Dress for Success. The fashion industry in the NFT world
Metaverse – the word is growing in popularity, and so is its value. The non-fungible token (NFT) market is opening up to luxury brands looking to invest in their digital collections. As it turns out, the demand for digital fashion is there and doing well, and the biggest evolution of the fashion industry is yet to come.
The Metaverse is nothing more than a virtual space where people, through personalized avatars, can interact with each other, creating a sort of fusion between our reality and the digital one. Probably no one expected that among all the “old-school” industries, it was fashion that found its place in the NFT world the fastest. With promising financial and advertising value in the Metaverse, more and more luxury fashion brands are getting into the game. The fashion industry has always been a trendsetter – just as the NFT is doing now. Its leading representatives have decided to capitalize on the growing popularity of the technology. The result? Out of the luxury brands listed in the Vogue Business Index1, as many as 17% have already worked on NFT to varying degrees.
Clothes you’ll never wear
The first of the major fashion houses to create an NFT project was Dolce & Gabbana in collaboration with UNXD. The collection consisted of nine pieces – five NFTs equivalent to physical products and four existing only digitally – and proved to be a surprising success, not only PR-wise but also financially. The Glass Suit from Collezione Genesi, designed by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, sold for more than a million dollars (351,384 ETH), and two versions of the Dream Dress sold for more than half a million dollars2. The auction winners also received physical versions of the NFTs they purchased.
Picture 1. Source: https://nfts.wtf/dolce-gabbana-nfts-the-metaverse/
British fashion house Burberry has decided to make its mark in the token world by partnering with Mythical Games. Burberry is the first luxury fashion brand to be featured in the flagship Blankos Block Party production with its limited-edition NFT accessories collection.
Picture 2. Source: https://www.highsnobiety.com/static-assets/
Balenciaga, on the other hand, decided to capitalize on the huge popularity of the Fortnite game by reaching out to the younger generation through the most obvious route – the web. This exclusive brand has created clothing sets, gadgets and accessories for players, which virtual characters can now proudly wear.
Picture 3. Source: https://media.vogue.fr/photos/
For Louis Vuitton, creating a collection for the token market alone was not enough. For its 200th birthday, the brand released an NFT adventure game titled “Louis: The Game,” which features collectible LV items designed by renowned NFT artist Beeple.
Picture 4. Source: https://www.beyondgames.biz/wp-content/
Gucci has also entered the world of NFT, joining forces with SUPERPLASTICS, creator of, among other things, animated celebrity avatars3. The collaboration resulted in a unique NFT series that premiered on February 1, based on the Gucci Aria collection. Each design was completed with an 8-inch ceramic sculpture.
Prada wasn’t left behind either and earlier this year took its first step into the world of NFT in collaboration with Adidas, releasing an NFT collection inspired by the physical Re-Nylon series. The project, called Adidas for Prada Re-Source, was co-created by the community who were able to contribute to the venture on an interactive platform, discovering the benefits of Web3 and NFT4.
Picture 5. Source: https://nftnewspro.com/wp-content/
Next, Prada has also designed its own NFT collection, which will be seen through the purchase of products from the Timecapsule collection. Buyers will receive free NFTs to purchase physical goods from Prada’s latest collaboration with Cassius Hirst. This means that in this case, buyers are not forced to choose between digital and physical luxury – Prada is providing them with both versions. This shows that the brand is still primarily focused on physical products, and treats NFT as an attractive bonus for its customers.
Shopping with bitcoins
Fashion’s foray into the digital world doesn’t just stop with the release of NFT collections. According to The Wall Street Journal5, french upscale fashion brand Balenciaga will begin accepting cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum) as a payment method for its products. Such a move was also made by Gucci, which announced that its outlet stores in Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas and New York will accept payments of twelve cryptocurrencies and five stablecoins based on US dollars. The Italian fashion house also plans to expand this payment option to all of the brand’s stationery stores.
While in many ways luxury fashion brands still rely on traditional solutions, many are recognizing the potential of Web3 technology as a business opportunity. Fashion houses are making efforts to adapt their designs to the digital age.
Non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrencies and the entire Metaverse are giving designers new ways to express their vision and communicate with their audiences who want to experience luxury even in a virtual space. Industry experts agree that the digital fashion industry may one day approach or even equal the value of its physical market.