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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

Ford is getting ready to enter the Metaverse with digital cars and NFTs

A month after the company announced significant personnel reductions, it has filed a trademark application covering its future initiatives in the Metaverse and NFT space.

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Ford Motor Company, an American automaker, has filed 19 trademark applications across its key automobile brands as it prepares to enter the realm of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse.

Mike Kondoudis, a trademark attorney licensed by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), disclosed in a tweet on Wednesday that the business had submitted a total of 19 trademark applications covering its car brands, including Mustang, Bronco, Lincoln, Explorer, and F-150 Lightning, among others.

The trademark applications include a projected online marketplace for NFTs and virtual versions of its businesses’ automobiles, trucks, vans, SUVs, and clothes.

Ford intends to produce digital images of its vehicles, SUVs, trucks, and vans that will be verified by NFTs, according to USPTO filings submitted by the automaker on September 2.

The business also disclosed plans for “downloadable virtual commodities,” or “computer programs,” that would include apparel, accessories, and parts for vehicles for usage in “online virtual environments,” such as virtual and augmented reality trade exhibitions.

Additionally, there are plans to develop an online marketplace for “others’ digital artwork” as well as “online retail shop services featuring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital collectibles.”

Less than a month after Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Farley announced significant personnel reductions from its global workforce to decrease corporate expenses; Ford has decided to enter the Web3 area.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to enter the Metaverse market.

While premium automakers like Bentley and Lamborghini have already launched NFT collections, automakers including Nissan, Toyota, and Hyundai have indicated ambitions to enter the fast-expanding Metaverse market.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Crypto-Vultures Profit from the Death of Queen Elizabeth

Only a few hours after the Queen’s passing, more than 40 meme tokens bearing her name have been released.

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Yesterday, according to Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away. Although her loss triggered a global outpouring of sympathy and grief, it has also been exploited as a money-grab.

Elizabeth II, monarch
Grift endures eternally, but the Queen is gone.

There are over 40 meme coins on Ethereum and the Binance Smart Chain thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s passing (and at least one exploitative NFT collection).

While the news of the British monarch’s demise saddened people worldwide, cryptocurrency scammers took advantage of the occasion to launch dozens of meme coins with Queen themes on Ethereum and Binance’s BNB Chain.

Among the new crypto coins that were introduced are “Queen Elizabeth Inu,” “Queen Doge,” “God Save The Queen,” “London Bridge Is Down,” “Queen Grow,” “Rip Queen Elizabeth,” “Elizabeth II,” and “Queen Inu II.” Other tokens with the name of the next king, King Charles III, have also appeared. According to DexScreener, at least 40 separate meme coins appear to have been produced in the previous six hours.

The most liquid tokens, Save The Queen and Queen Elizabeth Inu, have already processed trade volumes of around $700,000 and $200,000 since their debut. At the time of writing, the price of Queen Elizabeth Inu is up 1,517%, while it has increased by 23,271% on Binance Smart Chain and 3,708% on Uniswap. Prices are incredibly unstable and exceedingly unlikely to persist.

The “Queen Elizabeth 69 Years NFT” NFT set has reportedly been produced. One image is said to represent each year of the Queen’s reign in the collection. The project’s aims should be questioned because Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years, not 69.

The crypto community, typically known for its gallows humor, mainly reacted negatively to the initiatives. When told about the NFT collection, NFT aficionado ThreadGuy said, “You’re going to hell.” Trader Byzantine General declared, “We’ve got to stop this crypto stuff.”

In 1926, Queen Elizabeth was born. She was the longest-reigning British monarch in history and passed away in Balmoral Castle at 96.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

One crypto sector, according to billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, is experiencing a classic bubble cycle

One crypto sector may be going through a typical hype cycle, according to billionaire investor and software entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya.

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In a new episode of the All-In podcast, the CEO of Social Capital discusses the sharp decline in trading volume in the non-fungible token (NFT) market.

Palihapitiya offers Coachella and Burning Man as examples of major music festivals that strive to be distinctive but may wind up being mostly the same.

The billionaire contrasts NFTs and the overall art market with the two music events.

“I do believe that there is something going on; the simplest way to explain this is with the Burning Man/Coachella scenario. Many of these things are similar, but when some people approach anything new, they are too insecure to accept that it is similar to another item, so they spend a lot of time attempting to convince you that it is different. When someone says that a time is different, it’s probably not that different, as stated in the Warren Buffett quote, is an example. Or consider the other famous historical adage, “Things don’t always repeat in history, but they rhyme.”

All of this is meant to imply that, aside from major advances in science, not much new has been discovered recently. We keep repeating the same patterns, and one of them is the social capital that comes from making certain decisions and then having those decisions validated by others in order to feel valuable. And this occurred in NFTs, as well as, I’m sure, in the initial stages of several artistic movements. These events are more comparable than dissimilar because they have presumably occurred in a number of other markets as well.

Burning man and Coachella are same. The art market and NFTs are both the same. It doesn’t need to be unusual; you can simply appreciate it because you think it’s cool. I would just take it with a grain of salt and tell anyone who comes to you asking why it’s so different.

DappRadar reports that earlier last week, trading volume on popular NFT marketplace OpenSea reached a one-year low.

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