RTFKT co-founder says fashion is a long way from understanding games – WWD

PARIS — Fashion has been dipping deeper into gaming in hopes of connecting with younger customers, but its efforts will only succeed when the people conceiving these online experiences become gamers, said Benoit Pagotto, RTFKT co-founder and director. senior brand and associations. at Nike Inc.

In his presentation at the WWD Metaverse Symposium held here, titled “Can Fashion Do Well in a Web3 World?”, Pagotto poked fun at the gaming craze that took place after hip-hop artist Travis Scott’s landmark concert in the publisher Epic Games Inc. The game “Fortnite” from . in April 2020, which drew a record 12 million live viewers.

“For me, it was the moment that a lot of the people in this room woke up to something that was actually a long, long time in the making,” Pagotto said. “A lot of the fashion industry never cared about video games, and recently they cared out of purely FOMO-driven intent, which is also a great feeling you have in the NFT world.”

Many people subsequently contacted Pagotto, who founded RTFKT in January 2020 with Chris Le and Steven Vasilev, for advice on launching their own virtual event with gaming platforms. The start-up, best known for its digital and collectible sneakers, was acquired by Nike last December.

“Everyone was under the impression that you could get an interactive experience on ‘Fortnite’ in a month, which doesn’t make sense, because it took Epic and ‘Fortnite’ nine months to do it together,” Pagotto said.

“You can’t do it overnight, and you really need to work and talk to the right people to really understand that even this for the video game industry took years in the making, to be able to do a live event on so many different servers, experienced by millions of children around the world,” he added.

To say that Pagotto was unimpressed with the inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week, held in March in Decentraland’s blockchain-powered virtual world, is to put it mildly. Participating brands ranged from virtual fashion pioneers like DressX and Auroboros to marquee maisons like Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Elie Saab and Etro.

“I picked a bad example on purpose just to make fun of you, but two years later, you’re doing a Metaverse bulls-t fashion week in Decentraland, which isn’t really what you should be doing in a place where there’s no one, and then after you’re happy and you tell your boss you did something in the metaverse, but it’s clearly not that. You have to dig much deeper than that,” he warned attendees.

“The biggest challenge with fashion and Web3 is who are they really targeting?” she added. “I think a lot of the things that are being done are directed at their colleagues rather than real people.”

Pagotto is convinced that video game culture is about to overtake mainstream culture, which means participation will no longer be an option. “The best thing to really understand all of this is not to read the McKinsey reports,” he continued. “It’s really to play some games.”

He advised participants to go beyond popular video games like “FIFA” and “Fortnite” and explore the world of indie games, citing the examples of “Inside” and “The Witness,” as well as elaborate adventure games like “Detroit : Become”. Human”, “God of War” or “The Last of Us”.

“The video game industry has been brewing for a long time and spawned a lot of different cool things on the tech side, on the storytelling side, on the community side, that you’ll only learn if you really dig in and really play the game. . because if not, you are going to lose even more”, argued Pagotto. “It’s never too late to be interested in video games and understand the future.”


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