Ralph Lauren enters virtual shopping arena

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Zepeto and Ralph Lauren partnership
Ralph Lauren is launching a virtual fashion experience.

Ralph Lauren is partnering with the Zepeto global social networking and avatar simulation app to provide customers with a personalized virtual world.

Known as Ralph Lauren x Zepeto, the partnership consists of a digital apparel collection and a thematic virtual world. Ralph Lauren apparel is virtually represented in the digital world of Zepeto. Participating customers are provided with a personalized 3D avatar and can socialize with other users.  

Users can also wardrobe their 3D avatars with exclusive product. Three distinct digital, interactive spaces are designed to celebrate the spirit, energy and attitude of the brand, including the Madison Avenue flagship store, Ralph’s Coffee Shop, and Central Park — all in New York City. 

For the first time, Ralph Lauren digital apparel will be available for purchase, marking the company’s entrance into virtual economies. The collection features 12 looks, including over 50 unique items, representing a mix of vintage Polo Ralph Lauren styles and pieces from Polo Ralph Lauren’s current summer collection. The collection also includes special items such as two limited edition skateboards, designed exclusively for the virtual Ralph Lauren x Zepeto collection. 

Retailers inside the fashion vertical are beginning to explore the potential of marketing and even selling virtual products. In June 2021, teen apparel retailer PacSun partnered with game development studio Melon and global online gaming platform Roblox to make select clothing items available in the Roblox Avatar Marketplace. Roblox players can use their “Robux” online currency (purchased with regular currency) to customize their in-game avatars with Pacsun-branded clothing and fashion accessories.

That same month, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. partnered with interactive entertainment provider Zynga to launch its new Kenneth Cole Pride 2021 collection in the casual mobile game “High Heels!” For the first two weeks of June, gamers were able to outfit their character and play “High Heels!” in product from the LGBTQ-friendly Kenneth Cole Pride 2021 collection.

In September 2021, K-Pop band Tomorrow X Together will be hosting a live virtual event from Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue flagship store within the Zepeto platform. Tomorrow X Together will interact with visitors via their 3D avatars wearing pieces from the Ralph Lauren x Zepeto collection, taking selfies and snapping photos and videos that visitors will be able to share on social media. 

“Ralph Lauren’s new partnership with Zepeto further demonstrates our belief that innovating in virtual worlds is essential to engaging the next generation of consumers,” said Alice Delahunt, chief digital officer, Ralph Lauren. “Ralph Lauren has always embraced new environments, and we’re excited to push the boundaries in this emerging arena. Making our product available to purchase and wear digitally and allowing consumers to experience the brand in immersive new ways is the next frontier.”

Ralph Lauren Corp.’s brand names include Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Polo Ralph Lauren, Double RL, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren Children, and Chaps.

Zepeto is a virtual “metaverse” aimed at Generation Z and developed by NaverZ Corp.