Sports company PUMA has unveiled its first ever metaverse website experience, called Black Station, which features exclusive NFTs with limited edition redeemable physical sneakers, as part of its ‘FUTROGRADE’ show during New York Fashion Week.
PUMA Black Station has been imagined as an immersive and interactive place to experience the future of the brand. As a blank and ever-evolving 3D canvas, Black Station will become a dynamic destination to visit, connecting consumers with various web3 activations emerging over the course of the next year and beyond.
“Twenty years ago, Black Station was PUMA’s home for our most innovative designs in fashion,” said Adam Petrick, PUMA’s Chief Brand Officer. “Given the boundaries we are pushing from a product design and digital standpoint, we found it fitting to bring Black Station back as a new portal for digital exploration across fashion, sport performance, our heritage classics, and innovation.”
The experience begins with visitors entering a hyper-realistic digital lobby space with three separate portals. The first two portals, accessible, will unveil exclusive never-seen-before Nitro NFRNO and Nitro Fastroid sneakers linked to PUMA’s recent NFT NitroPass mint.
Those who minted a Nitropass can receive two NFTs – one tied to physical products and one that unlocks a customized experience linked to their chosen shoe. Following the Futrograde show, minters can claim their physical sneakers by burning their product-claimed NFT. This marks unchartered territory for the brand in the web3 space, establishing its first PUMA-owned NFT that links digital design with in-real-life physical products for consumers.
For the digital product design, PUMA encouraged their in-house designers to push the creative boundaries to envision what a 3D digital sneaker could look like. “Our team of designers took a lot of liberties when envisioning these footwear styles. We told them the sky is the limit. As a result, we were able to harness their creativity without the typical confines and limitations of our shoe production process,” said Heiko Desens, Global Creative Director and Head of Innovation. “What is just as impressive as the actual designs is the fact that we were actually able to work with development to bring these stunning designs to life.”
The sneakers recontextualize iconic PUMA features through bold, innovative designs. Fastroid takes a performance tech silhouette to the extreme with exaggerated volumes of Nitro foam in gradient high-impact hues. With “sport is art” as the guiding ambition, NFRNO appears like a hybrid collision of the past and future, drawing inspiration from obscure archive styles to arrive at a multi-part molded construction.
The third portal of Black Station will function as the entry to the digital NYFW metaverse fashion show. Visitors will be immersed into an interactive space abstracted with point cloud style effects. They will journey through a digital adaptation of the show, where visitors can interact with the collection’s pieces.
The Black Station metaverse, developed by creative ventures company FTR, has been built with Unreal Engine 5 to produce cutting edge graphics.
David Stamatis, Executive Creative Director and Partner at FTR explains, “We’re dedicated to bringing great creative ideas to life through immersive experience, technology, and community. This project, and our partner in PUMA, gave us agency and trust to push into the unknown and test how these creative components can be put together to innovate in the storytelling around product, fashion, and brand. Creating a truly phygital experience has opened our eyes to the immense opportunity for brands in the future.”