Fashion and music festivals go hand in hand and nowhere else like Coachella. Following Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week, 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 headline act is an appropriate collection for the digital fashion wearables festival.
“As a brand, we thrive on being at the forefront of culture and fashion is an important part of that,” says Pam Forbus, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard North America.
During the 1990s, Absolut had bottle design reinvented by Tom Ford, John Galliano, Helmut Lang, Versace, Stella McCartney and Jean Paul Gaultier. The most 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 make three digital fashion accessories and created additional pieces including rainbow-patterned bodycon dresses, shorts and inspired caps. to the festival scene and its long-standing involvement with Pride and the LGBTQ + communities.
However, unlike Sacai’s cooler jacket for its signature bottle, these digital one-offs are designed to be worn by your avatar.
According to Matt Bond, founder of digital consultancy Banquet Labs, Metaverse wearables have similar prestige to IRL fashion. “They are used to communicate your status and your 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 lends itself so well to the digital world,” says Susan Alexandra founder Susan Korn, known for her colorful beaded bags and jewelry that draw inspiration from food and drink. Real-life collaborations include a partnership with Champion Sportswear.
He pulled out his best-selling Martini Bag to create avatar earrings while both those and a digital “cocktail bag” were inspired by the new flavor of Citron that Absolut is promoting. He also made a pair of digital flatform shoes – footwear is something he always wanted to do in real life, but so far it has proved too expensive. The joy of digital fashion, he says, is that the creative process is “unrestrained by practicality and cost”.
He reveals that the digital design process is remarkably similar to the physical one in which he sends a watercolor or iPad drawing to his 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 cornerstone of her brand. Her regular line is all made in New York City within a couple of miles of her Lower East Side store. Similarly aligned neighbors include Emily Bode’s New York flagship, CFDA 2021 designer of the year for men, known for her one-of-a-kind, recycled luxury pieces.
Although Korn had already planned the year ahead, he is now reconsidering how to replace some of his physical throws with Metaverse drops.
Pam Forbus revealed that Absolut has doubled its media investments this fiscal year with nearly 80% going to digital and that it has dedicated about 10% of its annual marketing spend to the Coachella program.
Absolut’s Decentraland Experience is a reinterpretation of its IRL Coachella activations and features an “anti-gravity” dance floor accessed via a colorful “Pride Tunnel”, a gallery based on its physical museum space in Stockholm and a Selfie Room where users can screen their avatars. “The Metaverse is a paradise for creatives,” says Forbus, “there are so many opportunities to bring various elements to life.”
Absolut wearables are all free and will be broadcast to visitors by digital brand ambassadors in exchange for their various challenges and photo sharing via social media channels.
While wearables designed for a particular metaverse, in this case Decentraland, can only be worn in Decentraland, Matt Bond predicts that in the future wearables will be transferable between metaverses, for example in The Sandbox, and for that reason, he says, ” the value of these activities will continue to grow ”.