Will You Pay Real Money for Gucci Sneakers Made of Pixels?

The Italian luxury house creates a space for creating virtual designer sneakers.

The twin Gs of Gucci on the buckle of a belt or a pattern on a backpack signals forward-looking style as expressed by the Italian luxury house, but it seems the label wants its “GG” to mean something more: “good game” or the shorthand gamers key in to signify that a match is over and was enjoyable. 

Of late, Gucci has been dipping its toes into strange territory, that of the nerdy world of gaming and related realms. There’s the digital recreation of its sustainable fashion line, Gucci Off The Grid, in The Sims 4, as well as the section in the Gucci app for retro-style games, Gucci Arcade. There were also explorations on Instagram (#24HourAce, which is ASMR) and with Snap Inc., for which it created Try-On Snapchat Lenses with mobile game Tennis Clash.

Photo by Gucci.

Gucci Garage is for sneakers, real or virtual.

And now, there is Gucci Garage, a new section on its app dedicated to all things sneakers, real or imagined. That last bit means virtual, which brings us to one of the wildest dares Gucci has ever presented to the world: Will you pay real-world money for designer sneakers made of pixels? 


To be exact, will you pay for the Gucci Virtual 25, the first virtual sneakers from the house, now found in the Garage? 

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A post shared by Gucci Official (@gucci)

Hatched from the fertile mind of creative director Alessandro Michele, these hyper-real sneakers have that chunky look, which reminds you of what’s happening in the sneakerworld right now and in the ’80s. Though imaginary, the sneaker is also packed with technical details (is that an auto-lacing system on the tongue?) all rendered in poppy gamer colors of hot pink, bright green, and a soft blue.

And, oh yeah, the model can only be purchased virtually and thus worn by a digital persona in augmented reality or a virtual environment. According to the brand, the Gucci Virtual 25 has been launched on the sneaker gaming app Aglet and will be wearable on Roblox (ask your nephews) and VRChat. 

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Gucci Garage lets you make your version of the Gucci sneaker.

About that garage: There’s a reason why Gucci invokes the car repository for this project as it envisions the new section as “a hotbed for talent and ideas, the seeding grounds of alternative ways to imagine and accelerate possible futures.” Like a garage. 

Photo by Gucci.
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Aside from giving us the virtual sneaker, Gucci Garage allows you to make your own by taking elements from existing designs, exploring the house codes, and remixing all of that to create, what Gucci calls, a post-physical expression. 

If you’re not sure what to create (don’t think—just do), you can visit its virtual gallery, where artists were invited by Gucci to create new expressions using the Gucci sneaker. Take a look below for inspiration:

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Should you pay for virtual Gucci sneakers?

Back to the big question: Will you pay money for not-real sneakers? Is it an irresponsible idea to exchange hard-earned cash for pixel clothes?

If you think about it, you may be already doing it for, say, a supercharged weapon or a glittering skin in a computer game. You’ve probably also bought digital music or a soft file of a book yesterday.

And if you ponder the meaning of everything even more, isn't money also imaginary, a set of numbers that exist somewhere in the digital library of your bank, payroll, stock portfolio, or land valuation?

Exchanging coin and bill for post-physical sneakers is not such a crazy idea, right? (Just don’t tell the wife.)

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Clifford Olanday
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