In a press release shared with Rarity Sniper, Virtual Brand Group, a Los Angeles-based Web3 company, revealed that it has partnered with Mattel’s Barbie brand and Forever 21 to bring the two companies into Roblox. Together, the three companies will launch an exclusive artificial intelligence (AI) designed virtual fashion collection for Roblox users that includes free-to-claim metaverse surprises.
Jacob Hawkins, Chief Marketing, Omni, and Digital Officer at Forever 21, said in a statement that virtual fashion is a part of meeting consumers everywhere they are. He added, “This one-of-a-kind Metaverse Barbie collaboration between Forever 21, Mattel, and Virtual Brand Group is at the forefront of bringing physical and virtual products together.”
According to Justin Hochberg, CEO of Virtual Brand Group, the company worked with some of the best virtual fashion designers to create the collection, such as Lovespunn, a Roblox creator. The companies modeled the outfits after Forever 21’s in-store assortment, but it will also have metaverse exclusive designs and colorful summer-themed formal and streetwear lines, each with radical fabric combinations.
As for the role of AI when creating the collection, Hochberg revealed that the company used a mesh of human talent and generative artificial intelligence. The result, they called the “HI team,” HI short for human intelligence.
“We think of generative AI as a tool, for our human innovators. As Morpheus says in The Matrix, this helps people free the mind. It allows VBG’s best Lepley to hold, imagine, and design without the laws of gravity or preconceived notions of what has or will work.”
This is Forever 21’ and Barbie’s most extensive collaboration and will include in-store items such as logo tees, sweatshirts, swimwear, sleepwear, denim shorts, vests, and jackets. The collection will showcase an array of fashion styles that feature the well-known Barbie pink hue and accents of light pink, white, and gray. Women’s apparel sizes will range from XS to XL, and prices for in-store items will run between $19.99 and $59.99.
Virtual Fashion to Become a Big Industry: Hochberg
Fresh off the launch of The Voice Studios in Decentraland, Virtual Brand Group has now created a full-fledged project in the virtual fashion industry, which some believe is the next frontier. Hochberg said that every brand, no matter what industry, has the capacity to express itself through virtual fashion, because it unlocks how humans express themselves.
“People have been playing dress-up since humankind began,” Hochberg told Rarity Sniper. Barbie Pink will be the hottest pop culture trend this summer, and if you’re interested in being at the center of pop culture, then Barbie is the bullseye. Most people don’t realize, virtual fashion is already a multi-billion-dollar business and growing at 5-10 times the rate of physical fashion.”
His words ring true to many people who follow the virtual fashion space. As Rarity Sniper has covered, many fashion brands have launched their own virtual lines or NFT collections, including Gucci and Prada. New Web3-centric virtual fashion businesses are also gaining traction, such as Tribute Brand and The Fabricant.
Virtual Brand Group’s next step will be into the virtual beauty industry, though it hasn’t announced which company yet. In addition, it’s dipping its toes into Web3 loyalty programs, which will allow fans to earn rewards while forming a community.