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As Luxury Fashion Manufacturers Introduce NFT Collections, Culture and Blockchain Collide

NFT collections are being launched by high-end fashion houses, but can the concept catch on with the rest of the industry?

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Nonfungible tokens have dominated the crypto market this year, which comes as no surprise. Within the first six months of 2021, the booming digital asset class earned over $2.5 billion in sales, proving previously unheard-of financial advantages for artists, companies, and content providers worldwide.

As the world moves closer to ideas of a future defined by augmented reality, the advent of metaverses has impacted NFT acceptance. As a result, NFTs are showcasing the confluence of culture and technology, affecting various significant businesses.

Putting culture and community on display

The million-dollar luxury apparel industry, in particular, has begun to pay attention to NFTs. High-end fashion houses like Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo have just debuted their NFT lines. At the same time, Rebecca Minkoff made history as the first American woman to design and display an NFT collection during New York Fashion Week 2021.

Megan Kaspar, managing director of Magnetic Capital and a member of Red DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization focused on fashion, says that fashion is one of the most attractive NFT categories:

“The fashion industry, one of the largest industries in the world, generated $2.5 trillion in global annual revenues prior to the pandemic. Red DAO’s thesis around digital NFT fashion includes the potential of global revenues at least doubling over the next two decades due to the digitization of fashion and new capabilities offered.”

While NFTs for the fashion sector are still in the early stages of development, Kaspar emphasized that physical fashion has limitations today. She pointed out, for example, that luxury fashion products would always have a secondary retail market value, but that as the value of a product diminishes over time, it loses its value.

Digital fashion pieces, on the other hand, will always be intact, with the added possibility of increasing in value if they are in high demand. Kaspar recently demonstrated how digital NFT fashion pieces might be worn electronically during a video interview when she wore virtual NFT earnings and other accessories.

Digital things, unlike actual fashion products, can be utilized as collateral for client retention and community engagement, according to Kaspar. “NFTs can be used to redeem tangible products or to unlock upcoming fashion drops,” Kaspar said, noting that high-end designers currently have minimal connection with consumers. “They can also provide you access to exclusive events. Designers will also be able to engage with customers using digital wallets, similar to email,” she continued.

While Kaspar recognizes that these use cases are still in their infancy, she predicts that more brands will begin to establish NFTs in the future to reap similar benefits. For the time being, though, it’s worth noting that a few forward-thinking luxury and haute fashion firms have already begun to demonstrate NFTs’ potential.

Shashi Menon, the publisher of Vogue Arabia in Dubai and the founder and CEO of UNXD, a creator and curator platform that designed all of the digital assets for Dolce & Gabbana’s nine-piece NFT collection, said that his team approached Dolce & Gabbana with the idea of launching an NFT collection in April this year.

Menon explained that the opportunity was contextualized based on his knowledge of the premium apparel industry and cryptocurrency. He stated, “We’ve been active in both for years and believe we have a unique perspective to share.” Menon feels that the tale of NFTs and fashion is about culture, not technology and that both fashion and NFTs are “ultimately means of cultural expression.”

While culture is undoubtedly the most essential factor for a brand, blockchain technology is critical in ensuring the unique benefits of NFTs, such as immutability and provenance. For example, Menon noted that Dolce & Gabbana’s NFT collection, dubbed “Collezione Genesi,” was historically significant for several reasons:

“There is deep provenance — here we had one of the world’s iconic luxury brands creating its debut NFT collection, and it was personally designed by the founders/namesake designers. There is also extreme rarity, as the collection only featured nine items. These pieces were made once and will never be made again.”

Menon went on to say that the skill and materials used in the actual works were superb, implying that the digital artwork took a long time to complete. “To produce a highly accurate finish, we obsess over the tiniest elements of texturing, textiles, lighting, shadows, reflections, and physics. The crowns were made of silver, coated in gold and palladium, and contained exquisite rubies, sapphires, and diamonds,” he said, adding that the dresses and jackets had Murano glass and Swarovski crystals.

One of the most significant advantages of digital fashion items is the virtual world experience they may provide. Menon continued:

“The benefits for Genesis holders bridge the digital and the physical worlds in a way not previously done before. We’re providing digital utility through metaverse wearables, physical utility with the products, and exclusive access/experiences to create a truly special result.”

Even though the concept is still futuristic, sales have been excellent. For example, on September 30, Dolce & Gabbana revealed that it had sold the nine-piece NFT collection and specific physical couture pieces for a total of 1,885.719 Ether (ETH), which was almost $5.7 million at the time.

According to Kaspar, red DAO won the auction for “The Doge Crown,” which also came with a physical version. At the time of sale, Red DAO paid 423.5 ETH, or $1.27 million. The group also won two wholly digital “Impossible” jackets, totaling approximately $1.9 million in expenses.

Given that the rank of “Doge” (as in an elected head of state) and the Dogecoin (DOGE) crossover have their roots in Italy, Kaspar noted that obtaining “The Doge Crown” was an exciting time for Red DAO. “A number of celebrities that advocate Dogecoin have already contacted us and asked to wear the crown at upcoming events,” Kaspar remarked.

Aside from Dolce & Gabbana’s Genesis collection, Jimmy Choo, a luxury fashion accessories brand, has announced an NFT effort with New York artist Eric Haze. The collection includes 8,888 “mystery boxes” for purchase, with the notion of collectability running throughout.

In addition, on the Binance platform, a digital version of the shoe created for the collection was just put available for auction. The Jimmy Choo Foundation will receive 100% of the proceeds from the auction in favor of “Women for Women International,” an organization that assists female war survivors.

The sneaker NFT whirling against a canvas of Haze’s characteristic lettering only exists digitally, according to Robert Tran, CEO of Ucollex, the NFT platform driving the introduction of the Jimmy Choo collection. The auction’s highest bidder, on the other hand, will receive a limited-edition hand-painted sneaker.

Tran said, “In an experimental meeting of creative minds from diverse cultures, this cooperation merges fashion with art, as well as the progression of street culture,” staying loyal to the concept of culture:

“The notion of collectability is a strong theme in the collaboration, as seen with the limited edition ‘Be@rbrick,’ which sold out the morning it launched. So, the timing felt right for the brand to enter the NFT conversation, amplifying New York artist Eric Haze’s creativity and Jimmy Choo’s designs as digital collectibles talking to a new audience. The fusing of digital and physical will only continue to grow in influence.”

Is the general public prepared for fashion NFTs?

While there are numerous advantages to digital fashion today, the concept is still in its early stages of development. Industry analysts expect that fashion NFTs will become more widespread as social media companies such as Facebook and TikTok continue to invest in metaverse capabilities.

Metaverses, for example, have already been introduced to the mainstream through remote work sessions, according to Tran. As a result, he believes that widespread NFT adoption is not far off: “There should be no doubt, the industry will continue to grow. Fashion shows will be done digitally one day, and the rights to the pieces on display will be auctioned and sold solely for digital use.”

While these principles may not be universally applicable now, they will become the standard in the future, according to Menon. Fashion brands and other businesses that value consistency will want to produce NFTs for their audiences in the future, he said. In terms of community participation, Menon said that Dolce & Gabbana is planning to develop its own NFT community, dubbed “DGFamily,” in the near future.

Still, education is essential

Although it may be safe to assume that more brands will want to create NFTs to stay current, Kaspar pointed out that we are also witnessing a trend where fashion brands and designers are jumping in on the NFT hype just to capture their share of the market. With this in mind, she believes that most brands still do not fully understand the power of wearable digital fashion and the full range of features that NFTs can provide.

One less-discussed disruptive feature of digitizing luxury apparel, Kaspar explained, is the opportunity to utilize these products as collateral in decentralized financial smart contracts: “All of them will be blockchain-based NFTs linked to smart contracts. That is what this technology allows us to do.”

Given the early stage of fashion NFTs, Kaspar remarked that this is an educational opportunity: “I have fashion brands calling me to figure out how to get involved. What Dolce & Gabbana has done is innovative, and I believe it will set a precedent for other brands.”

ART & COLLECTABLES

The UAE is the First Country in the Middle East to Issue NFT Stamps

The United Arab Emirates has taken a positive stance on cryptocurrency. To honor National Day, the country’s postal service is now releasing NFTs.

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#nft #uae #post "stamps #dubai #abudhabi

To honor the federation’s 50th National Day, the United Arab Emirates’ postal service is releasing nonfungible token (NFT) stamps, adding to indications that digital collectibles are gaining public appeal worldwide.

The Emirates Post Group, or EPG, revealed this week that it is the first postal body in the Middle East and North Africa to issue digital-collectible stamps. The new stamps are blockchain-based digital twins that will be marketed as digital collectibles linked to their physical counterparts and will be unveiled on December 2nd, National Holiday.

A total of four stamps will be printed, each with a unique design based on a national subject. After scanning a QR code printed on the card, buyers will see the digital design connected to the actual stamp they purchased. Next, users must scan a QR code hidden beneath the card to unlock the digital item on the blockchain.

Embracing NFTs, according to EPG CEO Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, is in line with the company’s objective of becoming more digitally focused. EPG is “exploring how the introduction of blockchain technology might streamline and enhance our processes and provide other competitive benefits” in the wake of the COVI-19 outbreak.

When questioned if the NFT stamps are a one-time dive into blockchain or part of a larger strategy to embrace the new technology, Alashram indicated EPG intends to release more digital stamps in the future:

“The use of the most up-to-date digital technologies in our operations also caters to the technology-savvy age that seeks digitally accessible services. We’re working on new NFT stamps as part of our attempts to bridge the gap between traditional postage stamps and the digital world.”

The United Arab Emirates has taken a progressive stance on blockchain technology and digital assets, with local regulators pushing for a plethora of crypto-friendly policies. In September, local officials in Dubai’s economic free zone adopted a new legislative framework that supports cryptocurrency trading and related activities, potentially paving the way for broader acceptance and innovation in the emirate.

In late October, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, or DFSA, addressed the rules surrounding so-called investment tokens. The framework is designed to give investors and market participants legal certainty.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

An NFT Armageddon Could Arrive Next Month, According to a Bitcoin Expert

The main NFT projects have been treated with care by 2021. During an initial February spike, non-fungible tokens such as NBA Top Shot and CryptoPunks led the charge.

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#nft #armageddon #nfthours

Following various dips and dives and a strong comeback in many key NFT projects over the last eight months, the future seems bright.

Charles Edwards, the founder of Capriole Investments and a crypto executive, sees the end of the year as a probable NFT winter. So let’s take a look at what we’ve seen so far and what we might expect in the future.

An NFT Winter?

In a recent tweet, Edwards makes an excellent point, pointing out that the improvements in NFTs this year have been ludicrous. While many in the crypto community have “diamond hands,” it’s realistic to assume that many will look to protect taxable gains before the end of the year:

The conversation in Edwards’ responses, on the other hand, offers a fascinating discussion on the logic of purchasing and selling. There are primarily two points of feedback: some believe that much of the selling pressure has already occurred (to which Edwards responds, “You think it’s done?”), and others believe that much of the selling pressure has yet to happen. Others argue that individuals will sell losers rather than winners.

Are people selling their significant initiatives to make money? Or will the most vulnerable NFT projects be those in the middle to lower tiers? Many people believe that the world’s Bored Apes and CryptoPunks will be immune to such selling pressure. This is based on the fact that those have been extraordinary winners this year, with unrivaled returns (and also the formation of clearly lasting communities with high financial barriers to entry now). Why sell when the future is so bright when these attributes are present?

Overall, no one knows what the eventual result will be (and there’s reasoning in both camps), and it’ll most likely be a test of the long-term belief system that underpins NFTs.

What We’ve Noticed

DappRadar is a wonderful source of information about crypto and NFTs. When we look at 30-day marketplace data, we can see that most of the top names suffer volume drops. On the 30-day data, OpenSea, Solana’s Magic Eden, centralized Flow platform NBA Top Shot, SuperRare, and Rarible are all showing volume drops. Some of those who defy the odds? Decentraland has witnessed a recent uptick in popularity, Axie Infinity continues to lead the play-to-earn sector, and WAX platform and cross-market AtomicMarket have also fared successfully.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Bored Apes and CryptoPunks Accounted for Eight of the Top Ten NFTs Sales Last Month

Athletes, entertainers, and personalities from popular culture are flocking to the NFT.

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#nft #boredapes #crypto #topsalespunks #

According to NonFungible.com, four Bored Apes and four CryptoPunks accounted for eight of the ten largest NFT sales in the last 30 days. A plot of land in Decentraland and a digital art piece developed by XCOPYART named “A Coin for the Ferryman” for 1,330 ETH ($6 million, the highest-selling) were the other two NFTs sold.

On November 22, the top Bored Ape (#544) sold for 675.01 ETH ($2.81 million), and on November 11, the highest CryptoPunks sold for 500 ETH ($2.38 million).

According to OpenSea, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was the most popular NFT collection in terms of monthly volume traded on their platform, with a total amount of 44.8 thousand ETH (about $193 million), as seen below.

CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club are two of the most popular NFT collections

Larva Labs created the CryptoPunks NFT collection in 2017 as 10,000 randomly generated pixelated characters on the Ethereum Blockchain. Anyone with an Ethereum wallet was able to mine for free. CryptoPunks is credited with being one of the first NFT projects. Musicians like Jay Z and Snoop Dog have owned Punks, and Larva Labs just announced a partnership with one of Hollywood’s leading talent agencies.

“CryptoPunks have become some of the most sought-after NFTs on the market,”

Sotheby’s contemporary art specialist Michael Bouhanna remarked.

Four years later, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was formed, with each member being a distinct Bored Ape. The collection was launched in late April 2021 by anonymous developers and each ape cost between 190 and 200 dollars (0.08 Ether). According to CNET, the collection was sold out within 12 hours of its debut. Many celebrities will eventually join this club.

Is the Bored Aped Yacht Club on its way to becoming the new celebrity hangout?

The Bored Ape Yacht Club has recently caught the attention of several celebrities, including American rapper Future, who shared his Bored Ape on his Twitter profile photo on November 28 with the phrase “gm.”

Late-night TV star Jimmy Fallon joined the club in November, and shortly after, American rapper Post Malone unveiled one of his Apes in his new music video with The Weekend, “One Right Now.”

NBA player Stephen Curry, ex-NBA player Shaquille O’Neal, international DJs/producers such as Steve Aoki, The Chainsmokers, and Marshmello, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are among the other famous members, according to NFTnow.

There is no shortage of celebrities entering the realm of NFT ventures, and this could provide valuable support to the projects.

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