Fashion and music festivals go hand in hand and nowhere more so than at Coachella. Following Metaverse Fashion Week at Decentraland, Absolut Vodka launched Absolut.Land, a Coachella-inspired pop-up experience in the same virtual world. The launch coincides with the first weekend of the California music festival, and the main act is a festival-appropriate collection of digital fashion wear.
“As a brand, we strive to be on the cutting edge of culture, and fashion is a big part of that,” says Pam Forbus, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard North America.
During the 90s, Absolut asked Tom Ford, John Galliano, Helmut Lang, Versace, Stella McCartney and Jean Paul Gaultier to rethink its bottle design. More recent collaborations include those with Sacai and MSGM.
For its Absolut.Land project, the Pernod Ricard-owned brand teamed up with cult New York designer Susan Alexandra to create three digital fashion accessories and created additional pieces including rainbow-patterned bodycon dresses. sky, shorts and caps inspired by the festival scene and its long-standing involvement. with Pride and LGBTQ+ communities.
However, unlike Sacai’s insulated jacket for its signature bottle, these digital-only pieces are designed to be worn by your avatar.
According to Matt Bond, founder of digital consultancy Banquet Labs, Metaverse wearables have a similar cachet to IRL fashion. “They are used to communicate your status and identity,” he says. “Much like a curated Instagram feed, sporting a rare wearable is basically the new blue tick for the metaverse.”
“People have always said that my product lent itself so well to the digital world,” says Susan Alexandra founder Susan Korn, known for her colorful beaded bags and jewelry that are inspired by food and drink. Actual collaborations include a partnership with Champion sportswear.
She was inspired by her best-selling Martini bag to create avatar earrings, while these and a digital “cocktail bag” were inspired by the new Lemon flavor that Absolut is promoting. She also made a pair of digital platform shoes – the shoes are something she’s always wanted to do in real life, but have so far proven to be too expensive. The joy of digital fashion, she says, is that the creative process is “unbridled by practicality and cost.”
She reveals that the digital design process is remarkably similar to the physical one where she sends a watercolor or iPad drawing to her production manager. “The (digital) designer asked (similar) questions about how the pieces would move and where they would sit on the body,” she said.
Korn was also drawn to the sustainability angle of digital fashion – something that has always been a key pillar of its brand. Its regular line is produced entirely in New York just a few miles from its Lower East Side store. Similar-lined neighbors include New York flagship Emily Bode, the 2021 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year, known for her unique, upcycled luxury apparel.
While Korn had already planned for the coming year, it is now reconsidering how it can replace some of its physical launches with Metaverse drops.
Pam Forbus revealed that Absolut doubled its investment in media this fiscal year with almost 80% digital investment and dedicated approximately 10% of its annual marketing spend to the Coachella program.
Absolut’s Decentraland experience is a reimagining of its IRL Coachella activations and includes an “antigravity” dance floor accessible via a colorful “pride tunnel”, a gallery based on its physical museum space in Stockholm, and a performance hall. selfie where users can capture their avatars. “The Metaverse is a creative paradise,” Forbus says, “there are so many opportunities to bring various elements to life.”
Absolut wearables are all free and will be dropped to visitors by digital brand ambassadors in exchange for their various challenges and photo sharing via social media.
While wearables designed for a particular metaverse, in this case Decentraland, can only be worn within Decentraland, Matt Bond predicts that in the future, wearables will be transferable between metaverses – to The Sandbox for example – and for that reason, he says, “the value of these assets will only grow.