the latest phenomenon in the fashion industry

The world of NFTs arouses the interest of professionals in fashion and luxury. Is NFT going to take the fashion industry by storm or is it just a fad?

2021 is the year of NFTs, the non-fungible tokens that young and
geek terrifying investors by combining cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Sales exploded in August, with speculators eager to jump on the bandwagon. A craze fueled by the coronavirus crisis (when physical art was no longer accessible) and fueled by growing interest from the art world, sports and the media. Marvel has put several buses up for sale, a collector has spent $600,000 to buy a jpeg of an ancient rock, unpublished photos of a young Kobe Bryant have been auctioned off through this process, and even the credit card company Visa has sold the image of a virtual reality for $150,000. punk (a type of NFT). A work by artist Beeple sold at Christie’s as an NFT in March for $69.3 million. Examples abound.

Interestingly, an NFT is a digital item that has become non-fungible, i.e. unique and non-exchangeable, thanks to blockchain technology. The virtual object, whatever it may be (an image, a video, a gif or even a computer code), then acquires an original and authentic character, since its ownership is verifiable and verifiable. A unique image, recognized as an original model, then acquires the character of a work of art. So the importance for the owner of an NFT is to show a social status (in the same way that one shows an original painting in his house or in a foundation in his name: to show an original cryptopunk in the cover photo of his account of Twitter is such a sign of wealth) and/or valuing a speculative asset.

For some skeptics, this trend is nothing more than a lottery and a bubble that will soon burst. Other collectors, on the other hand, are committed to simplifying this practice, making it accessible to the general public very soon. “In five or ten years, platforms like Instagram will allow NFT to be published. These works will become media: if Gucci offers NFT to an influencer, those who follow him will want to buy Gucci,” predicts collector Nikola Niksic, quoted by France. information. The difficulty is that you need to be familiar with the technology, have an online wallet, inject cryptocurrency into it, and connect to a dedicated sales website. We are currently more in a geek world than in the world of a traditional collector.

The fashion industry and especially the luxury sector, where exclusivity is an important precondition, have well understood the interest in NFTs. Both as a means of communication and a new way of offering new services to the client. Gucci, a pioneer in this field (the brand had already started to commercialize digital products) presented its first NFT in the form of a digital work of art that represents a metaphorical universe of a galloping horse. This NFT had an initial offer of $20,000 to pay in Ethereum. Rimowa inaugurated her first NFT collection by collaborating with design studio Nuova to create four pieces inspired by aircraft furniture. Entitled “Blueprints for the Metaverse,” the series consists of physical goods transformed into digital works of art.

In June, Valentino opened an exhibition of digital art in NFT format, based on the work of British artist Matthew Stone. Finally, to conclude this series of examples, there is the giant Louis Vuitton. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of its founder, the luggage manufacturer has launched “Louis: The Game”, a video game that integrates thirty NFTs. In the game, Vivienne, the company’s mascot, goes in search of her 200 birthday candles on a path that spans six worlds. The French luxury brand wants to forge a bond with the future generation ultra connected consumers An advance consistent with the philosophy of the CEO of Louis Vuitton, Michael Burke, who states: “The best way to attract people to our brand is through the medium they love”. A big bet on the future, then.

Ethics and transparency in the face of a large carbon footprint?

Another possible application of CLS is sustainable development. With this technology, luxury and fashion could ethically enter a new decade of transparency and authentication. The customer would be able to trace the history of all transactions, from product design to repair. The NFT would also allow the client to insure their product or extend their guarantee and, in general, strengthen the links between a luxury house and its client thanks to secure technology. DressX, founded in July 2020 by Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova, offers virtual clothing that its users can wear digitally for photos and videos: the company has partnered with NFT to drive the purchase of digital assets. One of the main arguments of both companies is to reduce pollution through virtual consumption. The problem is that the technology consumes a lot of electricity. Therefore, the carbon footprint of NFTs is significant. In short: a technology full of promise, but also full of paradoxes.

This article first appeared on FashionUnited.FR, then was translated and edited into Dutch by Ilona Fonteijn.

Images: Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Gucci

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