It’s no surprise that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have dominated the crypto market this year. The booming digital asset class generated more than $ 2.5 billion in sales in the first six months of 2021, demonstrating unprecedented financial gains for artists, brands and content creators around the world .
The rise of metaverse has also impacted the adoption of NFTs, as the world moves closer to visions of a future defined by augmented reality. As such, NFTs further demonstrate the convergence of culture with technology, which in turn impacts a number of traditional industries.
Presentation of culture and community
Specifically, the million dollar luxury fashion industry has started to take notice of NFTs. High-end fashion brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo, recently launched their own NFT collections, while designer Rebecca Minkoff became the first American designer to create and present a TVN Collection during New York Fashion Week 2021.
Megan Kaspar, Managing Director of Magnetic Capital and a member of Red DAO – a decentralized autonomous organization focused on fashion – told Cointelegraph that she thinks fashion is one of the most interesting NFT categories:
âThe fashion industry, one of the largest industries in the world, generated $ 2.5 trillion in annual global revenue before the pandemic. Red DAO’s thesis on NFT digital fashion includes the potential for global revenue to at least double over the next two decades due to the digitalization of fashion and the new capabilities offered.
While NFTs for the fashion industry are still a very early concept, Kaspar explained that physical fashion has limits today. For example, she pointed out that luxury fashion items will always have secondary retail market value, but as a product shrinks over time, items lose value.
Yet digital fashion pieces will always remain intact, with additional potential for increasing value if they are in high demand. Kaspar commented that NFT digital fashion pieces can also be worn virtually, as she recently demonstrated in a video. maintenance where she sported NFT virtual earnings and other props.
Kaspar further noted that unlike tangible fashion pieces, digital items can be used as collateral for customer retention and community engagement. Kaspar mentioned that high-end designers currently have limited engagement with consumers: âNFTs can be used to trade in physical items or to unlock upcoming fashion drops. They can also give access to private events. She added, âDesigners will also be able to communicate with clients through digital wallets, almost like email. “
While Kaspar realizes that these use cases are still very early on, she believes more brands will eventually start building NFTs to gain such benefits. For now, however, it should be noted that a few innovative luxury and haute couture fashion brands have already started to demonstrate the potential of NFTs.
Shashi Menon, editor of Vogue Arabia based in Dubai and founder and CEO of UNXD, a creation and curation platform that designed all digital assets in Dolce & Gabbana’s nine-piece NFT collection – told Cointelegraph that his team directly approached Dolce & Gabbana in April of this year with the idea of ââlaunching an NFT collection.
Menon shared that the opportunity is contextualized from a place of understanding both the luxury fashion industry and the crypto world. âWe’ve been involved in both for years and believe we have a unique perspective to offer,â he said. Menon believes that the story around NFTs and fashion is not about technology but rather about culture, noting that fashion and NFTs are “ultimately forms of cultural expression.”
While culture may be the most important element from a brand’s perspective, blockchain technology plays a critical role in securing the unique benefits that NFTs achieve, such as steadfastness and provenance. For example, Menon explained that Dolce & Gabbana’s NFT collection – known as âCollezione Genesiâ – was historic for a number of reasons:
âThere is a deep provenance – here we had one of the iconic luxury brands in the world creating its first NFT collection, and it was personally designed by the namesake founders / designers. There is also extreme rarity, because the collection consisted of only nine items.These pieces were made once and will never be made again.
Menon added that the craftsmanship and materials used in the physical creations were exquisite, which meant that a lot of time was spent on the digital artwork. âWe were obsessed with the fine details of texture, fabrics, lighting, shadows, reflections and physics to achieve an intensely photorealistic result. The dresses and costume featured Murano glass and Swarovski crystals, while the crowns were silver, plated with gold and palladium, and featured beautiful rubies, sapphires and diamonds, âhe commented.
One of the main advantages of digital fashion pieces is the experience they can bring to the virtual world. Menon developed:
âThe benefits for Genesis owners connect the digital and physical worlds in a never-before-seen way. We provide digital utility through metaverse wearable devices, physical utility with products, and exclusive access / experiences to create a truly special outcome.
Although the concept remains futuristic, sales have been impressive. Dolce & Gabbana announcement by September 30 that he had sold the NFT collection of nine pieces, as well as physical tailoring pieces, for a total of 1,885.719 Ether (ETH), or nearly $ 5.7 million at the time.
Kaspar mentioned that Red DAO won the auction for âThe Doge Crown,â which also came with a physical version. Red DAO paid 423.5 ETH or $ 1.27 million at the time of the sale. The organization also won the two purely digital “Impossible” jackets, bringing its total spend to nearly $ 1.9 million.
Kaspar explained that winning “The Doge Crown” was an exciting time for Red DAO, given that the rank of “Doge” (as in an elected head of state) has its roots in Italy, with the Dogecoin (DOGE) crossover. . âWe have already had a number of celebrities promoting Dogecoin contact us to ask us to wear the crown at upcoming events,â Kaspar said.
In addition to the Genesis collection from Dolce & Gabbana, luxury fashion accessories brand Jimmy Choo recently spear an NFT initiative in collaboration with New York artist Eric Haze. The collection includes 8,888 âmystery boxesâ for purchase, underlying the theme of the collection.
Additionally, a digital version of the sneaker produced for the collection was recently made available for bidding on the Binance platform. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Jimmy Choo Foundation to support Women for Women International, an organization that helps women survivors of war.
Robert Tran, CEO of Ucollex – the NFT platform behind the launch of the Jimmy Choo collection – told Cointelegraph that the NFT sneaker spinning against a canvas of Haze’s signature script only exists in digital form . However, the highest bidder in the auction will also receive a limited edition hand-painted sneaker.
True to the theme of culture, Tran added that this collaboration blends fashion and art, as well as the evolution of street culture in an experimental encounter of creative minds from different worlds:
âThe notion of collection is a strong theme of the collaboration, as evidenced by the limited edition ‘Be @ rbrick’, which sold on the morning of its launch. So, now was the time for the brand to step into the NFT conversation, amplifying the creativity of New York artist Eric Haze and Jimmy Choo’s designs as digital collectibles reaching out to a new audience. . The fusion of the digital and the physical will only increase in influence. “
Are the general public ready for fashion NFTs?
While there are certainly a number of benefits associated with digital fashion today, the concept is still in its infancy. As social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok continue to invest in the capabilities of the metaverse, industry experts predict that fashion NFTs will become more and more mainstream.
For example, Tran pointed out that Metaverse has already been introduced to the general public through remote working meetings. In turn, he believes that mass adoption of NFT is not far off: âThere should be no arguments, the industry will only continue to explode. There will come a day when fashion shows will be made digitally and the rights to these items on display will be auctioned and sold, only for digital use.
Menon added that while these concepts may not be universally applicable today, they will become the norm in the future. He pointed out that fashion brands and other businesses interested in continuity will want to create NFTs for their audiences in the future. In terms of community engagement, Menon said Dolce & Gabbana are planning to launch their own NFT community known as âDGFamily,â which will be rolled out in the near future.
Education is always necessary
While it can be safe to assume that more brands will want to create NFTs to stay up to date, Kaspar pointed out that we are also seeing a trend where fashion brands and designers are jumping into the NFT hype just to capture their end of the bargain. With that in mind, she believes most brands still don’t fully understand the power of portable digital fashion and the full range of features that NFTs can provide.
For example, Kaspar explained that a less discussed disruptive feature of the digitalization of luxury fashion is the ability to use these items as collateral in decentralized finance smart contracts: âThese will all be NFTs on the blockchain that will be related to smart contracts. This is what this technology offers.
Given the early nature of fashion NFTs, Kaspar mentioned that this opportunity also comes with an educational component: âI have fashion brands calling me to find out how to get involved. I think what Dolce & Gabbana has done is progressive and will pave the way for other brands.