The 3D TECH Festival 2021 concluded a week ago after three days of gathering international experts in the ever-expanding field digital fashion. The online event’s last day was dominated by a new fashion phenomenon called NFTs. What’s the deal?

Global hype NFTs

The first “non-fungible tokens”, or NFTs, were launched by Karl Lagerfeld three weeks ago. The first was a black-and-white NFT figurine that The Dematerialized sold for 77 Euros each. Lagerfeld also offered a shiny metallic NFT figurine in silver, which cost 177 euro each.

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The more expensive version sold out in 33.77 seconds. Marjorie Hernandez, cofounder of The Dematerialized, explained that the less expensive version sold out in 49.09 minutes during her presentation. The website that sold NFTs received traffic from all around the globe. Sixteen percent of visitors came from the USA, while 39 percent were from Europe. The rest of the world received 45 percent. Hernandez said that the Karl Lagerfeld NFTs are attracting a lot of interest around the world. It reaches new audiences, particularly younger generations, and goes beyond traditional marketing channels.

JPEG files that are Tamper-Proof

What’s the deal with all the hype? What is NFTs? And what are they used for in the metaverse? What does this new technology mean for the fashion industry? The 3D TECH Festival attempted to answer this question. One thing is certain: The Lagerfeld NFTs are just the latest example in a new technology adaptation currently in fashion, especially among high-fashion brands like Burberry, Gucci and Luis Vuitton. They are all trying to learn from this new field.

NFTs can be described as JPEG files. These non-fungible tokens can be thought of as digital certificates of authenticity. They are typically secured using blockchain technology and therefore tamper-proof. These NFTs are derived from the gaming and art sectors. A picture by Beeple was sold at Christie’s in March for 69 Million Euros – the highest for JPEG file ever.

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Brands have a new channel of sales

Digital fashion is a new avenue for fashion brands. Fashion brands can now sell their clothes not only in the real-world, but also via NFTs, especially in the gaming industry. Clothing plays an increasing role in this world. “For children, Fortnite’s skin is as important as real life clothes. Evelyn Mora, who was one of the founders of Helsinki Fashion Week and the social metaverse “Digital Village”, says that both reflect their personalities. Metaverses allows players to create avatars and shop, meet up, and even purchase land and real estate. There are many options. A metaverse, which is different from most social media, is a collective virtual space. It is typically stored in a decentralised manner and often uses blockchains to store one’s currencies.

It is still in its infancy

Richard Hobbs says that fashion brands are only beginning to understand NFTs. He is a fashion entrepreneur and co-founded bnv.me, an NFT platform. Many details are still emerging, and it’s not clear where the journey will take him. Mirjam Schuele (head of marketing at Karl Lagerfeld) says that there was a risk in launching Lagerfeld NFTs. “There aren’t many benchmarks to follow. We did our best but we didn’t know how the market would react to our NTFs.” They are encouraged by the success of their first NFTs to keep using the technique. He doesn’t want to share any more details, but says that the next drop has been planned. Schuele states, “We want to explore NFTs and find new ways to push the boundaries.” Hobbs urges the industry get to grips. “You must jump in the water immediately if you want the wave to come, because it is coming now.”

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