On the ski lift everyone is wearing Ralph Lauren: knitted Polo Sport beanies and colorblock fleece jackets. At the rink pillowy snow falls on primary-hued RL backpacks and sporty Polo totes as skaters whip and pirouette across the ice in big pony logos, hot chocolate from Ralph’s Coffee in hand. This is not the real world. It is the universe conjured inside the online gaming platform Roblox. The metaverse, if you will.
Today’s ubiquitous buzzword was coined by the writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash; it refers to the merging of virtually augmented and physical reality, and a fully digital world. NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and the outfits you wear in Animal Crossing? All meta, and it’s all seen by big tech as the next big thing.
With Facebook changing its name to Meta, and Google, Apple, and Microsoft all working on metaverse-centric products, fashion couldn’t be too far behind. Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, and Fendi—which just debuted a luxury crypto hardware wallet for its fall 2022 men’s wear show—have put stakes in the virtual ground through avatars and gaming, and on social media apps like Snapchat.
“We’re developing dynamic new worlds,” says Alice Delahunt, chief digital and content officer at Ralph Lauren, which dropped a winter capsule collection exclusively on Roblox. “We know our new consumer is increasingly engaging there every single day.”