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Luxury Brands Are Already Making Millions in the Metaverse

The likes of Gucci, Balenciaga, and Burberry are spinning up fashion and accessories that you'll never even wear

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Illustration: Rad Mora

The waiting list for a Birkin bag can stretch years, but for some, the only purse they want is one they’ll never get their hands on. The Dematerialised, a British startup that co-founder Karinna Nobbs calls “the digital department store of your dreams,” sells nothing but virtual luxuries; it’s a marketplace for clothing and accessories that will only ever exist online.

The first piece it brought out, on Dec. 12, 2020, was a silver sweater selling for €121 ($137). Like all of her products since, the whole run—1,212 digital renderings—sold within three hours. Nobbs has also worked with the Fabricant, a Dutch virtual couture house where users create exclusive apparel for their digital avatars on social platforms including VRChat, a 3D digital world that soared in popularity during the pandemic.The Fabricant collaboration scored the priciest sale at her store so far: €9,000 for a single garment—or, more precisely, nongarment.