A story of David stepping into Goliath’s virtual fashion world

From community engagement to brand narratives - a case study of the process, the challenges and key learnings of entering the virtual worlds (metaverse) of generation Z and Alpha with millions of gamers. The Danish fashion brand HerobyAhlgreen and the metaverse infrastructure start-up Virtuall tell their story of entering Zepeto and Roblox.

How can a small sustainable fashion brand enter a space and engage with communities of Gen Z and Alpha where currently only the large brands are making a name for themselves?

The Danish Ondemand production fashion brand HerobyAhlgreen and the Danish start-up Virtuall joined forces to find an answer to that. 

Virtual worlds as a channel to reach younger generations

The world is observing a buzzing activity in the “Metaverse” space and many big brands are discovering a new channel for building community and differentiated customer experience through digital means, the more renowned ones are D&G and LVMH to mention two. Nike and their RTFKT are already connecting their physical products to digital “crypto kicks,” which are purchasable and used in digital experiences by their followers. This activity has raised an immense curiosity for other brands to follow, but not everyone has the financial or organizational capability to take the leap into virtual opportunity.


Rikke Ahlgreen, founder of HerobyAhlgreen, already saw her kids engaging with Roblox on a daily basis. With her clothing items targeting teenagers as well as adults, looking into virtual worlds just seemed to be the logical next step. At that stage Rikke’s insights from a long career in the fashion industry already confirmed that traditional social media is a complex channel for brands to reach younger generations:  Generation Z and Alpha are notoriously apt at spotting advertisements, having been brought up with intrusive advertising. Influencers are a popular channel, but it’s difficult to determine a trackable Return on Investment.


Image: Copyright HerobyAhlgreen

A new approach to branding and community was required. This was the time when the start-up Virtuall approached Rikke in April and started a dialog to explore the possibilities of building a brand community in games. It was a joint excitement; who wouldn’t want to be a HERO in games and in the real world?

The metaverse infrastructure start-up Virtuall sees it as its mission to turn fashion into virtual experiences. With their platform they allow all brands to take advantage of and build communities in any virtual world by bringing down the cost and time barriers of 3D design and gamification. Enabling a low threshold for exploring the metaverse.

Exploring the virtual worlds Roblox and Zepeto

With Virtuall’s capabilities in 3D design and cross-world compatibility, they launched Hero by Ahlgreen as a brand in the two virtual worlds, Roblox and Zepeto. These two worlds represent a user count of around 500 Million. Vans and Nike have already discovered the opportunity of using Roblox as a new avenue for community building and branding, and are already building immersive experiences for their audience. While Roblox is dominated by a younger (9-14 years old) generation, primarily male, Zepeto reaches a demographic of mostly female users in the age groups of (12-24 years old). 


Images: Copyright Zepeto, Harper Collins

Together these two games / virtual worlds would mean a massive exposure of HerobyAhlgreen as a brand. The collaboration with Virtuall would tie the real-life brand values and products to the digital experience. This cross-pollination between traditional social media and in-game communities could ultimately drive sales both in the digital and real world.

Challenges along the way

There were, of course, challenges! The team was soon confronted with in-game fashion design questions. Would real-world designs resonate with users in the games?

Results and take-aways


Images: Copyright Virtuall ApS

The close collaboration between HerobyAhlgreen and Virtuall ultimately led to the success of the proof of concept. HerobyAhlgreen, due to Virtuall’s platform, was able to explore the virtual worlds of generation Z and Alpha without the high financial or organizational capability needed. The step-by-step exploration of the new space helped Hero to formulate their own strategy for connecting the traditional social media channels and virtual world communities in the future.

Based on HerobyAhlgreens and Virtuall’s experience fashion brands that want to explore the space are advised to:

For more information on virtual worlds and the process of entering them feel free to contact Virtuall ApS or HerobyAhlgreen. Any fashion brand can do it - do you want to be next?

Nike & RTFKT showing the way to fashion value

A project worth talking about is Nike and RTFKT phygital products.

Nike, with its RTFKT, is showing the way for how the digital dimension of a physical product is increasing the value of the whole.
These iconic Phygital products grow more valuable over time, along with their virtual features.

GenZ understands this natively. In Games, it is natural that items like capes, swords, or other game artifacts have unique features enhancing their experience, the more unique, the higher the value. With the technology available today, we can improve physical products in the real world and the virtual by merging them making them more valuable.

We strongly believe this is a capability everyone should have. We can help you “imbue” your products with special powers!

Here is a good read to brush up on what Nike and RTFKT is doing with Phygital products:

Nike is Taking Their Digital Presence to the Next Level With RTFKT’s Cryptokicks iRL

Nike Logo

Provide value GenZ recognizes - imbue your products with special powers

Shopping for Fashion in Multiverse (Metaverse?)

The channels are changing, and you need to think of immersive social media (i.e., Hotel Hideaway, Ifland...) or game/virtual worlds (Ready Player MeHiberDecentraland) as countries full of stores.

Every such channel is an opportunity to reach further and generate new value from and for the brands’ virtual fashion. Not to mention the exciting customer journeys that can be created for virtual and physical fashion together.

The Digital Dimension of a physical product can move fashion into value beyond its current. This value could empower made-to-order journeys – “wear the virtual versions while you wait for the physical one to be produced” and make that waiting an exciting part of the journey.

Or open doors, virtually be the key to exclusive communities, or why not physical doors, venues, events....?

Whatever the application or utility in the real world, it is empowered by the digital.

The opportunities for fashion with special powers are endless with access to technology and the right partners.

More reading on the GenZ subject - GenZ and Fashion in the Age of Realism

Shopping for Fashion in Multiverse - Know your customers

GenZ is the largest generation yet, representing 25% of the world’s population.

This generation is coming into its purchasing power, and brands know it. Large brands such as PVH, Gucci, LVMH, and Levi are strategizing to meet this new group of buyers.

They are, however, different from any generation before them and too large of a group to ignore!

GenZ is different in everything from social media preference to perception of value. They prefer visual social media, Tiktok, Instagram, and Social Games. Many in this generation have started to abandon platforms in favor of new experiences. Like how we saw the movement in social media at the beginning of 2000, MySpace vs. Facebook.

This generation also perceives value differently. 75% of them have already bought digital items in Games, and they are the most digital native generation yet as they have never experienced a world without the Internet.

Their favorite forms of entertainment are Fashion, Games, and Music.

To reach this generation, brands need to be where they are!

For many brands, it will be complex to find out where to be and what their narrative should be on these new platforms. Luckily Tech is being built, making it a lot easier to engage across these new channels.

Check out this reading to know your new customers better.