How Fashion and NFTs Found Themselves in a Beneficial Partnership
The fashion world has gone for NFTs in a big way. Yes, skeptics may continue to claim that NFTs are “useless,” yet fashion houses seem not to have received the memo, since a growing number of them have begun offering those tokens of ownership as part of their collections and product lines.
In fact, the roster of fashion firms using NFTs in one way or another has become pretty big, including such luminaries as Balmain, Philipp Plein, Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Rebecca Minkoff, Burberry, Diesel, Guerlain, and numerous others. And in many ways, NFTs and fashion make a natural pairing, if only because both are centered around rarity and status.
One of the big benefits of fashion’s embrace of NFTs is that it has allowed the industry to attract new customers, people who may not have otherwise spent with certain brands. And with at least some fashion houses accepting NFTs as a new reality for them, this relationship may also work in the other direction, with fashion serving to bring new people to NFTs and crypto.
Fashion and NFTs: A match made in heaven
Swiss fashion group Philipp Plein has been one of the earlier adopters of NFTs and crypto within the industry, having begun accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in August 2021.
This involvement expanded into the use of NFTs in April of this year, when the group launched a concept store in London that offers customers non-fungible tokens representing the real-world items they buy in-store. For Philipp Plein himself, this makes lots of business sense, seeing as how fashion and NFTs are both a form of art.
“It means that both are a way to express yourself or to express feelings or ideas. If we’re adding luxury brands to the mix, NFTs become also a matter of status symbol,” he told Cryptonews.com.
That fashion and NFTs intertwine with each other at a basic level is something held also by the NFT industry itself, with Rarible’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Alex Salnikov agreeing that rarity and artistic expression are two big areas of overlap.
“The fashion and NFT industries often revolve around the same core principles of artistic expression, continuous innovation, and rarity, and as such, make for a natural and very promising partnership. I believe further collaboration between the two sectors will allow both industries to continue to evolve in new ways previously thought unimaginable and will usher in an exciting new era of digital and physical fashion,” he told Cryptonews.com.
Judging by the sheer number of fashion brands that have waded into NFTs, it does seem that a “new era” is slowly being birthed. And while some companies have only just begun using non-fungible tokens, others already acknowledge that NFTs are here to stay.
“For us, it is a new reality, we strongly believe that this is the future and it’s happening now,” said Philipp Plein, adding that all of his brand’s future projects are likely to include NFTs and crypto as an “integral” part.
However, fashion brands aren’t likely to involve themselves with NFTs alone, with many also experimenting with metaverse platforms. This also happens to be the case with Philipp Plein, which established a presence in the metaverse in February.
“We purchased our Land in the Decentraland metaverse for more than EUR 1.5 m, the PLEIN PLAZA, and have been developing it since. We even hosted a fashion show there during Milan fashion week,” said Plein.
Indeed, the metaverse has become a big fixture within the fashion industry, with Decentraland hosting the Metaverse Fashion Week in March, when such brands as DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Paco Rabanne, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Charles & Keith, and Prive Porter showcased their virtual wares. Needless to say, non-fungible tokens were a big part of the event, with the Amsterdam Metaverse Festival — held in June — also leaning heavily on NFTs.
What crypto and NFTs does for fashion
Speaking with figures on both sides of the equation, it’s clear that fashion’s love affair with NFTs has helped it attract new customers. According to Philipp Plein, the acceptance of crypto-based payments in August 2021 led to “incredible results” within ten months.
“When we started we accepted 15 currencies and now we accept 24 different currencies. The turnover generated through crypto payments on the website already reached more than 2.5% [of total turnover] which brings it to a level of a real payment method,” said Philipp Plein.
Plein also reports that, in the context of the brand’s retail outlets, customers have shown lots of interest in paying with crypto and/or receiving NFTs, something which creates “additional points of contact” between its stores and tech-savvy demographics.
“Also super interesting is that the average value for an order paid by crypto is [higher 187%] than other payment methods and 73 customers out of 100 [who spend crypto] are completely new to the brand,” he said.
This account is backed up by the experience of NFT marketplace Rarible, whose Alex Salnikov agrees that the meeting of the NFT and fashion sectors has enabled both to onboard new customers, creators, and fans.
“At Rarible, we have partnered with a number of notable fashion brands including Diesel and G-Star Raw — which have allowed these brands to gain exposure to new creators and fans from the world of Web3. Similarly, partnerships between the mainstream fashion sector and the NFT space also serve as somewhat of a gateway to bring new users into the world of Web3,” he said.
Salnikov noted that the crossover between fashion and NFTs is a mutually beneficial partnership and one that allows both industries to further expand and broaden their user base. It’s for such reasons that he expects it to continue for the foreseeable future, even in the face of an apparent crypto winter.
He says, “This digital revolution is not temporary, but rather a new stage of our lives that will continue to grow and change the ways in which we work, create, and engage with each other. This applies to the intersection between the NFT and fashion industries as well, and we are seeing more and more luxury and lifestyle brands enter the Web3 space.”