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Hermès Reproaches Unauthorized ‘Birkin’ Bag Seller From The Metaverse
By Mikelle Leow, 14 Dec 2021
Photo 64422683 © Kobby Dagan | Dreamstime.com
With the metaverse in its inception, fashion labels now have another world to keep their eyes peeled for when it comes to unauthorized products. Hermès might be one of the rare few who haven’t caught on with non-fungible tokens and the ilk yet, but it’s certainly aware of the inspired artworks (AKA “fakes”) that have been tokenized without its permission.
More specifically, the luxury fashion brand has been keeping a close eye on the MetaBirkins NFTs created by artist Mason Rothschild. The collection features 100 virtual, furry NFT bags, in the shape of Birkins, with vivid patterns like Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa, and, er, what looks to be the fur coat of Sullivan from Monsters Inc.
Almost mirroring the fascination surrounding their Hermès-made counterparts, MetaBirkins have been drawing the gaze of NFT collectors. By Rothschild’s account, the very first virtual bag from the collection raked in about US$40,000 in Ether, and sales totaled to almost US$800,000 as of last week.
Although the company usually refrains from making public comments, Hermès stressed in a statement to the Financial Times, via The Fashion Law, that it “did not authorize nor consent to the commercialization or creation” of MetaBirkins.
A spokesperson said the crypto artworks “infringe upon [its] trademark rights, and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse.”
Predictably, Rothschild isn’t the only one who has based his NFTs on the famous Birkin silhouette—MetaBirkins just happen to be one of the more notable ones. However, for now, Hermès has not stated any intention to take action against unauthorized art in the metaverse.
The label has also affirmed that it has no present plans to expand into this virtual realm, reiterating that it “values the ‘tangible expression of handcrafted physical objects.’”
Rothschild himself has had to deal with “counterfeiters” of MetaBirkins (meta, much?), who have been peddling US$35,000 to US$40,000 worth of “fake” versions of his art. “We are in the process of verifying mine on [NFT marketplace] OpenSea… So, yeah, counterfeits are definitely there,” he told Yahoo.
[via The Fashion Law, cover photo 64422683 © Kobby Dagan | Dreamstime.com]
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