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Metaverse Licensing: Barbie Joins Collaboration With Forever 21 and VBG on Roblox

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

The metaverse licensing company Virtual Brands Group is on a roll.

After winning a coveted Licensing Excellence award for its collaboration with Forever 21 and Roblox, Virtual Brands Group and Forever 21 have landed a metaverse collaboration with Mattel’s Barbie.

The new limited-edition collection includes a range of on-trend vintage style apparel items, swim, sleepwear, beauty, and accessories as well as home décor, inspired by the Barbie DreamHouse.

The collection will be simultaneously available in-store, online, and in the “Forever 21 Shop City” experience on Roblox.

Virtual Brand Group First Metaverse Company Nominated for Licensing Awards

VBG’s CEO Justin Hochberg says this deal is another major step not just for his company, but for metaverse licensing in general.

I think what you’re seeing now is this stratospheric shift, where brands have realized that the metaverse is here at scale, with trillions of dollars of revenue available,” Hochberg said. “They’ve also come to this hard question, which is, how do we get our piece of it?

“Some brands are really forward, like Nike and Adidas investing in technologies and all this stuff, but that’s not for everyone, because that is really a very capital intensive business. If you don’t have that budget, or that technical leadership, and you want a piece of it, then the Virtual Brands Group is your solution, because we license the IP, we fund what you don’t want to fund or can’t fund or can’t fund right now, and then we build a business.

“Our statement is, if we can’t create $20 million in top line revenue in 18 months, fire us.”

Forever 21’s Roblox experience was created in partnership with the Virtual Brand Group (VBG), a web3 fashion designer, game developer and retailer that creates immersive metaverse experiences by building and operating for global brands’ Web3 businesses.

The metaverse collection was created by VBG’s global multicultural design team, working across five countries.

That deal is now expanded to include a new fashion collection created by Forever 21 and Barbie that meticulously replicates its real-life inspiration and campaign using Roblox’s latest Layered Clothing technology for hyper-realistic 3D clothing that fits any avatar body type.

The designs feature real-world fabrics and details like intricate stitching on the collection’s Malibu Denim Jacket, embossed art, beadwork, and textured fabrics on jump suits, dresses, hoodies, iconic t-shirts, trucker hats and jelly bags. Fans globally can now follow the “#TwinWithYourAvatar” trend.

“Barbie, a SoCal native, plays in the same inclusive, empowering and fashionable space that our customers love, appreciate and have come to expect from our business,” said Winnie Park, CEO at Forever 21. “We are thrilled to offer shoppers unexpected line extensions that include Barbie in store and online and virtual fashions in the metaverse. This was the perfect collection to launch first, under our Forever LA umbrella.”

Another in-store and online first for fashion retailer Forever 21 will be offering the Barbie Fashionistas, the most diverse doll line on the market, which celebrates an inclusive view of beauty and fashion, representing a range of body types, skin tones, eye colors, and unique physical traits.

Hochberg says one of the unique aspects of the collaboration is the idea of ‘twinning’ with your avatar, which means consumers can get the same outfit in the real world for themselves, for their Barbie, and also a digital version for their avatar in Roblox.

“So yes, we’re selling virtual Barbie items, but you’ll notice these are exact replicas of the physical items being sold in store,” Hochberg explains. “If you look at that denim skirt, down to the stitching, and the patching, or whatever it is you’re looking at, we’re selling exact items.

“So now think about this; You can dress your doll, you could dress yourself, you could dress your avatar, so it’s now gone from twinning with your avatar to a triangle of dressing like your avatar in the real world, in the virtual world, and in the doll world, and that’s something that to my knowledge has not been done before.”

Available at all Forever 21 locations, the Barbie Summer 2022 Collection celebrates inclusive fashion with sizes ranging from XS to 3XL and offers an additional assortment for kids. Prices range from $6.99 – $54.99 and will be available for a limited time only at Forever 21 stores, on the Forever 21 App, and online on www.forever21.com.

The new inclusive fashions can also be acquired in the Roblox Avatar Shop and worn on any avatars on the platform.

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