By Thomas Kinnard
The fashion industry is currently worth approximately 1.7 trillion US Dollars with brands like Nike, Gucci and Louis Vuitton ranking as the highest brand value brands across the globe. But what does fashion have to do with crypto? Like many other industries, the fashion industry is branching out into the crypto sphere and forming partnerships within the crypto industry.
Many high-end fashion brands have recently started to dabble in the NFT world. While fashion and NFTs may seem worlds apart at face value, they both have the same fundamental core focus – rarity and status. The list of major fashion brands that have, in one way or another, become involved with NFTs has become quite impressive. With brands ranging from Gucci, Prada and even Burberry.
One of the first fashion brands to adopt NFTs was Swiss brand Philpp Plein who began accepting cryptocurrency as payment in 2021. The brand then branched out even further into the crypto industry in 2022 when it launched a concept store in London where consumers are offered NFTs representing the real-world items that they purchase in-store. This concept works well for designer brands because, in essence, both NFTs and designer fashion are considered a form of art. Designer Philip Plein explains that “it means that both are a way to express yourself or to express feelings or ideas” and adds that “if we’re adding luxury brands to the mix, NFTs become also a matter of status symbol”.
Alex Salnikov, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of community-centric NFT Marketplace Rarible, also believes that fashion and NFTs complement one another and create great potential for both industries when they collaborate. He mentions that “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”. He goes on to say that he believes “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”. This adds to the theory that rarity and artistic expression are two big areas of mutual inclusivity between the fashion industry and NFTs.
Not only are fashion brands getting involved in NFTs, but there has also been a shift towards experimenting with metaverse platforms. The metaverse provides a space that offers brands opportunities to build a stream of revenue through new products. With market leaders such as Dolce & Gabana, DKNY, Paco Rabanne and Tommy Hilfiger taking part in the Metaverse Fashion Week hosted by 3D virtual world browser-based platform, Decentralnd. Philpp Plein has also hopped onto the metaverse trend by purchasing Land in Decentraland for more than 1.5 million Euros, dubbing it the “PLEIN PLAZA”. Plein mentions that they have been developing the land ever since and that they even hosted a fashion show there during Milan fashion week.
NFT vs Crypto: Related But Different
Both cryptocurrency and NFTs use blockchain transactions to prove that they are real and keep track of who owns them. Most of the time, you need cryptocurrency to buy NFTs.
The biggest difference is that cryptocurrency’s value is based on how useful it is as a currency or an investment. On the other hand, NFTs have both economic value and value outside of the economy. For example, artists can use NFTs to share, sell, and even sign their work, which an investor or collector could then buy with cryptocurrency.
Now, a major advantage of these collaborations between the fashion industry and the crypto industry is that the fashion industry adopting cryptocurrency has allowed it to attract a new target market of people who may not have otherwise spent money on certain brands. Thanks to the rise of automation in crypto, we no longer need to worry about these users experiencing difficulty entering the cryptocurrency market. Bitcode Prime, for example, allows users to trade without having any prior experience.
The market is literally open to any user who is interested in investing, whether it be the fashion industry bringing new people to the cryptocurrency trading world or the NFT industry and other potential collaborations.