NFTs are taking the world by storm, making their way into all global industries. There are NFTs you can view, listen to, and eat! But how about NFTs you can wear? The fashion industry has taken a great interest in what these non-fungible tokens can offer and luxury fashion brands jumped in on the hype. Dolce & Gabanna, Gucci, Luis Vuitton, and many more renowned global fashion brands have dropped some NFT collections. However, are these fashion brands really believe in the future of fashion NFTs? Or is it just a way to capitalize on NFTs while they’re still relevant?
Let’s dive deeper into the types of fashion NFTs, and major fashion brands, and see whether or not these NFTs are a la mode.
Fashion NFTs: A Hit or Miss?
Fashion NFTs were first introduced to the market when Fabricant’s iridescent dress sold as an NFT for approximately $9,500 back in 2019. Since then, luxury brands have perked their ears and sat on the edge of all NFT-related news. When the pandemic struck in 2020, shops had to close and online shopping became a thing in the market. This marked the beginning of luxury fashion brands making loud statements about their interests in digital assets for the metaverse. The pandemic has shed a light on the massive consumer interest in virtual/digital fashion.
Although fashion is a tangible asset, unlike music and art which could be a digital experience, fashion NFTs provide much more than physical assets. Fashion NFTs are both physical and digital experiences, or “phygital”. Many brands have already dropped NFTs that relate to IRL assets. For example, the Balmain x Barbie Collection included three barbie doll avatars as NFTs wearing luxury pink Balmain garments. The fashion line is available for purchase in physical stores. In addition, holders of NFTs get barbie-sized clothing of the related NFT.
A crypto fashion week was also held back in 2021 amidst the NFT craze. This digital fashion week was an online event consisting of workshops, exhibitions, and many fashion events such as catwalks and panels. The event brought together a community of designers, artists, and anyone who is interested in digital fashion.
NFTs as Solution
Moreover, despite the fact that fashion brands are capitalizing on NFTs, fashion NFTs actually bring solutions to problems the industry is facing. For example, other than ensuring that smaller designers are compensated for their digital work, fashion NFTs provide solutions to credit issues. Many fashion brands continue to have their designs stolen by fast-fashion companies, and blockchain technology might be able to stop that. Considering that NFTs offer a certificate of ownership.
Types of Fashion NFTs
Fashion NFTs come in various forms, from virtual garments in the metaverse to exclusive digital content.
The metaverse is on the rise and consumers are keen on personalizing their online selves just like they do in the real world. Just like Crypto Fashion Week, the online universe witnessed a Metaverse Fashion Week where over 70 luxury fashion brands participated. Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, and more participated in online catwalk showcasing their digital garments. Other brands that contributed to the metaverse fashion hype were Nike, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, and many others.
The luxury fashion house Balenciaga released an NFT capsule collection for the videogame Fortnite back in 2021. Users are able to buy virtual Balenciaga items at the Fortnite x Balenciaga stores. They include iconic pieces such as the Hourglass Bag Glider and the Speed Sneaker Pickaxe. In addition, users can buy various skins and accessories for their avatars.
The Spanish multi-national retail clothing chain Zara has also jumped into the metaverse fashion frenzy. Zara collaborated with the South Korean metaverse Zepeto to launch its latest collection in the virtual world. Zara’s Lime Glam campaign has also featured virtual clothes and makeup that users could dress up their Zepeto avatars with.
Fashion brands have also invested in their own NFTs as a part of virtual land or store that mirrors their real-life physical locations. This way, brands are creating a new platform of shopping that is neither a physical store nor a website. The Sandbox, a virtual world, allows users to own a piece of land as an NFT, and that’s exactly what the Italian luxury brand Gucci did.
Gucci was one of the first brands to transport its famous and iconic design into the metaverse. Aside from its NFT collection, Gucci collaborated with the gaming platform Roblox to launch a space in the metaverse called Gucci Garden. Roblox users can explore the Garden’s immersive shopping rooms and try on and purchase Gucci NFTs that can be worn inside the game.
Augmented Reality Fashion
Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes digital images over real-world camera footage. This newfound technology has sparked the interest of many fashion brands that can use it to market their digital clothing as “wearable”. Brands like Nike have experimented with AR technology and NFTs. Nike released, in collaboration with RTFKT, Nike Dunk Genesis Cryptockikcs as an NFT collection. Owners of an NFT Nike sneaker can visualize it in the real world using a Snapchat filter.
Some brands are experimenting with NFTs as digital assets linked to physical pieces that customers can wear. Italian high-end luxury brands Dolce & Gabbana launched an NFT collection under the title Collezione Genesi which brought in more than $5 million. Owners of the NFT received both digital and physical pieces of the NFT collection.
High-end American brand Tiffany has also collaborated with the classic NFT Collection Cryptopunks. The collaboration consisted of the launch of a limited edition of 250 custom jewel-encrusted digital pendants. Owners of the NFT necklace also claimed a physical piece from the Tiffany stores.
Video Games Fashion Collectibles
Many video game enthusiasts spend a lot of money to acquire in-game assets and fashion brands couldn’t wait to capitalize on gaming fashion NFTs. The renowned English luxury fashion house Burberry collaborated with Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party to kickstart their NFT journey. The Burberry NFT collection let included in-game accessories like armbands, pool shoes, and jetpacks.
Louis Vuitton has also released a mobile game in collaboration with famous NFT artist Beeple. “Louis the Game” follows the protagonist Vivienne across different virtual worlds of famous fashion cities. Players customize their avatars with LV prints and iconic pieces of garments.
Where Is The Industry Headed?
Even amidst the bear market and crypto’s rollercoaster, the most interested in investing in NFTs are major global brands. Fashion brands in particular benefited from NFTs as they capitalized on this blockchain technology, earning millions of dollars in revenue. However, we still don’t know for sure if these major fashion names are actually interested in NFTs as a revolutionary step for the future of fashion or if they’re just using the hype for their own gain. Either way, what’s interesting to point out is that people love digitalization and personalization, especially digital fashion.