Today, House of Blueberry (HoB) and Natori announced the design and launch of a digital fashion collection that combines Natori’s iconic designs with the magic of the virtual world for all avatars in Roblox. The collection features printed robes, matching sets, earrings, sunglasses and four new hairstyles, all brought to life with Natori’s East meets West ideals. The Natori showroom has also been reinvented on Roblox in “Blueberry World,” filled with avatars decked out in signature Natori patterns and silhouettes.
Though Natori has traditionally catered to higher income consumers, the metaverse provides an opportunity for a larger audience to experience luxury goods at an accessible price point. New survey evidence from Roblox reveals that 75% of Gen Z says that they plan on spending money on digital fashion, 67% say they are excited to wear brand name virtual items on Roblox, and nearly half look to digital fashion brands and designers for clothes that they can experiment with that they would not have otherwise worn in-real-life. “There is a universal consumer demand for luxury goods; it just doesn’t make sense for everyone’s budget. The partnership between Natori and House of Blueberry provides a brand new audience with the opportunity to experience Natori luxury,” said Mishi McDuff, chief executive officer and founder of Blueberry.
“When we look at the Natori brand, it’s built on guiding principles like ‘East Meets West’ and ‘Art Into Life.’ When we look at what virtual spaces do, they are a powerful equalizer around the world, bringing culture and connection to so many people… The core values of the Natori brand translate beautifully into the metaverse, where young people are coming out in droves to buy from digitally native fashion brands like Blueberry,” said Katherine Manuel, chief operating officer at Blueberry.
Consumers can wear items from the Natori x Blueberry collection on their Roblox avatars, providing the opportunity for greater self-expression, particularly in social environments where Roblox users are meeting new people and making friends. In a web3 era when pundits demand utility, here the utility is the actual digital wearable that enables greater self-expression. “Utility in social spaces is self-expression,” McDuff continued.
“We take a “direct-to-avatar” approach to selling digital wearables. Many brands have built strong foundations on a direct-to-consumer model, and we are pioneering this approach in the metaverse by offering avatar fashion directly to users… It’s wonderful to see an original fashion creator and an original avatar fashion creator coming together in the creator economy space. Josie from Natori and Mishi from Blueberry represent the type of highly creative, fashion-forward women leaders who are defining the future of fashion and the metaverse” Manuel continued.
A generation of new consumers has emerged in Gen Z that cares about self-expression not only in-real-life, but also digitally and nearly all of this generation lives only: 95% of 13 to 17 year olds have access to a smartphone and 97% use at least on of seven major online social media platforms, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey.
“We’re so excited to be launching on Roblox, our first foray into the metaverse. Getting in front of new customers and pushing the brand forward have been major initiatives for us, and this partnership has helped us do both. The House of Blueberry did a great job translating our iconic prints and designs into a collection that is geared towards the Roblox consumer while staying true to our Natori DNA. We are incredibly excited for this first of many chapters of our metaverse roadmap,” said Ken Natori, president of Natori.