Gucci is stepping further into the metaverse through a multi-year partnership with Yuga Labs, the parent company of the Bored Ape Yacht Club non-fungible token (NFT) collection.
The luxury brand’s collaboration with Yuga Labs will focus on exploring fashion in the metaverse, as first reported by the Business of Fashion. Gucci will have an active role in two ventures from Yuga Labs, including Otherside, its Bored Ape-themed metaverse game; and 10KTF, its digital fashion store.
“Stay tuned as a new narrative takes shape, blurring the boundaries between the physical and digital,” said Gucci yesterday (March 27) in a tweet announcing the partnership.
While few details have been released about the collaboration, Gucci, which has been led by CEO Marco Bizzarri since 2015, said its partnership with Yuga Labs aims to extend engagement between the company’s communities, according to Business of Fashion.
Daniel Alegre has been CEO of Yuga Labs since December when he stepped down from his position as president of gaming company Activision Blizzard. In March 2022, the company raised $450 million in a seed round that valued the company at $4 billion and saw investors such as venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz’s a16z crypto fund, game studio Animoca Brands and the now bankrupt FTX.
This isn’t the first time Gucci has collaborated on NFTs or metaverse-related activities. In February, the fashion house began releasing a series of NFTS in collaboration with SUPERPLASTIC, a company which creates digital and physical collectibles. Gucci reportedly made $11.6 million off NFT sales as of August 2022
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A month later, Gucci worked with 10KTF to create the “Gucci Grail” project, consisting of NFTs personalized with the brand’s designs and accessories.
In June, the fashion company reportedly filed for a series of trademarks for NFTs, cryptocurrency and metaverse ventures, shortly before releasing a series of NFTs covering milestones in the Gucci’s history in collaboration with SuperRare, a digital art market. In October, the brand also purchased virtual land in The Sandbox, a metaverse game.
Gucci’s newest collaboration with Yuga Labs comes a few months after a highly-publicized lawsuit regarding Hermes, another luxury fashion house. Earlier this year, Hermes was embroiled in a trial with an NFT artist who created a “MetaBirkin” collection, which the fashion company claimed was an infringement on its trademarks.
A New York federal judge ruled for Hermes and said the MetaBirkin NFTs were not protected under the First Amendment as a form of artistic expression, in a decision that will likely protect other established companies from similar cases as they continue to venture into the digital and virtual realm.