,115 (£2,973) – more than the price of the physical item.

Gucci is not alone in blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. During the pandemic, most fashion brands were forced to resort to films or virtual catwalk shows to display their latest creations. Balenciaga’s Fall 2021 collection, for example, was presented in a playable video game.

Even before the pandemic, several brands created digital clothing that only exists online. In 2019, LVMH designed a capsule collection for Riot Games’ League of Legends. Burberry teamed up with technology giant Tencent last year to add its hallmark tartan design to characters in the popular Honour of Kings video game.

The phenomenon is only just picking up pace, but the prospects of cashing in on it are already real. L’Atelier BNP Paribas estimates that in-game spending on items such as digital clothes and accessories and character upgrades will this year grow to $129bn from $109bn in 2019.

While luxury fashion houses have started to dip their toes in the cyber fashion market, some fledgling firms already cater exclusively for this niche.

Tribute, which is based in Croatia, sells digital-only clothes that can be added to outfits. Many of its designs end up on social media platforms and are flaunted by fashion influencers.

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