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Nuts for NFTs? Barbie x Balmain Cashes in on Hot Consumer Trend

French luxury fashion house and past Netflix collaborator Balmain is teaming with Mattel’s classic Barbie brand on ready-to-wear and NFTs.

The more than 50-piece collection filters Balmain’s established aesthetic and opulence through a Barbie lens, combining the former’s marinière and labyrinth patterns with the latter’s iconic pink coloring. The fashion and accessories line will launch worldwide Thursday.

“As our campaign images make very clear, Barbie and Balmain are embarking upon a distinctly multicultural, inclusive and always joy-filled adventure,” Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing said in a statement. “For this collaboration, we are building upon the New French Style of Balmain’s most recent collections, once again showing that Balmain is inspired by the truly diverse and exciting beauty found on today’s Parisian boulevards and avenues. This collection also rejects any arbitrary gender limitations—this is an almost 100 percent unisex collection. For, just as today’s Barbie makes clear, there’s nothing holding us back anymore!”

The collection will be available at Balmain’s stores and website, as well as at Mattel Creations. Launched in 2020, the e-commerce platform connects the toy company’s classic brands with global creators to produce limited-edition creations. Last June, it introduced its first NFT collection, a line of digital Hot Wheels cars.

Mattel Creations will debut its first-ever Barbie NFTs Tuesday. The three one-of-a-kind tokens will feature Barbie and Ken avatars styled in Balmain’s designs, each one accompanied by a unique bespoke set of Barbie-sized pieces. They will be available at an online auction hosted by mintNFT.

Mattel Creations will auction off three NFTs depicting its Barbie and Ken avatars wearing Balmain designs
Mattel Creations will auction off three NFTs depicting its Barbie and Ken avatars wearing Balmain designs. Mattel

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Since non-fungible tokens first burst into the broader public consciousness a little less than a year ago, brand after brand has offered its own take on the medium. Last summer, Asics auctioned off 189 NFTs depicting some of its most famous footwear styles. A month later, Louis Vuitton debuted a mobile game where players could collect 30 free NFTs, including 10 created by Beeple, the artist who famously sold an NFT for $69 million.

More recently, bigger names have signaled their intent to make NFTs more than a quirky fad. Last month, Nike announced it had bought RTFKT, a virtual-first art collective that last year raked in $3.1 million in seven minutes from a collection of digital sneakers and charms. “Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities,” Nike CEO and president John Donahoe said in a statement. A short video released alongside the announcement shows RTFKT’s logo side-by-side with Nike’s Swoosh, the Jordan Brand’s Jumpman and Converse’s star and chevron.

Later that week, Adidas launched its first NFT collection in partnership with a team of metaverse veterans. The nearly 30,000 tokens Adidas made available for 0.2 ETH sold out that same day, earning the company more than $22 million. Those who own the token will receive access to virtual wearables in the blockchain-based gaming world, The Sandbox, as well as physical product to match: a graphic hoodie, an Adicolor Firebird tracksuit and an orange beanie.

“The opportunity with the Metaverse is it creates infinite possibilities for us to connect, create and belong,” Tareq Nazlawy, Adidas’ senior director of digital, said in a statement.