How fashion brands use blockchain and NFT technology

ONEWhen the artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by American artist Beeple was sold for $ 69.3 million at Christie’s in London in March, the art world held its breath. Digital works associated with an NFT token, a non-fungible token that digitally protects the rights to the work of art, have been around for a long time, but Everyday achieved a record price. Christie’s was the first auction house to open up the crypto market – and started a transformation that also affects the fashion industry.

Just as Christie’s was a pioneer in the art industry, fashion brands and luxury conglomerates have embraced new digital markets that leverage blockchain and NFT technology. It could be a revolution that will change the fashion industry forever. Because brands can now themselves offer digital fashion based on NFT technologies. And big brands can use digital technologies to create transparency in production and sales processes.

A collection that has moved all the way to the internet

The brand RTFKT from Paris shows how this abstract technology works. Artist Eugal Odrani, illustrator Brock Hofer and animator Eric Leforet have joined forces in RTFKT. The three founders come from the gamer scene and are therefore exceptional fashion designers. Your designs exist only in the digital sphere. RTFKT manufactures, among other things, NFT sneakers, digital designer sneakers encrypted with NFT technology. A file and a design form a single piece. In just seven minutes after launch, they sold such an NFT sneaker collection, about 600 pairs of virtual shoes, for more than $ 3.1 million. To do this, they work with fashion brands such as the small Parisian brand Crypto, which has designed a digital sneaker. Jackets, shirts, trousers and accessories are also on the way, ie a collection that has been completely moved to the internet.

What do you do with shoes you can not wear?  They could be a good investment.

What do you do with shoes you can not wear? They could be a good investment.

Image: Reuters

In April, the virtual fashion brand sold a digital jacket using NFT tokens for more than $ 100,000. The brand is decentralized. Although RTFKT has offices in Paris, the designers are created in collaboration with artists, graphic designers and programmers from around the world. The history of NFT labels has only just begun.

Our ego expands through the digital sphere

In 2019, The Fabricant was founded in Amsterdam. Earlier in June, Gucci auctioned off a four-minute video clip inspired by the “Aria” collection Fall 2021 at Christie’s: offered for $ 20,000, sold for $ 25,000 – a record for such a video file. Dolce & Gabbana has designed a sneaker with NBA star PJ Tucker and is collaborating with the digital platform UNDX on a complete NFT collection. Fabricant also partnered with Buffalo London to design a platform sneaker that was sold on the blockchain platform Async Art.

RTFKT's Alience Carapace Shiny Sneaker is available both digitally and in real life.

RTFKT’s Alience Carapace Shiny Sneaker is available both digitally and in real life.

Image: Reuters

Unlike analog mode, the sneakers are offered as “NFT layers”, composition and colors are variable. Five components can be added, three design options are available. It’s not just about owning collectibles, but also about collective creativity, the creators say. “Collection is a basic human need, even in the digital age. Today, we collect files, including fashion items, “RTFKT said.” Some NFTs can be used in gaming, for example, as fashion clothing for avatars. Our self and what defines our fashion industry are expanding through the digital sphere. “

Blockchain for more sustainability

Of another size is the blockchain consortium “Aura”, founded in April by LVMH, Prada, Cartier and Richemont. The project aims to find solutions for the fashion industry of the future. The joint development of software and hardware must save money and create synergies. Daniela Ott from Germany has led the consortium based in Paris and Geneva since this year. “Fashion and luxury overlap with other cultural areas – gaming, pop music or art,” says Ott. The first result: “Aura” blockchain, with which customers can understand supply chains and digitally secure their clothes, bags and watches. “We want to make it clear how the digital world can expand fashion. It’s not just about the collection, it’s also about the experience that comes with it. ”

Information about the production process, the origin of the processed materials and certificates of authenticity are stored in the “Aura” blockchain. This means that counterfeiting, which is widespread in luxury fashion, can be digitally identified. Companies like LVMH spend millions of euros a year on lawsuits and lawyers for copyright infringement and start-up crimes. It is also about understanding the product history. NFT solutions for the members of “Aura” must also be programmed. We are talking about collaboration with other brands. “We want to give customers transparency and help make the fashion industry more secure and fair,” says Ott.

In particular, the LVMH group, which set up a blockchain team back in 2018, has promoted the common technology. The members of the consortium have equal rights and decide for themselves what information is made available to customers via blockchain technology. “Collaboration is necessary to meet the challenges of the digital age,” says Daniela Ott. Blockchain is an opportunity to build trust and contribute to more sustainability.

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