I’ve been hearing about how metaverse fashion is the future for a long time now. I’m not convinced, but I was intrigued when I received an email about Forever 21's first-ever “metaverse-inspired” IRL collection. I may not be willing to fork over my own money for virtual clothes yet, but real clothes inspired by virtual worlds online seemed like a cool idea.
Launched in December, the F21 Metaverse Collection, as it’s officially called, consists of three real-life pieces of clothing—a hoodie, T-Shirt, and beanie—in black and pink with the word “Forever” featured prominently in black or white text. As the Prada-wearing devil Miranda Priestly would say (sarcastically), that sure is “groundbreaking.” Prices for the real-world items range from $14.99 to $29.99 and can be purchased in-store and online.
In a press release, Forever 21 said that the collection was “designed with elements from the brand’s virtual offerings.” Notably, the “Forever” beanie included in the collection is Forever 21's top selling product from its online store, named Shop City, on Roblox. In addition, the company has been launching a new limited edition virtual item on Roblox every day of December, which will only be available to purchase for 24 hours.
“Utilizing Roblox as testing ground, Forever 21 has proven that there is appetite for its offerings within and beyond social games,” the company said in the release, pointing out that Gen Z users base their avatar’s style on their IRL style. “Forever 21 is currently working on ways to connect virtual and physical items through ‘phygital’ experiences.”
But honestly, this “phygital” (what a gross word, yuck) collection is pretty boring. If you take away the beanie—which is a run-of-the-mill, albeit cute, beanie that stays well within fashion norms—nothing about the collection would indicate that it was inspired by the metaverse. It would just be another batch of branded clothing.
I’m not exactly sure that Forever 21 is entirely to blame here, though. The company designed the F21 collection for a customer in the physical world of today. Perhaps, for a metaverse-inspired line, it should have pushed boundaries and ventured into new territory. It’s not like it doesn’t have ideas. The brand’s accessories on Shop City, including its headbands, earrings, and sunglasses, are delightful. It also has gems like its “Space Prom Dress,” which it totally could have used as a colorful starting point for new products.
Furthermore, the virtual items it’s releasing alongside the collection blow it away in terms of creativity and originality. There’s a candy-and-cake-themed hat, a bejeweled spiked face beanie, and an “Ice Queen” beanie. I would have been much more excited to see any of these items IRL instead of clothes stamped with “Forever.”
I’m not surprised that this metaverse-inspired collection turned out to be just more of everything we’ve already seen, though. Forever 21 is a fast fashion company, after all. It doesn’t usually set future trends, it follows them. That seems to be true for the metaverse, as well.
Click through to check out the F21 Metaverse Collection and some of the virtual, limited edition items Forever 21 will be releasing on Roblox throughout the month of December.