With the Nike Mag – a fictional concept shoe inspired by the film Back to the Future II – Nike took a giant leap into the future of sneakers a decade ago.
The 1,500 limited edition was so lauded for its unique self-lacing design that it became one of the most legendary sneakers in sneaker history.
From Run-DMC separating crowds with “My Adidas” in the 1980s to the return of basketball’s most iconic apparel – the “notorious” Air Jordan – sneakers have become ubiquitous and fundamental to the pursuit of esteem and reverence within fashion culture.
The idea that a shoe of this calibre could not be delivered after being purchased would have seemed outrageous in these days of visual excess.
And yet, fast forward to today, and that’s exactly where we find ourselves.
Through history, tangible assets have been conceived as tangible assets one can touch, wear, and display. Today, tangible assets have taken on a cultural metamorphosis and are entering virtual landscapes based on nodes and blocks.
A project of RTFKT Studios (pronounced “artifact”), it’s transforming fashion into a metaverse fashion brand.
Until early 2020, the collective operated quietly, working with certain companies in the gaming and fashion industries.
Chris Le, Benoit Pagotto, and Steven Vasilev founded RTKFT, which specializes in creating immersive virtual and physical sneakers made of nonfungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain authentication, as well as AR-integrated collectibles.
During the past twelve months, the project has experienced social growth, partnering with Jeff Staples and Janet Jackson, as well as releasing digital collectibles in gaming metaverses The Sandbox and Decentraland.
Further, the team raised $8 million in funding from notable investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Galaxy Digital, Mike Novogratz, and Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs.
The RTFKT has both initiated and executed forging events which provide holders with the chance to redeem their physical reciprocal of NFT possession in addition to virtual products.
A website spoke with Chris Le, co-founder and chief creative officer of RTFKT Studios, about the company’s upcoming ventures and the wider adoption of NFT fashion culture.
As an artist before joining RTFKT, Chris designed games, worked for record labels such as Def Jam and Sony, directed and edited music videos for artists like Ty Dolla Sign and Anderson .Paak, and directed and edited two Netflix movies featuring Danny Trejo.