An NFT collection inspired by Birkin bags is making big bucks — but Hérmes says it did not authorize its iconic luxury product to be recreated in the metaverse.
An almighty row has broken out between a luxury handbag brand and an NFT collection.
Digital artist Mason Rothschild has created MetaBirkins — tokenized versions of the Birkin bags regularly seen on the arms of A-listers.
The project describes itself as a tribute to Hermès' most famous handbag — describing the Birkin as "one of the most exclusive, well-made luxury accessories." It adds:
"Its mysterious waitlist, intimidating price tags, and extreme scarcity have made it a highly covetable 'holy grail' handbag that doubles as an investment or store of value."
MetaBirkins went on to stress that it isn't affiliated with Hérmes in any way, but the drama was only just beginning.
Handbags at Dawn
"The people who bought those [NFTs], they can’t get that money back. The blockchain is pretty relentless — you can’t call your credit card company and get it returned, once a transaction goes through, it’s a done deal."
Unfortunately though, it's transpired that Hermès is equally annoyed at Rothschild — and the designer brand says it did not authorize or consent for its Birkin bags to be recreated in the metaverse.
The company explained that it is yet to explore the world of NFTs because it values the "tangible expression of handcrafted physical objects," adding:
"These NFTs infringe upon the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermès and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse."
Trouble could lie ahead for Rothschild — and one intellectual property lawyer told the FT that the public could mistakenly believe that MetaBirkins are an official Hermès product.
Things could also get messy if Hermès decides to launch products in the metaverse, following in the footsteps of Nike and adidas.
In a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, Rothschild wrote:
"The loudest boos come from the cheapest seats."