German sportswear brand Puma is releasing a Metaverse website experience: Black Station.
Crucially linking the physical and the virtual, Black Station will feature exclusive Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) with limited edition redeemable physical sneakers as part of its ‘Futrograde’ show during New York Fashion Week.
According to Fashion Network, Black Station has been:
“imagined as an immersive and interactive place to experience the future of the brand. As a blank and ever-evolving 3D canvas, [it] will become a dynamic destination to visit, connecting consumers with various web3 activations emerging over the course of the next year and beyond,”
Black Station is LIVE: https://t.co/kdXcrAiyg5
Our very own 3D spatial playground. A unique Web3 space that enables our NFT community and all PUMA followers to experience the brand like never before. Stay tuned. #PUMANYFW pic.twitter.com/JbyD5CxMfB
— PUMA.eth (@PUMA) September 7, 2022
Puma Enters Web 3.0
Puma is linking its real-life physical products to its first digital NFT. As one of the most recognized fashion brands in the world, Puma’s decision to take its first step into the Metaverse, announcing it at New York Fashion Week (!), is big news.
Black Station is Puma’s very own 3D spatial playground. Puma’s new Ethereum Name Service web3 username, Puma.eth, is coming to the Web3 space, and NFT users will experience the brand like never before. The username will also serve as Puma’s decentralized URL, and to reflect this, the brand will also update its Twitter name to PUMA.eth.
Nitropass NFT holders can connect their wallets to unlock the ability to select a Nitro Collection NFT and PUMA Materializer NFT style during the burn window.
Fashion Catching Up?
Twenty years ago, Puma announced Black Station as “home for our most innovative designs in fashion.” Now it’s leaping into the Metaverse and recognizing that fashion must embrace the virtual world. While the Metaverse remains in its infancy, there’s plenty of interest in its potential. For brands and the broader fashion industry, it could well offer new opportunities to engage Gen Z and other tech-savvy, young consumers.
Mckinsey has begun investigating this issue in the industry, publishing The State of Fashion 2022 in partnership with the Business of Fashion (BoF).
According to Mckinsey, personal expression is critical to Gen Z, and fashion is one of the top three categories in which Zers seek to splurge or treat themselves. We know from the expanding clothing market in the NFT world that this translates into the digital universe. Whether “splurge” and “treat themselves” is an accurate assessment of a generation more aware and knowledgable than any that has come previously (including my own) is a slightly more complex conversation, perhaps.
The Black Station Experience
The experience starts when they enter a “hyper-realistic digital lobby space” with three separate portals.
The first two portals, accessible from Wednesday, unveil exclusive never-seen-before Nitro NFRNO and Nitro Fastroid sneakers linked to Puma’s recent NFT Nitropass mint.
The third portal of Black Station will be the entry to the digital NYFW metaverse fashion show, which comprises an “interactive space abstracted with point cloud style effects.” Consumers will “journey through a digital adaptation of the show, where visitors can interact with the collection’s pieces.”
It is a creative venture from FTR built with Unreal Engine 5 to produce cutting-edge graphics. The company said that “those who minted a Nitropass can receive two NFTs – one tied to physical products and one that unlocks a customized experience linked to their chosen shoe” for those first two portals. And after the Futrograde show, minters can claim their physical sneakers by burning their product-claimed NFT.
Puma NFT Sneakers: New Age Design
According to Global creative director Heiko Desens
“the shoes “recontextualize iconic Puma features through bold, innovative designs. Fastroid takes a performance tech silhouette to the extreme with exaggerated volumes of Nitro foam in gradient high-impact hues. With ‘sport is art’ as the guiding ambition, NFRNO appears like a hybrid collision of the past and future, drawing inspiration from obscure archive styles to arrive at a multi-part molded construction.” – Fashion Network.
Nitro Network’s Non-Fungible Miners, or NFMs, are the next evolution in NFT utility. NFMs combines the unique artwork and ownership principles of NFTs with the reward-generating utility of the DeFi industry. While most traditional mining methods require expensive, inefficient hardware, NFMs generate rewards for their owners in the form of Nitro’s native token, $NCash, without additional equipment and expenses.
What’s Coming Next
Brands everywhere are catching on to the mass appeal of Web3, NFTs, and the Metaverse, especially in digital fashion. Puma’s Chief Brand Officer Adam Petrick told Vogue Business that Puma “as a sports company [has] to think about connecting with people in the physical world and giving people the opportunity to bring physical products into the digital world.” He explained that even a tangible product like a basketball shoe could have athletic abilities in the digital world.
The new partnership will bring about digital sneakers, NFT collections, and more, allowing fans to personalize their experiences. While there’s not much insight into what the apparel and digital assets will look like, Petrick says Puma wants to provide users with a space free of physical limitations and open to personal expression.