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Founder – Panache and Marina, Skin and Aesthetic Clinic. He is also a fashion influencer
The introduction of virtual fashion shows and digital immersive experiences has created room for new digital trends to thrive. You might have recently been inundated with NFTs, (also known as non-fungible tokens) over social media and how they’re taking over the digital space, but what exactly are NFTs? And how are they relevant to the fashion industry?
NFTs are a type of cryptocurrency. The term ‘fungible’ refers to the ability of an asset to be exchanged in return of other assets of the same value. However, in the case of NFTs, certification of ownership of the asset (for example, an artwork) would be personally assigned to just one proprietor. It cannot be exchanged or duplicated but only further sold from its current proprietor. Blockchain is an application that is commonly used to track the continuous movement of the NFTs through the digital arena. This is an intriguing concept for fashion houses, particularly in the Metaverse as an NFT goes beyond physical reality to provide a “phygital” experience for the fashion consumer.
NFTs are fast becoming a new tool for the fashion industry to provide alternative experiences to the younger audience, a generation whose interests are inclined toward fashion and gaming. Not to mention, the gaming industry was valued at USD 198.40 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach 339.95 billion by 2027, according to Mordor intelligence. It’s no wonder there is a larger emphasis on the market. Brands are seeing channelising this new medium to unlock value for the gaming community by encouraging players to interact with their brand. Digital fashion and skins have already become user behaviour. Stepping in of fashion brands is only natural.
A popular fashion and accessory brand launched its partnership with a leading online team-based battle game. The fashion and accessory brand created a skin for each of the characters from the game, alongside a capsule collection. The brand also created a special case for the trophy prize within the game, personifying their iconic trunks. In continuation of their digital approach, they went on to create a collection of 30 NFTs, all up for collection via their game 200 Anecdotes, created in celebration of the brand’s bicentenary. The NFTs created by the fashion brand only existed within the game and could not be sold or exchanged.
This year some brands have even filed trademark applications in the Metaverse, a popular brand even debuted an NFT collection during London Fashion Week and another one purchased a plot in a virtual world. A popular Italian designer apparel brand is exploring ways in which garments can be transferred across many digital ‘worlds’. Fashion platforms are working on creating opportunities where virtual closets can move across different gaming platforms. Gamers spend extensive time and money dressing their avatars, lending the avatars a personality of their own. Therefore, visitors of the metaverse will naturally invest in clothing and accessories for their avatars.
NFTs appear to be growing into a space where designers feel less pressured by physical constraints and can create their art free of any practical notions. It also permits them to create a secular community that can receive private viewings and access to upcoming NFT launches.
At the start of the year, a fashion brand collaborated with a toy company for an NFT offering. This saw three digital dolls dressed in garments with the fashion brand’s monogram print. The doll’s avatars were auctioned, and the highest bidder received exclusive ownership of both the avatar and a real-life doll – a scaled version of the featured look.
As we see the NFT world develop, we are also faced with new and unforeseen scenarios. Last December, an LA-based digital artist showcased his digital art gallery displaying luxury handbags, which resembled the silhouette of its signature handbag.
Undoubtedly, the digital revolution created by the NFT craze has made fashion brands appealing to a tech-savvy clientele. Smaller fashion brands have also begun selling their work on other digital shopping platforms. With a notable investment in the digital space NFTs certainly appear to be an important part of the future’s vocabulary. Further, it remains to be seen how brands incorporate NFTs into design and marketing strategies to draw in the global fashion community.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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