Diesel Harnesses Emerging Music Talent in NFT Drop, Levi’s AI-Generated Virtual Models, and More: Web3 Drops of the Week

The big story this week comes from Diesel, which this year has committed to leaning further into the digital space and embracing the virtual zeitgeist. This week, the fashion house launched the first drop of its latest venture. The initiative uses Web3 to foster relationships between emerging musical talent and their fan bases.

Launch numbers show it was a success and the brand is making waves both offline and online. But can it uphold its reputation as it continues to go digital?

In other notable news, denim powerhouse Levi’s has jumped on the virtual model bandwagon. It plans to focus on its digital transformation journey this year and invest in new technologies to improve its e-commerce experience. With the help of artificial intelligence, the label wants to diversify its shopping platforms with hyper-realistic avatars and thus reduce the need for human models.

Turning to China, as rules on digital collectibles and token trading ease on the mainland, the country’s e-commerce giants are back with a bang. As part of its spring campaign, Tmall invited five of its top-performing brands to launch their own digital collectibles – and the stellar response across social media channels shows China’s appetite for virtual assets is greater than ever.

> Happening Now! @HoneyLuvmusic released their first #Web3Music track “FASHION” on Public Pressure. This is the first drop of our partnership with @DIESEL featuring a downloadable audio track with exclusive artwork created by visual designer Nic Paranoia.

👁‍🗨https://t.co/fTCM0oTDm3 pic.twitter.com/g2BkwgQrho

— PUBLIC PRESSURE (@jointhepressure) March 15, 2023

Diesel fuses music and technology in the Metaverse for his latest Web3 success story

What happened: Diesel is expanding its presence in the Metaverse. On March 15, the luxury house and Gen Z favorite teamed up with international Web3 media company Public Pressure to unveil the first commercial campaign of their partnership, which the brands announced last year.

Their latest initiative aims to “celebrate the fabric and future of underground music by promoting pioneering artists, Web3 culture and technology,” according to their release statement.

The first Nonfungible Token (NFT) drop, the first of a planned “Discovery” series of four token collections, included a downloadable audio track, Fashion by LA-based DJ/producer HoneyLuv, alongside exclusive artwork by Italian designer Nic Paranoia. The authenticity of the content is verified via Kilt’s identity blockchain protocol.

The Verdict: The initial release sold out in four hours with over 1,200 tracks embossed and grossed nearly $50,000. In the offline world, according to the brand, an artist would need around 11,700,000 streams to earn an equivalent amount. Spotify, for example, pays artists an average of $0.003 to $0.005 per stream. Although word has spread this year that NFTs are dead, the impressive outcome of this project suggests otherwise.

As for Diesel, the brand is betting on the art and power of collaboration to achieve its Web3 ambitions. Late last year, the label partnered with popular NFT collective Hape for a streetwear-inspired digital collectible release. As a fashion brand that stands for support of a socially responsible youth culture, the house has planned to establish itself as a “Patron of Discovery” via public pressure, with the aim of promoting direct interactions between emerging artists and their fans.

The brand released a first look at its virtually generated models this week. Photo: Levi’s

​​Levi’s introduces AI-generated virtual models to improve inclusivity and consumer e-commerce experiences

What happened: Levi’s announced on Wednesday that it is testing AI-generated virtual models as a new e-commerce tool. To capitalize on its artificial intelligence efforts and increase diversity within the brand, a series of body-integrated avatars is being developed to complement the company’s human models and enhance the consumer experience.

As described by Amy Gershkoff Bolles, Global Head of Digital and Emerging Technology Strategy at Levi Strauss & Co., the technology will enable Levi’s to create “hyper-realistic models for every body type, age, size and skin tone.”

The Verdict: The label is collaborating with LaLaLand.ai, an AI-powered digital fashion studio, to expand its model availability. Currently, the company’s e-commerce site and app typically features one model per product, but this new development will open doors to richer experiences, including the ability for customers to see products on more models that better suit their body types.

From Lil Miquela to Ayayi, virtual models are growing worldwide. In China alone, the revenue of the digitized influencer market is expected to reach US$3 billion (RMB 20.5 billion) this year, according to research firm iiMedia. Although Levi’s project paves the way for a more inclusive future in fashion, the boom in virtual models raises concerns about whether these entities will replace the need for human counterparts due to their convenience. However, the brand has stressed that this new focus won’t stop them from continuing to hire genuine, diverse models.

Tmall’s return to digital collectibles suggests another surge in virtual assets is on the horizon in China. Photo: Tmall

Tmall’s spring campaign invites retail giants to launch digital collectibles. Is China’s Virtual Assets Market On The Rise Again?

What Happened: For this year’s spring campaign, Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall unveiled its ‘My New Spring Flowers in Bloom’ project, which leverages the creativity of five of the country’s most acclaimed brands – including Vans, iQOO and L’Oréal – via NFTs .

To mark the annual membership event, Tmall launched a limited edition digital collection of virtual flowers for the five attendees, each designed to represent the brand’s new product of the month.

As part of the project, Tmall also ran a series of raffles where audiences could win exclusive gifts, while brand members could receive free digital collectibles. After receiving the collector’s item, the holders could also acquire exclusive membership rights in relation to the products of the corresponding brand.

The Verdict: Brands in China had taken a brief hiatus from digital collectibles following the shutdown of a number of digital token platforms, including those of Tencent.

More recently, however, as rules for mainland NFT trading have been relaxed, the trend is showing signs of picking up again. In fact, it was announced this week that China’s investments in the metaverse will surpass those of the West by the end of 2023, thanks to factors such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the launch of its national digital asset exchange, which was announced in January of this year.

This increasing demand for token-based experiences also came to light during Tmall’s campaign, which drew colossal attention among netizens. On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, the hashtags “My New Spring Flowers in Bloom” and “Annual Member Day on Tmall” generated over 140 million and 6.57 billion views, respectively.