Culture converges with blockchain when high fashion brands launch NFT collections
It’s no surprise that non-changeable tokens (NFTs) have dominated the crypto market this year. The exploding digital asset class generated over $ 2.5 billion in revenue in the first six months of 2021, demonstrating unprecedented financial benefits for artists, brands, and content creators.
The proliferation of metaverses has also impacted the adoption of NFT as the world approaches a vision of a future defined by augmented reality. As such, NFTs demonstrate the convergence of culture and technology, which in turn has implications for several key industries.
Introduction to culture and community
In particular, the multi-million dollar luxury fashion sector has started paying attention to NFT. High fashion brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo recently launched their own NFT collections, while designer Rebecca Minkoff became the first American designer to be creative, presenting the NFT collection during New York Fashion Week 2021.
Megan Kaspar, Managing Director at Magnetic Capital and a member of the Red DAO – a decentralized autonomous organization focused on fashion – told Cointelegraph that she thinks fashion is one of the most exciting NFT categories.
“The fashion industry, one of the largest in the world, had annual sales of $ 2.5 trillion worldwide before the pandemic. Red DAO’s thesis on digital NFT fashion includes the potential for global sales to at least double in the next two decades due to fashion digitization and the new possibilities. “
Although NFT is still a primitive concept for the fashion industry, Kaspar explains that today’s physical fashion has limits. For example, it points out that luxury fashion items will always have secondary retail value, but as a product depreciates over time, those items depreciate.
However, digital fashion products will always stay intact and add value when they are in high demand. Kaspar commented that digital NFT fashion outfits can also be worn virtually, as she recently demonstrated in a video interview in which she demonstrated virtual NFT earnings and other accessories.
Kaspar also notes that digital items, as opposed to physical fashion products, can be used as collateral for customer loyalty and community engagement. Kaspar mentioned that high-end designers currently have limited customer interactions: “NFTs can be used to redeem physical items or to unlock upcoming fashion discounts. They can also grant access to private events. ”She added,“ Designers will also be able to communicate with customers through digital wallets, much like email. ”
While Kaspar recognizes that these use cases are still in their infancy, he believes that at some point more brands will begin developing NFTs to gain such benefits. At the moment, however, it is noteworthy that a number of innovative haute couture and couture brands have started to showcase the potential of NFT.
Shashi Menon, Dubai-based editor of Vogue Arabia and founder and CEO of UNXD – a creator and curator platform that designed all of the digital assets for Dolce & Gabbana’s nine-piece NFT collection – told Cointelegraph that his team contacted Cointelegraph directly Dolce & Gabbana got in touch in April of this year with the idea of launching the NFT collection.
Menon shares that the opportunity will be contextualized from a place that understands both the luxury fashion sector and the crypto world. “We’ve been involved in both for many years and think we offer a unique perspective,” he said. Menon believes that the NFT and fashion narrative is not about technology but about culture, and notes that both fashion and NFT are “ultimately forms of cultural expression.”
While culture can be the most important factor from a brand’s perspective, blockchain technology plays an important role in ensuring the unique benefits that NFT achieves, such as: B. Immutability and Origin. For example, Menon explains that the Dolce & Gabbana NFT collection – called “Collezione Genesi” – is historic for several reasons:
“With deep roots – here we had one of the world’s iconic luxury brands create our first NFT collection and it was designed by the founders / designers of the same name. Also very rare, as the collection only contains nine copies. These pieces were made once and will never be made again. “
Menon added that the craftsmanship and materials used in the physical works are delicate, which in turn means a lot of time was spent on digital works of art. “We are obsessed with the minute details of textures, fabrics, lighting, shadows, reflections and physics to produce lifelike results. The dresses and suits are decorated with Murano glass and Swarovski crystals, while the crown is made of silver, gold-plated and palladium and features beautiful rubies, sapphires and diamonds, “he commented.
One of the main advantages of digital fashion is the experience it can bring to the virtual world. Menon further explains:
“The benefit for Genesis owners is to be able to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical world in an unprecedented way. We offer digital comfort through cross-body, physical convenience with exclusive products and access / experiences to achieve a truly exceptional result. “
Although the concept is still futuristic, the sales figures are impressive. Dolce & Gabbana announced on September 30th that it had sold a nine-piece NFT collection along with a number of physical couture pieces valued at 1,885,719 ethers (ETH), which was nearly $ 5.7 million at the time .
Kaspar mentioned that the Red DAO won the auction for “The Doge Crown”, which also comes with a physical version. The Red DAO was paying 423.5 ETH, or $ 1.27 million, at the time of the sale. The company also won two all-digital “Impossible” jackets, bringing its total spend to nearly $ 1.9 million.
Kaspar explained that winning the “Doge Crown” was an exciting moment for the Red DAO, as the rank of “Doge” (like an elected head of state) is of Italian origin. , together with the Dogecoin (DOGE) crossover. “We had several celebrities promoting Dogecoin contacted us to request crowns at upcoming events,” said Kaspar.
In addition to Dolce & Gabbana’s Genesis collection, couture brand Jimmy Choo recently launched an NFT initiative in collaboration with New York based artist Eric Haze. The collection offers 8,888 “Mystery Boxes” for sale, which reinforce the collectibility theme.
In addition, a digital version of the sneakers produced for the collection was recently made available for bidding on the Binance platform. All profits from the auction will be donated to the Jimmy Choo Foundation to support Women for Women International, an organization that helps women who survived the war.
Robert Tran, CEO of Ucollex – the NFT platform behind the launch of the Jimmy Choo collection – told Cointelegraph that the rotating NFT sneakers on Haze’s signature frame only exist digitally. However, the highest bidder in the auction will also receive a pair of hand-painted, limited-edition sneakers.
Staying true to the cultural theme, Tran added that the collaboration combines fashion with art, along with the development of street culture in an experimental meeting of creative minds of different generations.
“The concept of collectibility was a strong theme in the collaboration, as evidenced by the limited edition ‘Be @ rbrick’ that was sold out the morning it was released. So the time has come for the brand to join the NFT discussion and amplify the creativity of New York artist Eric Haze and Jimmy Choo’s designs as digital collections that appeal to new audiences. . The combination of digital and physical will continue to gain influence. “
Is the mainstream ready for fashion NFT?
Even if digital fashion certainly has some advantages today, the concept is still at an early stage of development. As social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok continue to invest in Metaverse features, industry experts predict that fashion NFTs will become increasingly popular.
For example, Tran points out that teleworking meetings brought Metaverse into the mainstream. In return, he believes that a mass introduction of NFT is not far off: “No question about it, the industry will only continue to boom. The day will come when fashion shows will be conducted digitally and the rights to these exhibits will be auctioned and sold, entirely for digital use. ”
Menon added that while these concepts are not universally applicable today, they will become the norm in the future. He points out that fashion brands and other companies that care about continuity may want to develop NFTs for their audiences in the future. In terms of community engagement, Menon said Dolce & Gabbana plans to have its own NFT community called …