Will the next big fashion line originate from Web3?
“You don’t have to worry about the actual production or shipping of the goods,” CAA agent Tom Capone said at the Fairchild Media Technology Forum. “You can really imagine going beyond gravity and general physics. It’s very exciting from a creative standpoint.”
The Metaverse may still be the domain of tech-savvy early adopters and a small but growing roster of celebrities. (Mila Kunis recently partnered with entrepreneur Sharad Devarajan to launch Armored Kingdom Media, which will include digital comics, animation, movies, and a trading card game on the carbon-neutral blockchain Near.)
But traditional fashion and apparel brands including Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Adidas and Nike have embraced the virtual world, partnering with digital artists and investing in NFT startups. Digital artists are increasingly breaking into established entertainment and fashion markets.
In 2021, Nike acquired Utah-based NFT startup and digital sneaker maker RTKFT. Gucci has assembled a team of digital creators and revealed in May that it would accept cryptocurrencies for some physical goods. Balmain launched several NFTs on MINTNFT, including Barbie x Balmain and Balmain x Cole, a collaboration with digital artist Jeff Cole on the Balmain unicorn sneaker. Similar to the Barbie collaboration, the Cole project includes a unique NFT, and the highest bidder will also receive a pair of real sneakers signed by Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing.
The decentralized, personalized nature of Web3 and Metaverse offers fashion brands the opportunity to hyper-customize digital wearables using virtual and augmented reality. In the Metaverse, for example, users can buy Gucci tokens and see only Gucci clothing on the fashion week runway through augmented reality. Adam Friedman, CAA executive and investor, of Connect Ventures, a joint venture with NEA, added that the future of luxury goods will increasingly come with complementary NFTs so that users can outfit their own like an IRL Gucci handbag avatar.
“As the metaverse becomes more mainstream and more adopted, you’ll see more and more people interacting in the metaverse, and you need to wear yourself and your avatar as you move around,” He said editor Boothmore in a discussion moderated by WWD West Coast executives. “You don’t want to be left out. You don’t want to wear sneakers from last season. The same utility we see in real life, I think you’ll see [in the metaverse]. “
Last year marked the madness of Hollywood institutions pushing the virtual world. UTA has signed three collections of NFTs — CryptoPunks, Meebits and Autoglyphs — with creative technology company Larva Labs, founded in 2005 by Canadian software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson. Released in 2017, CryptoPunks is one of the first NFT projects based on the Ethereum blockchain. A few months later, CAA signed a real NFT incarnation – Jenkins the Valet, launched by Tally Labs from the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project whose NFT owners include Snoop Dogg, Tom Brady, Madonna, Justin Bieber , Steph Curry, Paris Hilton and Logan Paul.
Earlier this year, CAA signed 13-year-old digital artist Nyla Hayes, who created the Long Necky Women NFT series.
“She’s an artist at heart, but we can create more with her,” Friedman said. “There are branded events, content opportunities and speaking opportunities.”
Virtual worlds are casting superstars — including former MLB player-turned-NFT artist Micah Johnson, whose NFT sales are approaching $20 million. But so far it remains a very small and financially unstable community.
“There’s no doubt that when you look at the space, there’s a little bit of an echo chamber right now,” Friedman added. “When you see more and more people jumping into this space, not out of a money grab mentality, but more from [creative mentality], that’s how you’ll see things expand. “
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