Benoit Pagotto is RTFKT— pronounced “artifact” — a family digital sneakers And the cooperation between NFT and artists such as Takashi Murakami.The company’s reputation as a fashion leader in virtual universes has led to this was acquired Nike launched in late 2021 as part of a broader push by the athletic giant to experiment with blockchain.

in a recent interview wealthIn RTFKT, with NFT sales exceeding $185 million in 2022, Pagotto shares how RTFKT is coping with the Nike acquisition and ongoing bear market. He also explains how his passion for gaming has helped him develop innovative brand strategies and discusses recent collaborations with L’Oréal and others.

(This interview has been edited for brevity.)

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into Web3 and NFTs?

I studied fine art and then did a lot of advertising and consulting work for luxury clients in retail design.When I was a student, I was in Colette, very cool concept store in Paris, this is one of the places where I learned the most and it has had a big impact on the way we run RTFKT today. They bring different parts of the culture under one roof, but really, blend high fashion with streetwear, art, design and more. So when I was a student and working there every day, I learned a lot, and then I got into NFT.

I’m a very, very big gamer. As great as NFTs are, I’ve always thought of them as a medium that lets you do things you can usually only do in video games, which is let people own, trade, and use digital assets. So when I discovered NFTs in 2018, I was working with a company in the esports space that was making something like that with NFTs. counter strike skin. For me, it was an eureka moment.

This is the moment we started RTFKT, when the NFT market started to explode. It’s the perfect canvas for our ideas, our brand sits between the real and virtual worlds, constantly playing in these spaces to create cool, exciting new stuff and innovations.

How many hours a day do you play games?

it depends.As in the past few weeks, I played a lot, because the new Zelda When it came out I think I spent 130 hours, which is a lot.

It’s like a solo job.

Almost, but I have a lot of ideas or things that I come up with, and that’s because I’ve experienced them in video games. I always try to think: “How do you see what this game is doing, and how does that inspire you to do something cool for a brand?”

The new Legend of Zelda adds more so-called “player agency.” If you look at TikTok, it’s exciting to see what people are doing with these new game mechanics. So, actually, that’s the advice I give to all my friends these days. I tell them: “Stop doing what you’re doing – you need to play Zelda.” You learn more by playing Zelda, especially when you play with your brother, sister, We’ll see how they embrace this freedom and these tools that are provided in the game. You’ll learn more doing this than attending a conference.

So what is the most powerful marketing tool for you right now?

Honestly, to me, the most powerful marketing tool is making something exciting. It’s simple: it’s content. You need your content to be fresh and exciting because we see so much stuff from brands, amateurs, influencers on our phones every day, it can be hard to know what is real and what is fake. I think people react when they see something that is really cool and exciting and new.

How has NFT performed recently?

We are in a super bear market. It was bound to happen because there were such huge spikes. I think that’s a good thing in the sense that the technical and financial aspects will take a backseat. People will use NFT more as a medium than just use NFT for NFT’s sake.

For a lot of the small Web3 companies that were founded during the hype, or raised money during the hype, having to sustain themselves now is very difficult, especially since royalties no longer exist, so the business model has changed.

RTFKT is acquired Nike will launch in late 2021. How has your situation changed since then?

Didn’t change much. We are now working even more closely with Nike to help them implement their own Web3 initiatives, dot whirlwind, but the best part is we’ve mostly remained independent. Nike really understands that our strength is the brand and we are not Nike, which is why we can do things that Nike can’t. Sometimes RTFKT and Nike collaborate, so it’s great for both parties, and they have a really great brand.

But, I always come back to the people behind the brand: they are amazing super smart, very innovative people who are working on really groundbreaking things and have great ideas. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know them and working with them.

Are you planning any other partnerships?

We never announce in advance, but something always happens.we did it Rimois– Glad to be able to do this, they are great partners.We announce that we are working with (Under L’Oreal) Shu Uemurais really a very, very good makeup brand that we like, with Japanese influence.

So do you think the Asian market is more active in buying NFTs?

Now, yes. Video games and esports have long been a big thing in Asia, and they have a collectible culture, especially in Japan.Of course, we also have a lot of Americans Live— cryptocurrency people.

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