Virtual Fashion platform RTFKT has raised $8 million in a funding round. The company specializes in digital sneakers and other virtual accessories.
RTFKT, a virtual fashion platform, has raised $8 million in a funding round spearheaded by Andreessen Horowitz. The money is earmarked for team growth and to develop a proprietary online marketplace. With just two full-time employees currently staffed, RTFKT will be hiring engineers, designers, and gaming experts.
The latter suggests that NFTs in gaming and virtual spaces are next on RTFKTs to-do list. Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill, Behance co-founder Scott Belsky, artist Fewocious, and former LVMH Chief Digital Officer Ian Rogers are among other entities to participate in the funding round.
Bridge between digital and physical fashion
RTFKT made waves last month, when they announced the release of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of virtual sneakers. The kicks were designed with the help of digital artist Fewocious and sold $3.1 million worth in less than ten minutes. RTFKT and Fewocious not only designed the virtual shoes but also digital merch called “Drip” and “Charm.” Each pair of digital shoes was priced between $3,000 and $10,000.
Jonathan Lai, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, spoke about his companies interest in RTKFT:
“RTFKT is leading the way in building the bridge between digital and physical fashion […] As we spend more time in virtual worlds, I believe that we will care just as much about our digital sneakers and handbags as we do our physical ones. Over the past decade, games have evolved from entertainment into social networks — for many folks today, games are the new mall and sports bar.”
RTFKT launched in January 2020 and has grown alongside the NFT boom in 2021. The company has seen revenue of $4.5 million so far this year, a sharp increase from their profit of $600,000 for the entirety of 2020.
Digital fashion is a burgeoning big business
Demand for virtual fashion is on the rise, and brands are scrambling to keep pace. As with anything associated with the fashion world, the landscape is in a perpetual state of flux. This goes double when the world of NFTs and digital marketplaces is introduced.
The shoe $3.1 million shoe sale was not RTKFT’s first foray into NFTs in 2021. In March, they teamed up with The Fabricant and created an original line of earrings and formal wear, including sneakers. As with the sneaker sale, the entire collection sold out in less than 15 minutes.
Flash sales on sneakers selling out in minutes is nothing new with the recent explosion in the streetwear trend. The RTKFT/Fabricant sale takes the industry in a whole new direction, however, with the virtual nature of garments purchased. The sale also shows that virtual sneakers are not the only desirable digital fashion.
Virtual fashion houses have begun popping up as a result, such as The Dematerialised. A Web3 marketplace that allows big brands to mingle with small designers on a platform to sell virtual wearable goods.