October will perhaps be remembered as the month when digital fashion really took off.
An auction for Dolce & Gabbana’s non-fungible luxury fashion tokens fetched $ 6 million this month, which seems to calm nerves that the digital bubble would burst anytime soon.
Within a year, technology – data that can uniquely authenticate digital and physical goods – has gone from esoteric tech babble to a hot trend and made words like “crypto” and “blockchain. “part of the fashion lexicon.
Newly formed crypto group Red Dao won Dolce & Gabbana’s NFT marquee, “The Doge Crown,” as well as two purely digital “Impossible” jackets for a total of nearly $ 1.9 million. The crown auction alone, which included the 3D digital image and the actual physical object, sold for the equivalent of $ 1.27 million.
According to Megan Kaspar, a member of Red Dao and managing director of crypto investment firm Magnetic, the sale was a key milestone for the group, as well as for the fashion industry. Understanding the purpose has everything to do with who the group is and what its goals are.
Members of Red Dao, a “decentralized autonomous organization” made up of around 40 people from the crypto and fashion industries, have come together to raise and deliver high-end digital clothing through NFTs. . The D&G sale was the group’s first purchase.
“Red Dao is specifically looking to invest in the future of fashion technology, which for us is NFT digital fashion,” Kaspar explained. “We believe that digital fashion can only be monetized through blockchain technology [as it] uses the intelligence layer on a blockchain, which are smart contracts.
NFTs are recorded in the blockchain, an essentially immutable decentralized ledger that cannot be copied or hacked. It works like a Certificate of Authenticity, which is profound for endless tear-off digital goods.
The organization had just been formed when it heard about the landmark fashion auction. It was perfect timing, as members enthusiastically considered the decline in digital fashion.
Of course, other NFTs have generated millions of dollars in sales before that – from the $ 69 million Beeple digital collage that sparked the latest craze to an RTFKT digital sneaker that sold for $ 3.1 million. and projects from brands like Rebecca Minkoff, who launched her own NFT for the fashion photos showcasing her New York Fashion Week collection in September.
But the Dolce & Gabbana auction was different, from Red Dao’s perspective.
“For us, it was the first public signal to society [that was] sort of indicating to the world that there is an emerging opportunity in NFT fashion that has never existed before, ”Kaspar continued. “One of the biggest designers in the world launched a Genesis sewing collection, selling over $ 5 million of items, and we purchased three of those items. It’s interesting because it shows the world what’s possible with these new business models.
She noted that in addition to the jewelry-encrusted Doge Crown, which comes in both virtual and physical forms, the group has purchased two digital-only jackets that come with exclusive branding experiences.
“There are four different experiences for the next two years that Red Dao members can participate in, some of which are extremely exclusive events and parties that Dolce & Gabbana is hosting,” she said. “Your brain might take you to different ideas about how brands might use this feature. This led Kaspar to see the sale as a turning point capable of opening new avenues for fashion and luxury.
As for the fundamental question of what people can actually do with virtual tiaras, jackets, earrings, outfits or shoes – other than admiring them or sharing images on social media – the expert in crypto has some ideas.
She referred to a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, in which she predicted that the fashion industry’s $ 2 trillion value would double over the next two decades due to digital fashion. She wore various virtual accessories during the segment.
The example shows the inescapable scenario that people are simply living more of their lives online, especially in these recent times of a pandemic. Imagine consumers wearing authentic Dolce & Gabbana or Gucci creations online on video calls or virtual red carpets, or outfitting game avatars with luxury goods, authenticated via NFT.
It only scratches the surface. As other forms of technology emerge, so will new uses of NFTs and digital fashion, Kaspar said.
Karinna Nobbs, co-founder of digital fashion marketplace The Dematerialized, agrees. She turns to projects that mix augmented reality and digital fashion, like the Carlings AR t-shirt, a blank top filled with digital images when a user points their smartphone camera at it.
“[I think] we’ll see some elements of physical fashion become almost a little more uniform, a little more basic, especially with the advent of AR glasses, for example, ”she told WWD in April.
Kaspar also believes augmented reality-equipped glasses will be the next major step in digital fashion when – not if – they emerge. Facebook has announced plans to launch AR glasses at some point, likely in 2023. Meanwhile, the tech industry is eagerly awaiting a similar device from Apple.
“I would also expect to see something from Amazon as well,” Kaspar added. “Amazon is an amazing business. They are just amazing how dynamic and agile they are able to move and be flexible. And they don’t talk about it. They just do it.
It will take at least a few years, if not more, for such devices to hit the mainstream market, let alone gain traction, she acknowledged. But that only means that the fashion industry has some work to do in the meantime, to prepare – not just for these particular gadgets, but for other new technologies to come as well.
“There is a chip from a company called Ostendo which is a quantum photon imaging chip. No one else has anything like it. They’ve been working there for 16 years and it’s amazing, ”she said.
Ostendo’s work effectively integrates many miniature projectors around the glasses, which can project 3D or even holographic images, superimposed on a person’s sight. It’s a much more immersive and realistic AR experience than pointing at a phone and staring at its screen.
This future may seem distant, and it is, but for Red Dao it seems like a fate.
Until then, there are other issues to be resolved.
For their upcoming NFT, the group is eyeing an upcoming work by Iris van Herpen based on her Met Gala dress. He’s also weighing different offers for his latest purchase, as celebrities and influencers come out of the woods, hoping to don The Doge Crown, either in physical or digital form. There is speculation that Snoop Dogg, for example, wants to wear the crown.
“There is speculation that he will,” Kaspar admitted. “I think his team are super progressive. You know, Snoop has his own metaverse and sandbox world called Snoop Mansion. And I think there’s a really good roster there. But there might be other celebrities who would be a better fit. It is therefore about the alignment of the partnership, and then also of what the Dao votes on.