Get To Know RTFKT Studios, The Innovative Brand Changing Digital Fashion
RTFKT, pronounced "artifact," is a creator-led company within the NFT scene creating next-generation sneakers and collectibles ready for the metaverse—merging the worlds of fashion and gaming.
They are exploring the meaning of digital fashion, accelerating its adoption, and catching the attention of some of the most renowned, traditional fashion brands. They do this by using the latest technology and manufacturing expertise to craft some of the most cutting-edge and exclusive sneakers that the NFT world has seen. As their name denotes, ‘artifacts’ are the legacy that they are leaving behind in the metaverse.
The Founders Behind RTFKT Studios
RTFKT, founded by Benoit Pagotto, Chris Le, and Steven Vasilev (Zaptio), was founded to merge their professional skills and personal interests.
Pagotto started his career in retail, working for four years at famed Parisian concept store Colette, before moving into marketing. He had stints at various advertising and design agencies, eventually moving in-house at an esports company.
Le's career before RTFKT included game design and graphic design work for music labels Def Jam and Sony, music video directing for artists such as Ty Dolla Sign and Anderson .Paak, and directing and editing credits for two Netflix movies starring Danny Trejo.
Zaptio started his first drop-shipping business at the age of thirteen. In the 12 years since, he have set up 4 successful companies and raised seed capital from Angel and VC investors including A16z, Galaxy Digital and GFR Fund.
The founders drew inspiration from various beloved childhood franchises such as Diablo, Half-Life, Runescape, Minecraft, Dragon Ball Z, Evangelion, Akira, and Star Wars.
Their goal for RTFKT was to use blockchain technology and advanced innovation to offer cutting-edge collectibles to a broadening customer base.
In December 2021, Nike acquired RTFKT to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.
“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” said John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc. “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
FEWOCiOUS x RTFKT
Prior to being acquired, RTFKT Studios had established collaborations with various artists, such as Fewocious to create NFT sneakers, which were sold for more than $3 million in just 7 minutes.
The drop, titled "FEWO WORLD Open Edition," included three physical sneakers that each correspond with a digital token. Not only is the physical sneaker a collectible that may go up in value, but the NFT associated with the product is an asset all on its own.
Phygital Forging x Takashi Murakami Collab
Taking its iconic Forging Mechanic to the next level, RTFKT created 10 token gated Fashion Collections accessible to its Clone X Avatars collectors, allowing them to unlock NFT wearables and Forge Premium Physical items, from hoodies to jackets to t-shirts and sneakers.
In 2022, RTFKT continued its iconic collaboration with Takashi Murakami, and have created 2 collection with their favourite artist, the Murakami DNA and Murakami Drip Collection. These feature exclusive apparel and RTFKT x Nike Air Force 1 Sneakers for the very first time.
For this collaboration, RTFKT and RIMOWA created an interactive campaign where the community will have to solve challenges together, to uncover a hacked RIMOWA x RTFKT Space Station, which they will need to reactivate in order to mint the limited edition NFTs.
For 2023, the team teased pod burning, new RTFKT lore, as well as "a new IP and experience with Project Animus, Connected via Interactive Lore and World merging RTFKT events."
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