NFTs In The Fashion Industry
When we first started hearing about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the word was immediately on everyone’s lips and as Google Trends shows, the word “NFT” was searched even more than “crypto” in 2022. NFTs are unique digital tokens that provide proof of ownership over an asset. These tokens can be safely traded, with transaction history recorded to a blockchain to provide transparency around authenticity and ownership.
When it comes to talking about NFTs’ concrete contribution to fashion companies, there are three main types of possible uses: authentication, marketing and virtual fashion.
One of the most relevant applications of NFTs is its ability to tie itself to a physical product offered by a brand. The token becomes the embodiment of the product in the digital world, including luxury items, rare sneakers, or watches, etc.
Through the issuance of NFT by brands, consumers have both a proof of purchase and a proof of authenticity of their product. This product and NFT association could also allow brands to follow a buyer’s consumer behaviour, particularly in the world of second-hand luxury because the NFT is transferred to the buyer at the same time as the product.
A lot of fashion giants have jumped on this digital trend, including Nike, Levi’s and most recently, Adidas.
Marketing and Communications
The NFT tokens could also be converted into a way to access exclusive features and benefits. For example, at the Paris Fashion Week last summer, buyers, journalists and influencers received "utility NFTs" that gave them access to exclusive augmented reality presentations. Beyond the fashion shows, NFTs can be a powerful marketing tool for capsule collection or store opening events.
For example, Forever 21 has adopted NFTs tokens with a game that allows the player to open a Forever 21 store in the metaverse, a fictional virtual world.
While in both cases previously mentioned, NFTs are intended to be a bridge between the physical and virtual worlds, it can also be solely virtual through the purchase of unique or limited digital creations, selling them in virtual stores located in the metaverse. This virtual universe comes with an avatar which comes naked, for the purpose of being eventually dressed up with digital fashion pieces according to one's taste.
Several brands have begun to roll out virtual pieces and collections, sometimes also offered in the real world. This is the case for Dolce & Gabbana’s digital capsule Genesi, the collaborations between Balmain and Barbie, Givenchy and Chito, Gucci Aria, and the initiatives launched by Guerlain, Havaianas, DKNY, Adidas, Diesel, H&M.
There are still several different metaverses where NFTs and virtual fashion outfits are not transferable from one to another. Brands must therefore carefully select which metaverse/s to launch or multiply their investments in order to occupy and succeed on all fronts. Needless to say, NFTs come with incredible opportunities for fashion sustainability issues, events and also double wardrobes, physical and digital wardrobes, or “skins”.
[information sourced on forbes.com, fashionnetwork.com and fashionunited.uk
All images sourced on canva.com]