NFTs open a new world in terms of digital creativity, and luxury houses are some of the first to take advantage. This new frontier enables brands to explore fashion and innovation through state-of-the-art technology.
With Prada launching its 9th NFT capsule collection this year, it’s clear how NFTs influence high-end couture. Let’s explore what else we can look forward to.
NFTs Stance in the Fashion Realm
Undeniably, 2021 was a big year for digital spaces. Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was rebranding to Meta and laid out plans to launch the Metaverse — a virtual world set to replace the version of the Internet that we know now. This overwhelming potential urges many brands to adapt and release meta-versions of their acquirable products primarily through digital means, such as NFTs.
In the same year, Gucci was the first fashion house to enter the world of NFTs. For their 100th anniversary, they released the Aria NFT — a fashion film that sold for $25,000 and was paid through Ethereum cryptocurrency. With the direction of award-winning filmmaker Floria Sigismondi and Gucci’s then-creative director Alessandro Michele, the film signifies the brand’s foray into a new media space.
Dolce & Gabbana joined the bandwagon with a nine-piece virtual collection later on. The subsequent auction for all these amounted to $6 million, partly credited with the 10% rise that cryptocurrency saw soon after. The pieces were sold alongside physical versions, but the appeal was that they could also be worn inside the Metaverse.
Since then, several other brands have released NFTs in different formats, including avatars, games, and visual worlds. For example, Balmain partnered with Barbie in 2022 to release avatars in the Metaverse. On the other hand, Burberry collaborated with Blankos Block Party, an immersive multiplayer video game where players can access Burberry’s digital toys and purchase their NFT accessories.
Meanwhile, Gucci, in continuation of their NFT efforts, created an entire virtual piazza in the online game Roblox. Through this platform, players can participate in various Gucci events and shop for products for their avatars.
Such examples barely skim the surface, but all signs point to the continued integration of NFTs into high fashion and the impending evolution of the driving force behind these developments. Today, we see glimpses of the future in the face of these changes.
The Evolution of NFTs in the Luxury Fashion World
As with any expansion, significant changes are vital for keeping up. Web3, the blockchain-fueled iteration of the world wide web, demands a new digital approach, especially when creating art. The creative process is inherently experimental, even more so with this landscape. Bringing something new to the table is integral, but so is finding a way for it to resonate with the brand’s audience.
For fashion houses, as with any business, this means strengthening their existing organizational structure. Specifically, all of this falls on the plate of the creative director. The role of a creative director determines the brand’s future, as they shape campaigns by leading a dedicated team. Extensive experience and an intimate understanding of the brand’s values are necessary for creating impactful and compelling content, especially with an avenue like Web3, which is only starting to take off.
Louis Vuitton is one such brand that recognizes this undertaking, with their newly minted menswear creative director Pharrell Williams. Currently, Williams is also the chief brand officer for Doodles. Doodles, one of the first notable NFT projects, has also recently seen timely growth. It named Bianca Posterli its new head of brand marketing as it attempts to expand in the growing web space. Much like how Williams and Doodles released digital clothing for Adidas, the same applies to Lous Vuitton.
Aside from this, another trend to be expected is the popularity of digital fashion events. With NFTs being a prime commodity in online spaces, it makes sense for luxury fashion houses to leverage these tokens. Evident signs of this include homes like Coach joining Decentraland’s 2022 Fashion Week.
Although these initiatives are met with mixed reviews, they highlight how open many traditional brands are to digital expansion.
NFTs create a drastic shift in the world of fashion and creativity, and it all boils down to the team behind the campaigns. The Metaverse, on the other hand, is imminent. Brands can either embrace the virtual world or fall behind.
Article contributed by Rosalee Johns