Forever 21 celebrates its ‘meta-versary’ with physical clothing drop
The new items are inspired by a virtual collection that the brand released on Roblox last December.
The new Forever 21 physical clothing line includes the Forever beanie, a fan-favorite on Roblox / Forever 21
Forever 21 is celebrating its first full year in the metaverse with the release of physical clothing items based on the brand’s virtual collection in Roblox.
In December 2021, Forever 21 launched ‘Shop City’ in Roblox, a popular online gaming platform that – along with a small handful of similarly massive titles including Fortnite – has come to be regarded by many as being one of the most advanced and accessible pathways for brands seeking to break into the ‘metaverse.’ Shop City was positioned as an experience that allows users to design their own virtual clothing stores; they could sell virtual Forever 21 merchandise, build a team of avatar employees and compete with others to create the most popular retail experience. The experience was designed in partnership with Virtual Brand Group, which describes itself on its LinkedIn page as “a metaverse creation company.”
The fashion brand’s new physical clothing collection, announced this morning, includes hoodies and T-shirts, as well as the Forever beanie – the virtual version of which, according to the brand, was the most popular item in Shop City. The brand has also announced an advent calendar-style virtual product drop: throughout the month of December, one limited-edition virtual accessory will be released in Shop City. Each item will only be available for a period of “less than 24 hours,” according to a press release.
“Our initial goal with Forever 21 Shop City was to expand how we engage with our customers and make our products accessible to all,” Forever 21 chief executive Winnie Park said in a statement. “With the success of the virtual Forever Beanie in our Roblox store, we are thrilled to bring this beloved product and the entire F21 metaverse collection to life.”
A growing number of fashion retail brands – particularly those that market predominantly to a younger audience – have recently been staking their claim in virtual spaces. Roblox, with its global userbase of around 58 million, has proved to be particularly popular. In March, for example, retail brand PacSun launched a branded experience in Roblox called ‘Pacworld.’ In October, Hot Topic dropped a Halloween-themed virtual clothing line on the platform.
Virtual fashion may seem like a foolish investment to many, but it’s a legitimate emerging market – one that a large swath of gen Zers seem to take seriously. In November, Roblox published a report in partnership with Parsons School of Design, which found, among other insights, that nearly 75% of gen Zers who were surveyed have spent money on virtual clothing and accessories; more than one-quarter of that group reported having spent between $20 to $100+ on a single piece of virtual fashion.
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