Aeropostale is the latest fashion retailer to put down roots in the metaverse.
The specialty chain is working with metaverse development company MetaversePlus to bring its brand into the Web3 world. MetaversePlus will design, develop and expand the brand’s digital presence through NFTs, create members-only perks and promotions and lead broader metaverse efforts.
“This is much more than just an NFT,” an Aeropostale representative told Sourcing Journal. “This is a community of new friends and we are manically bullish on the metaverse which provides an opportunity for people to freely express themselves like never before.”
The four-phase roadmap includes immersive shopping, socializing and gaming experiences. The first phase, set to launch on March 23, will focus on AeroPax: a collection of 30,000 one-of-a-kind NFTs intended to build community and give participants exclusive perks, including limited-edition apparel and promotions.
“Aeropax are a wild bunch of adventurous, laidback and curious rebels ready to take over the metaverse,” Aeropostale’s promotional page said. The algorithmically generated virtual characters were created from over 400 hand-drawn traits across 12 categories. Each AeroPax has a unique combination of traits; 30 “legendary” characteristics appear only once throughout the collection and may carry “extra special” benefits.
Celebrating the launch, the Authentic-owned brand is giving 10 consumers 18 years and older a chance to win a Tesla to “show our new community of AeroPax that we are more than just future promises,” the Aeropostale representative said. Anyone who buys one of the first 29,700 AeroPax Digital Collectibles, valued at $69 each, will automatically be entered into the sweepstakes, though no purchase is required to participate.
“We are excited to build an immersive and interactive experience for Aeropostale fans and anyone who craves individuality,” Noah Loul, co-founder of MetaversePlus, said. “AeroPax is unique in that we’re creating an experience free from real-world limitations and societal standards, where people can be their most authentic selves and join forces with like-minded individuals anywhere, using NFTs and virtual experiences.”
The initial collection of AeroPax avatars will feature a blend of traits, styles, personalities and abilities—including perks such as the chance to be featured on one of the brand’s digital channels. The AeroPax will become the user’s property, act as their interactive avatar, and double as their digital access pass to virtual worlds, including the forthcoming metaverse: AeroWorld.
Phase two of the rollout offers consumers a sneak peek into AeroWorld, allowing users to claim unique avatar characters, access virtual and IRL experiences, including events and games, and collect in-game points, which can be redeemed for exclusive AeroPax merch. Aeropostale hasn’t yet revealed details on phases three and four.
“We’re thrilled to partner with MetaversePlus to build a unique Aeropostale metaverse for the brand’s fans and global community,” Naushaba Moeen, EVP of lifestyle at Authentic, said. “Through this partnership, we aim to make Aeropostale a leading brand in the Web3 space and help shape the future of community and customer engagement in the virtual world.”
Another popular teen retailer, PacSun, is also exploring the metaverse. Though the company has been in the space for just shy of a year, last month it launched a new virtual experience in Roblox: PacSun Los Angeles Tycoon. Created by metaverse developed The Gang, the tycoon experience pays homage to PacSun’s Southern California roots by offering the community the opportunity to build their own map of SoCal with future expansions to come. H&M is also on Roblox, debuting its Loooptopia Experience in January, providing an immersive gaming experience that lets players experiment with materials and patterns to create virtual garments for their avatars. Ralph Lauren joined the virtual world back in 2021 via a partnership with Zepeto. In this freemium social app, users build digital clones for chat-room conversations clad in the heritage brand’s digital duds.
These are just a few of the fashion players taking advantage of the growing space. But in a catch-22, the key factor driving growth in the metaverse in the fashion market is the growing number of brands entering the metaverse platform, global technology research and advisory company Technavio found. Still, the metaverse in the fashion market share is expected to increase to $6.61 billion by 2026, with 38 percent of the growth originating from North America.
While the metaverse is leaving its fingerprints on the future of fashion, it’s unclear if brands are finding success—and, more important, revenue—in Web3. Considering that Roblox had 58.8 million daily users as of the fourth quarter of 2022, Statista reported, and that no labor or raw materials are needed to create virtual clothing, digital fashion seems to have its upsides. But brands have yet to divulged just how profitable their efforts have been.