RTFKT's Growing Pains

Cryptokicks iRL, invisibility cloaks, and an interview with Kojiro Hirate

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the first issue of the Digital Fashion Weekly newsletter!

Like Digital Fashion Daily, this newsletter has been a work in progress and a project I couldn't be more excited to launch. For those who signed up a few months back, thank you for your patience.

With that said, the goal of this newsletter is twofold:

  1. To tell you exactly how technology is shaping the fashion industry in five minutes or less.

  2. To meet cool people. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing on the internet, it’s that a lifelong relationship is a reply away.

Every Tuesday, you’ll receive an in-depth roundup of the top stories, interviews, and memes the digital fashion world has to offer.

I’ll certainly be injecting my opinion, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Oh, and if you're new here, smash the subscribe button. You won't regret it.

Alrighty then, let's get into it.

🌍 RTFKT, can ya do something for me?

Get a corporate communications team 🤝

After first filing for the patents back in 2018, Nike’s RTFKT finally unveiled its first-ever major web3-IRL sneaker crossover to the world.

Well, sort of.

Releasing in four colorways, the Cryptokicks iRL come with a slew of features such as auto-lacing, haptic feedback, enhanced lighting, gesture control, walk detection, wireless charging, App connectivity, an AI/ML algo, and move-to-earn quests.

Cryptokicks iRL

Like the RTFKT x Nike AR Hoodie, each sneaker is embedded with an NFC chip that connects the physical item with a digital twin NFT. Limited to 19,000 pairs, the sneakers will be released in two waves:

First, from Dec 12th - 16th, RTFKT Lace Engine NFT Holders can secure a pair for .38 ETH (or ~$480 dollars at current exchange rates). Starting on December 14th, any remaining sneakers will be available for purchase by lucky public draw winners for .5 ETH or around $630.

But with all good, comes some bad.

In a thread announcing the drop, Nike revealed for the first time that due to ‘advanced tech and product regulations’ the sneakers could only ship to the US.

Given the size of the global community of RTFKT NFT holders, people were pissed. And rightfully so.

After 24 hours of intense backlash, RTFKT honorably owned up to its shortcomings and came up with an imperfect but better solution.

There’s no question that RTFKT is pioneering the space forward, but with a big budget comes big responsibility. I have no doubt they’ll bounce back.

👟An Interview with Kojiro Hirate

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Joyfa CEO Kojiro Hirate to chat all things digital sneakers and augmented reality. Like many others, Hirate is betting big on augmented reality wearables to change the game. You can read the full interview here.

Kojiro Hirate

📱H&M Releases Wearable AR Garments

Following the likes of Puma and FARFETCH, H&M is the next big brand to experiment with Snap’s Camera Kit, an AR shopping technology Snap began offering to retailers earlier this year.

Co-designed by H&M and London-based digital studio Institute of Digital Fashion, shoppers can use augmented reality to try on and wear three one-of-a-kind garments on both Snap and the H&M app.

H&M AR Garments

Image: Snap

In a press release, Brooke DeWitt, Product Strategy and Marketing Manager at Snap said: “Augmented reality is a powerful tool for promoting creativity and self-expression.”

I hear no lies.

Did China develop an…invisibility cloak?

Yes, they did.

Designed by students at Wuhan University, the InvisDefense coat can hide wearers from artificial intelligence-monitored security cameras used to capture biometric data. During the day, the coat uses a pattern to blind the cameras. At night, it emits unusual heat signals to confuse them.

InvisDefense Coat

Image: Hindustan Times

That way, the camera can tell that there’s an object in front of it but can’t tell if it’s a human, let alone which human it is.

🧵Pixels and Threads:

That's it for this week. If you liked this issue, I'd greatly appreciate it if you shared it on social or forwarded it to a friend.

See you next Tuesday,