Play! Pop! Go!, the digital play platform with a namesake digital fashion brand, is launching its first physical collection. At the end of May, the company will debut eight streetwear-inspired staples in the signature graphic style of the brand. Soon after, timed with a physical pop-up store at Paris Fashion Week in June, the company will debut its first digital fashion collaborations, with eyewear label Bonnie Clyde and Gucci Vault artist Pet Liger.
Play! Pop! Go! aims to be a more playful and immersive fashion brand and gaming world than what already exists. After launching in January, Play! Pop! Go! is now introducing physical luxury garments. The first eight pieces dropped are part of a 28-piece collection, with pieces priced $50-$650. Subsequent drops will hit in June and July. PPG’s business model includes its fashion brand, an NFT-based loyalty program and an independent gaming platform, the latter of which will be rolling out its storyline through Twitter and Discord announcements this year.
For promotion, the company plans to host marketing activations throughout the year. They’ll be pegged to Fashion Week, Miami Art Basel and Frieze Soul, and built into the platform’s quest model. Quests are a popular web3 mechanism, used by fashion brands like Gucci over the last year. They offer a unique storyline, plus rewards for those who follow the storyline over time and interact with it. Gucci developed a cartoon storyline, inclusive of quests, for fashion NFT collection Gucci Grail. The activation led to a Gucci partnership with NFT platform Yuga Labs, announced in March.
Those who purchase an item from the PPG physical clothing collection will receive a digital twin for the item, as well as a virtual closet on the platform that stores their personal purchasing history. Customers with bigger collections are rewarded. This model of “phygital” garment twins is already being applied by other web3 brands including gmoney’s 9dcc, which has come out with two phygital collections so far.
“Luxury streetwear is an important component because, if you are talking about gaming and digital, especially the metaverse, fashion is such a pure way of expressing your identity,” said PPG founder and creative director Amber Park. Park has extensive experience as a creative director for musical artists including Katy Perry and Lil Nas X, and has worked on immersive projects for Apple Music and Universal. “How we dress, shop and collect things is an extension of what we want to be represented by,” she said.
Self-expression and creativity are core tenets of the brand and gaming platform. “We are focused on how we bring people together to play together, similarly to how music artists bring together their community — and we have to make that accessible,” said Park. “At the same time, we are showing our audience how they can free their imagination in the gaming space and connect with their inner child through art and creativity.” Current brand fans are largely Gen Z. As the Parktopia game has not yet launched, PPG doesn’t have a set user base, but it’s earned 160,000 Twitter followers.
PPG will launch IRL, educational activations promoting its digital fashion collaborations during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris in June. The collabs will also be promoted at Art Basel Miami and Frieze in Seoul. PPG aims to open up the traditional fashion community, presenting its platform as a Disneyland-like omniverse focused on creativity for Gen Z, according to the company.
How PPG aims to introduce web3 to the traditional fashion community
For PPG, the key to bringing in a web2 audience is through high-profile collaborations with artists and brands already known in fashion. Its first two collaborators include indie eyewear label Bonnie Clyde and Gucci collaborator Pet Liger. Each collaboration features its own mini-game on the PPG gaming platform. PPG is also developing product collaborations with fashion director Nicola Formichetti and nail artist Unistella, the latter of whom works with K-Pop band Black Pink.
PPG x Bonnie Clyde and PPG x Pet Liger will beach consist of 111 unique virtual eyewear pieces and shoe artworks, respectively. Each pair of glasses and shoes will come with its own digital accessory counterpart and utility, or additional benefits, as well as future, unlockable surprises. “We haven’t been interested in creating a digital collection until now,” said Jon Yuan, founder of Bonnie Clyde. “We’ve been approached by a handful of people to create one during the NFT craze, but nothing felt right until PPG.” Yuan noted that PPG’s strong aesthetic, paired with Park’s background in creative direction and IRL activations, were selling points.
The web3 and NFT elements of PPG are hidden – its backend runs on blockchain, which the user does not need to understand to interact with the game. The platform’s Play3 Park! loyalty program rewards customers with early access to exclusive product drops, shows and parties. Loyalty programs have become the more commonly used vernacular for NFTs, when it comes to their community benefits, as seen with Nike’s .swoosh community.
“Rather than [hosting] a one-off revenue moment, or selling a ‘new digital product line,’ brands are using web3 tech for new customer acquisition, especially a younger, more digitally native Gen-Z consumer. They’re lowering the cost of new customer acquisition by offering digital fashion and, via storytelling and quests, they’re increasing the overall total lifetime value of their customers, which is the holy grail,” said Camilla McFarland, vp at web3 consumer engagement platform Mojito who worked with Prada and Givenchy on their web3 launches. “Web3-native brands like Play! Pop! Go!, 9dcc and Draup are pioneering that range of case studies and acting as powerful examples for traditional fashion brands.”
“We are looking to show a mainstream Gen-Z audience that all the ways they are interacting currently – social media, gaming, livestream shopping — are really web3, in essence,” said Park. All of PPG’s collections are purchasable on its website with fiat currency.
The Play3 Park! Game is modeled after games like Pokémon Go and Club Penguin. Designed to focus on social gaming, it includes mini-games, digital closets and virtual shopping experiences. The digital collaborations will unlock new quests and activate new prizes, as well as exclusive access and power-ups within the games. While holders of the brand’s first digital collectible will have early access to the loyalty program and all of the associated on-chain rewards, the game, set to launch in Q4 of 2023, will eventually be playable for all.
Currently, PPG’s website and social accounts across Discord and Twitter feature its initial drop, of digital collectible “Dreamboxes” that will benefit future players via power-ups, as well as access to the phygital garments.
Gaming and elements of “play” are becoming a focus for brands. The latest Retail Futures report, released in April 2023 by the trend-forecasting company The Future Laboratory, highlights the Lacoste virtual flagship, a virtual store the brand launched on the brand’s website in December, as a “play” opportunity. The report calls it a good example of how brands can introduce immersive areas dedicated to play, based on how their consumers have engaged with seasonal products. Lacoste offers a further token-gated room for VIP customers in its web3 community.