- Ralph Lauren has partnered with the video game Fortnite to introduce a digital clothing and accessories collection within the Fortnite Item Shop and a physical capsule collection, the brand announced on Monday.
- As part of the partnership, the company has redesigned its Polo Pony logo, the first time the brand has done so in its 50-year history. Inspired by the Stadium collection and the Polo Sport line from the ‘90s, the brand is releasing two outfits for Fortnite on Saturday and the physical capsule collection was made available on its website on Wednesday.
- To launch the collection, the brand is hosting a Twitch livestream event on Thursday and co-hosting a player tournament in Fortnite. During the Twitch event, rapper Polo G will perform, and streamers and esports stars, including Alixxa, Sommerset and Ta1yo, will make an appearance.
Though the metaverse concept has yet to fully take shape, Ralph Lauren is investing even more in platforms it perceives to be the future. In addition to its collaboration with Fortnite, the iconic clothing brand also introduced its first digital clothing line within Roblox late last year.
The collaborations with Roblox and Fortnite are just one way Ralph Lauren is investing in tech. Earlier this year, the brand said it planned to invest an undisclosed sum in Franklin Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-centric investment firm, to fund “innovative consumer technology companies, with a particular focus on companies led by women.” A spokesperson for Ralph Lauren told Retail Dive that the company wants to invest in consumer technologies broadly.
“Ralph Lauren has always designed dreams and created new worlds, and today, our collaboration with Fortnite will deliver a groundbreaking experience to a new community of next-generation players and consumers,” David Lauren, chief branding and innovation officer at Ralph Lauren, said in a statement about the Fortnite partnership. "Our partnership represents a completely fresh take on the Ralph Lauren brand — designing for the metaverse first — that is thoroughly focused on the future. We are excited to continue to lead digital exploration, building on our decades-long track record of pioneering innovation.”
But as Ralph Lauren ventures into gaming platforms and immersive virtual worlds, so do other brands. In June, Timberland partnered with Epic Games and the creative studio Conceptkicks to create four "Metaboots" and three biomes users could explore within Fortnite. And in late October, Claire's introduced ShimmerVille, a virtual space within Roblox where users can dress their avatars in accessories that Claire's has available in its physical stores and engage in other activities.
As brands flock to gaming universes, Fortnite parent company Epic Games has been raising capital to enhance its platform. Earlier this year, the company raised $2 billion from Sony Group Corporation and Kirkbi (the investment company behind The Lego Group), funding which it said it wanted to use to build the metaverse. At that time, the investment propelled its valuation to $31.5 billion.
Though some brands are turning to metaverse activations to reach new customers, it remains to be seen whether the concept will catch on more broadly. A survey released in May by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence found that while 74% of respondents had heard of the metaverse as of March, only 15% said they could explain the idea to others. That survey also found that 72% of parents are worried about their kids' privacy in the metaverse, and two-thirds said they were concerned about their children’s safety. Plus, a Piper Sandler survey released in April found that 48% of teens are either not interested in the metaverse or aren’t sure about it.