The introduction of virtual fashion shows and digital immersive experiences has allowed new digital trends to flourish. You may have been inundated with NFTs (also known as non-fungible tokens) on social media lately and how they are invading 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 for other assets of the same value. However, in the case of NFTs, certification of ownership of the asset (eg, a work of art) would be personally assigned to a single owner. It cannot be exchanged or duplicated, but only resold by its current owner. Blockchain is a commonly used application to track the continuous movement of NFTs in the digital arena. This is an intriguing concept for fashion houses, especially in the metaverse, because an NFT goes beyond physical reality to provide a “phygital” experience for the fashion consumer.
NFTs are quickly becoming a new tool for the fashion industry to provide alternative experiences to young audiences, a generation whose interests are inclined towards fashion and gaming. Not to mention that the gaming industry was valued at $198.40 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $339.95 billion by 2027, according to Mordor Intelligence. No wonder the focus is more on the market. Brands are seeing this new medium channeled to unlock value for the gaming community by encouraging gamers to interact with their brand. Digital fashion and skins have already become the behavior of users. Getting into fashion brands is natural.
A popular fashion and accessories brand has launched its partnership with a leading online team-fighting game. The fashion and accessories brand has created a skin for each of the game’s characters, as well as a capsule collection. The brand has also created a special case for the in-game trophy prize, personifying its iconic trunks. In the continuity of their digital approach, they then created a collection of 30 NFTs, all to be collected via their game 200 Anecdotes, created on the occasion of the bicentenary of the brand. NFTs created by the fashion brand only existed in-game and could not be sold or traded.
This year, some brands even filed trademark applications in the Metaverse, one popular brand even launched an NFT collection during London Fashion Week, and another bought a plot in a virtual world. A famous Italian designer clothing brand is exploring ways to transfer clothing into many digital “worlds”. Fashion platforms are working to create opportunities where virtual closets can move across different gaming platforms. Gamers spend a lot of time and money dressing up their avatars, giving them a personality of their own. Therefore, metaverse visitors will naturally invest in clothing and accessories for their avatars.
NFTs seem to be growing in a space where designers feel less pressured by physical constraints and can create their art without any practical notions. It also allows them to create a secular community that can receive private viewings and access upcoming NFT launches.
Earlier this year, a fashion brand collaborated with a toy company for an NFT offering. This saw three digital dolls dressed in clothing with the fashion label’s monogram print. The doll’s avatars were auctioned and the highest bidder received sole ownership of the avatar and an actual doll – a scaled version of the featured look.
As we see the NFT world expand, we are also faced with new and unforeseen scenarios. Last December, a Los Angeles-based digital artist showcased his digital art gallery featuring luxury handbags, which resembled the silhouette of his signature handbag.
Undoubtedly, the digital revolution created by the NFT craze has made fashion brands attractive to a tech-savvy clientele. Smaller fashion brands have also started selling their work on other digital shopping platforms. With a notable investment in the digital space, NFTs are certainly emerging as an important part of the vocabulary of the future. Additionally, it remains to be seen how brands incorporate NFTs into their design and marketing strategies to appeal to the global fashion community.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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