They are called Non Fungible Token. In other words: NFT. They are the most virtual and immaterial you can imagine. Nerd collector stuff. But very, very rich collectors. So rich that fashion and luxury are diving into this “new generation” world. Here’s how and why
33.77 seconds can be a time frame where you can make a lot of things happen. And observe many others. It may happen, for example, that on a digital platform called The Dematerialized, in this almost intangible lapse of time, 77 NFT by Karl Lagerfeld literally went off the shelves, at a cost of 177 euros each. Anything out of the ordinary, you will say. There are influencers in China who have hit the web with a similar speed by selling exclusive models from Chanel, Tod’s and many other brands. Here, forget about these bags (and any other fashion accessory), because the NFT we are talking about are the most virtual and immaterial you can imagine.
The acronym NFT, in fact, is the acronym for Non Fungible Token. In other words: the last digital frontier (also) of luxury and fashion. A millionaire frontier that, in the moment you discover it and understand it, you realize that, probably, it’s too late to try to catch its wave.
Ok, but what NFT are?
Technically, they are files with the JPEG extension (digital photos ones), encrypted and protected by blockchain. In this way the file is absolutely unique and not reproducible. Therefore, by virtue of its uniqueness, it has a market value also (and not only) from a collector’s point of view. “Fashion brands are just starting to understand NFT,” told at Fashion United Richard Hobbs, founder of the specialized platform bnv.me.
Hobbs suggests the brands to hurry up, because “the wave has arrived: it is the time to surf NFT”. Thus, there are those who buy digital creations to resell them and earn. There are those who think a brand could reproduce a memorable moment on the runway and put it up for sale. It sounds crazy, but only for those who are not digital natives. Not surprisingly, this particular type of market, as far as sneaker is concerned, has already exploded, demonstrating how real the value of virtual NFT is.
The real value of virtual NFT
Last June, a collaboration between the design studio RTFKT and Fewocious (18-year-old digital artist from Seattle) led to the sale, in 7 minutes, of the NFT of 621 pairs of sneakers for a value of 3.1 million dollars. Nothing to say, except that they can neither be touched nor worn. RTFKT, one of the best-known fashion players in this intangible field, hired two model makers from Clarks to develop this business model. They have the task of making real samples of its virtual models. “Sneakers were the basic vehicle to start with”, one of the three founders of RTFKT Benoit Pagotto, explains to The Wall Street Journal. He points out that today even teenagers know that it is possible to earn by reselling sneakers and how much this concept is also applicable to the digital world.
The exemplary case of D&G
To understand how much NFTs represent for fashion the access key to a new dimension of marketing and business, it’s enough to tell the exemplary case of Dolce & Gabbana. The label grossed $ 5.7 million from its first NFT collectibles auction at the end of September. Flamingo DAO bought some, an organization that aims to bring together members interested in supporting the growing digital fashion ecosystem. In other words: cryptofashion. The D&G proposal included 9 digital objects from the Genesi Collection: 2 women’s dresses, a men’s suit, 3 jackets and 3 crowns. Some of them were combined with “physical” benefits. For example: a garment, a jewel or the opportunity to attend a show of the brand in person. The result, given the value generated, was nothing short of explosive (or, in some ways, disturbing).
The Jimmy Choo Charity
Jimmy Choo also landed at NFT with a 6-day auction (starting point: 20 October). It is a charity project (the proceeds will go to Women for Women International) developed with the specialized platform Ucollex and named Jimmy Choo/Eric Haze curated by Poggy. In other words, the digital version of the Jimmy Choo designer sneaker was born out of the collaboration between the Japanese creative Poggy and the New York artist Eric Haze. The highest bidder will win the virtual creation, and will also receive a pair of limited edition hand-painted sneakers. But this isn’t over, given that the auction includes another series of NFTs which, in an “incremental” way, give access to the possibility of grabbing virtual objects of increasing rarity, as in a role-playing game. All very complex (apparently) and immaterial. All very rich.
Doubts and prohibitions
On the world of NFT, however, clouds are already gathering. “The money laundering activity that can be done with cryptocurrencies can also be done with NFTs” explains the ilovetrading.it portal. Among other things, cryptocurrencies have ended up in the viewfinder of the financial authorities in China, which has banned them as could soon happen in Russia as well. This is generating the fear that their development may also be held back.