In the past year, we have seen a boom in the NFT industry. Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are the new medium to create and sell art. Every creative business seems to be diving headfirst into this new technology, so what does that mean for the fashion industry. Is there a point to digital clothing and accessories? Or is this the newest fad? Let’s take a deeper look into what NFTs mean for fashion.
What Are NFTs?
Before we can truly find out what NFTs mean to fashion, we first need to understand what NFTs are. An NFT is a digital asset that represents a real-world object. The real-world object can be a painting, music, videos, or in this case clothing. Typically NFTs are bought with cryptocurrency online and each NFT is encoded differently so each one is unique to the owner. Even if they look the same. It is similar to owning an artist print limited to 300. Even if each print is the same, each one is numbered differently from 1 to 300.
The History of NFTs
Now that we understand a little more about NFTs, let’s look at how this technology came to be. The first-known NFT “Quantum” was produced by digital artist Kevin McCoy on the Namecoin blockchain on May 3rd, 2014. The ‘Quantum’ is a digital image of a pixelated octagon that changes color and pulses in an octopus-like manner. After the first few months, more new currencies and tokens began to appear. There were many platforms developed on top of the Bitcoin blockchain as a result of this experimentation and development. Then the Ethereum blockchain took control of the NFT market for the first time.
2021 and the Boom of NFTs
The year 2021 has been designated as the year of the NFT, and there was a big increase in NFT supply and demand. When prestigious auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s, among others, made monumental changes in the art market and industry at large by bringing their auctions online, things changed significantly. This resulted in Christie’s record-breaking $69 million sale of Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days NFT. This validated the NFT market significantly, as evidenced by the massive purchase from such a reputable auction house.
What NFTs Mean For Fashion
Many of us buy clothing to wear, some buy clothing for a collection, and some buy clothing because they see it as art. Some of us buy clothing for all three of those reasons. This is why I think NFTs may be more than just a trend. Because you can collect them and they are considered art, NFTs have a good chance of being some sort of significance in this industry. For example, look at the baby Birken NFT that sold for more than an actual Birken bag. This seems crazy at first but the buyer truly seems to view this NFT as an extremely valuable asset. This is also not an outlier, NFTs have been selling like crazy in all kinds of industries. Only time will tell, but this is something that I will be keeping an eye on for the foreseeable future.
Dolce & Gabbana $6 Million Record NFT Sale
In 2021, luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana sold a nine-piece collection of digital NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, as well as some physical clothing for a total of 1,885.719 Ether (Ethereum cryptocurrency), or roughly $5.7 million. UNXD, a curated marketplace for digital luxury and culture described this sale as the most complex fashion NFT ever created and distributed. Five of the objects were actual works produced by Dolce & Gabbana, with virtual modifications by UNXD for the metaverse: Two versions of the Dress from a Dream, each with sparkling beads and crystal accents; an emerald green men’s suit similarly adorned; and two gold-plated and gem-studded silver crowns, known as The Lion Crown and The Doge Crown. The four other pieces were completely digital. This included three men’s jackets and a tiara made from materials that you simply “can’t find on earth”.
StockX and the Move to Digital Sneakers
StockX is another company that has moved into creating and selling NFTs. StockX is a marketplace that allows consumers to buy rare and sold-out sneakers and streetwear. The new product from StockX, which they’re calling VaultNFTs, are created on the Ethereum blockchain in much the same way as other NFTs. However, each token is bound to a particular pair of sneakers that exists in the physical world at the company’s vault as well as digitally. Tokens represent something real. They help connect physical and virtual worlds. This is important because it helps make blockchain more practical.
A Quick Warning
Where ever there is money to be made and a lot of it, there are sure to be scams. So if you are interested in getting into fashion NFTs be sure to do your research. Many creators in the NFT space are in it solely for the money. So make sure you know exactly what you are getting into. Also, only spend money you are willing to lose. Since this is such a new industry, we don’t know what the value of these will be in the future.
NFTs are digital assets that have the potential to change the fashion industry. We need to be cautious of scams but this is something I think will be sticking around for a while. What do you think? Are NFTs here to stay or is this just another fad? Let me know in the comments below!
Fashion NFTs Available Right Now
1. RTFKT – Digital sneaker drops
2. Gucci – The first luxury house to create NFTs
3. Louis Vuitton – An NFT collecting game