To say that the retail industry dislikes e-commerce might be an understatement, and this rings especially true in the fashion industry. Although some brands embrace the emergence of online shopping, fashion and its success have a lot to do with a shopper’s physical experience of the products.
Luxury fashion takes this fact further by putting on shows regularly to introduce their newest creations with fashion weeks hosted around the globe. Why then is the luxury industry so enthusiastic about Web3? What changed, and what could luxury brands gain from the latest craze of NFTs?
We uncover likely reasons and look at the luxury brands that jumped on the NFT wagon.
✓ Digital Luxury?
The luxury industry’s hostility toward online shopping stemmed from obvious fears of brand erosion and loss of exclusivity. In the last 2 decades, this loathing either transformed into indifference or adoption, but luxury brands still prefer in-person experiences for their customers. The experience translates to our senses, which used to be key in attracting new customers and building a loyal following.
Today’s consumers think and act a little different to their early millennium counterparts. Savvy brands understand how fast the digital world is changing, and with the emergence of Web3 and all the potential the metaverse holds, only fools would miss out on the opportunity.
With giants in the luxury sphere like Conde Nast diving into the metaverse, it is only a matter of time before others follow. The NFT movement already inspired a few high-end fashion houses and luxury lifestyle brands to create exclusive digital collections, and according to the chief marketing officer at Balmain, every luxury brand should include it in their marketing strategies.
✓ Historic Brands Embrace NFTs
Once the blockchain exclusivity penny dropped and NFT sales started making headlines, luxury brands grabbed the opportunity to exist in virtual and augmented reality. Avatars need outfits, right?
The most talked about part of the metaverse already has online casinos and other consumer-driven features, so it only makes sense that high-end fashion complements the residents of Decentraland. Some luxury brands only recently joined the NFT club, but others already have more than one digital exclusive range.
✓ Dolce & Gabbana
They may not have been the first to join the NFT race, but the designers at the luxury fashion house set an NFT record for their Collezione Genesi sale. In partnership with UNXD, the curated marketplace for digital luxury, D&G auctioned the 9-piece collection for a whopping $6.1 million in September 2021. The exquisite collection comprised 5 real creations with digital iterations by UNXD, while the other 4 were solely virtual creations.
Rather than sticking to purely digital rarity, the fashion house offered buyers the opportunity to own pieces in the metaverse, as well as in real life. Each sale came with promises of exclusive D&G events.
The tremendous success of this haute couture NFT collection is still the talk of the digital fashion world. Naturally, there will be more Dolce & Gabbana NFT collections going forward.
✓ Mystery by Franck Muller
Exclusive timepieces made their way into the Metaverse, and the newest addition to the luxury watch community is the Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller. The new collection is a continuation of the brand’s journey in Web3 innovations and includes the one-of-a-kind artwork, Aoki Sloane.
The auction for Mystery by Franck Muller kicked off on 27 July. Franck Muller enthusiasts can find the NFTs on the Binance NFT marketplace, and the editions range from Normal, Rare, and Super Rare to Super Super Rare.
Included in the auction is the 1 of 1 timepiece created for Aoki. This beguiling piece of art comprises a sapphire crystal case to reveal its intricate skeletonised movement. The Mystery collection presents buyers with 15,000 unique mystery boxes, 10 physical timepieces, 3 private events, 1 factory tour in Genèva, 10 unique 3D wearables in Decentraland, and 5 different apple watch faces by Franck Muller.
✓ A Louis Vuitton Adventure
One of the most iconic names in luxury fashion launched its own NFT game last year. Louis Vuitton celebrated its bicentennial birthday in 2021, and to celebrate the momentous occasion, the team launched an NFT game titled Louis: The Game. Complete with its avatar and multiple locations, it presents players with an experiential digital game.
Players help the avatar, named Vivienne, on her quest while discovering NFTs throughout the game. These NFT postcards double as travel tickets in the game, and players visit exciting locations in iconic cities around the world. The updated version of the game offers players new locations and collectables that include excerpts from the novel Louis Vuitton, L’Audacieux. Thirty of the hidden NFTs are collectable and 10 of these come with the well-known influence of the major digital artist, Beeple.
✓ Burberry at the Blankos Block Party
The exclusive fashion house Burberry recently launched their second NFT collection in Mythical Games’ Blankos Block Party. With their first partnership, they featured digital vinyl toys as NFT collectables. Burberry was the first luxury brand to appear in Blankos Block Party with the Sharky B vinyl characters. Players could buy, upgrade, and sell the limited edition and limited-quantity NFTs in the Blankos Block Party marketplace.
The launch of the second Burberry Blanko in June this year included the opening of new spaces for the Blanko Block Party community. Players have bespoke social space in the game where they can come together for exclusive virtual experiences.
This year’s NFT collection displays Burberry’s new TB Summer monogram and a playful mythical creature, Minny B. Equipped with a spiral horn and white wings, the unicorn can fly and help players explore new spaces.
✓ Jacob & Co
The famed watchmaker Jacob & Co. converted its SF27 Tourbillon timepiece into an NFT. Watch collectors and digital art enthusiasts lined up for the chance to own the one-of-a-kind digital asset. It went on auction on the ArtGrails NFT platform and sold for $100,000. Known for exceptional pieces, Jacob & Co presents watches the world has never seen before.
The wearable art has high complications that captivate anyone who sees it, and the SF24 Tourbillon displays cryptocurrencies through a flap system. A completely new NFT collection from the company will launch soon. Each piece in the new Astronomia Metaverso collection is inspired by a different planet in our solar system and displays layers of watchmaking mastery and gemstones.
✓ Gucci Town and Aria
The luxury fashion house Gucci launched a fashion capital in the digital world of Roblox. Gucci fans who visit Gucci Town can enjoy digital activities like Gucci-inspired competitions and unique art exhibitions. The fashion capital offers players an exclusive shopping experience where they can purchase in-game Gucci pieces and dress their avatars.
Gucci is one of the more active brands in digital ownership, and its offers include a variety of collectables. The brand’s debut NFT was a short film titled Aria. Auctioned through Christie’s, Aria sold for $25,000 in June 2021, and Alessandro Michele created the four-minute-long video and co-directed it. Photographer Floria Sigismondi collaborated with Michele, who is the brand’s creative director.
✓ Jimmy Choo Hits the Streets
The high-fashion shoe brand ventured into the NFT world alongside the New York-based artist Eric Haze. Inspired by ultimate punk-glam, the designs showcased how luxury embraces the perfect imperfections of street art. The collection included a mystery box series and an exclusive auction. An exclusive prize of hand-painted sneakers went to the highest bidder.
One hundred lucky winners walked away with limited edition Jimmy Choo NFTs by collecting an SSR or SR NFT during the snapshot period of the auction. The mystery boxes were 8,888 NFT cards divided into four tiers of rarity, and each displayed different stilettos from the brand’s collection.
✓ Balmain on the Blockchain
Another luxury brand that embraced the potential of Web3 and blockchain exclusivity is Balmain. The high-fashion company boasts a couple of NFT collections, and one was in collaboration with the fitness brand, Dogpound. Owners of the NFTs received unique physical experiences, playing into the exclusivity of the brand.
Its first NFT was a design that embodied the advantage of digital fashion. The couture design by Rousteing was a high-fashion garment, complete with a dramatic hat and heels, engulfed in flames. One of the brand’s latest collections released in January saw a collaboration between Balmain and Barbie. It comprises a series of three Barbie avatars created in partnership with Forgot Me Not GMBH, and buyers received a physical Barbie as well.