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This Is So Stupid

Inside Defector’s Attempt To Revolutionize The Metaverse T-Shirt Space

12:45 PM EDT on June 29, 2023

Devin the Dugong drawing with t-shirt
Lauren Theisen

Businesses that invested heavily in the metaverse may be in a, uh, temporary retrenchment, but we here at Defector still love our Chief Metaverse Officer Devin the Mixed-Reality Dugong. And we're not alone! Whenever Devin makes an appearance on the website, our smartest and funniest commenters tell us loudly and clearly about their desire for more Devin:

collage of four commenters asking for Devin merch

The metaverse industry would be nothing if it didn't give people what they need, and so Devin and I teamed up on a project that would deliver a Devin the Dugong t-shirt. But not just any t-shirt. This t-shirt would be a killer app, a disruptive force, and a corporate identity all rolled into one. Because Devin's contract contains the standard CMO clause—that he never has to read or write anything—I have produced this chronicle of our work on his behalf.

Our first idea came from a desire to outdo tech giants like Netflix, Spotify, and Juicero. We envisioned the t-shirt not as a one-and-done purchase, but as a subscription service. Instead of simply buying a shirt, consumers could pay a small monthly fee for the rest of their lives to lease Defector shirt designs that would be exclusively compatible with the core DefeCotton® product. It would have looked something like this:

Lauren holding a drawing of Devin in front of her shirt in the mirror.

I'll be honest: We never got beyond the early prototype phase. But it wasn't because we were discouraged. Instead, Devin was struck with an even more groundbreaking inspiration: What if a t-shirt ... could be an immersive experience? We had the boys at the lab cook up this exciting glimpse of the next generation of both fashion and virtual reality.

Lauren with the drawing of Devin wrapped around her head

After two days of beta testing in Prospect Park, however, we decided that this innovation was too far ahead of its time for the masses. We turned, instead, to a different but equally exciting path: t-shirt NFTs. Imagine, instead of actually wearing a t-shirt, the blockchain could tell everyone on the internet that you were the sole owner of a unique t-shirt in the metaverse. It was so obvious! I mean, isn't it so much more convenient to have all of your t-shirts right on your phone?

Lauren holding up a colorful image of Devin on her phone
This particular NFTshirt cost 5.235 dugongcoin.

This stroke of genius didn't reach completion either, though. Approximately 20 minutes after I took the above photo, Defector's VP of Revenue and Operations Jasper Wang DMed me to tell me that this project had gone $500,000 over budget. I told him to just call Jason Calacanis, because that dude still owes us money. But I could tell the rest of the staff, even Devin, was tiring of our experiments.

In the end, we made a normal t-shirt.

Lauren taking a normal mirror pic while wearing the Devin t-shirt.

It's comfy, it's classic, it's got a mixed-reality dugong on it, and it's union-made in the United States. You can get one at the Defector Store. And if you happen to organize any conferences that cover the future of media, you should seek Devin's insight by emailing metaversedugong@defector.com.

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