2021 was notably-named the Year of Digital Fashion and NFTs. And with good reason. As with most other industries, NFTs have catapulted the fashion industry into a new digital age. Luxury fashion brands and major fashion houses are releasing new NFT drops on a continual basis. This article presents a timeline of digital fashion innovation and showcases how fashion brands are successfully utilizing NFTs.
January 2021: Auroboros x Drest Collaboration
Auroboros, a fashion house creating virtual garments inspired by biomimicry, released a digital-only couture collection on Drest, a fashion styling game. While not technically an NFT, this is an early example of how fashion designers are showcasing digital wearables. Auroboros is now accepting sign-ups for upcoming NFT drops.
February 2021: RTFKT Studios Generates Over $3MM Selling Virtual Shoes
Digital fashion brand RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) made history by partnering with 18-year-old crypto artist Fewocious in a virtual NFT drop that generated over $3 million in under 7 minutes. RTFKT and Fewocious created three virtual sneakers. Potential bidders could “try on” the shoes via Snapchat before bidding on them. The winning bidder also received the physical sneaker.
March 2021: Zuzana Bastian Débuts Virtual Jewelry as NFTs
JEVELS (the “v” stands for “virtual”) is a NFT Ethereum platform for virtual jewelry and fashion accessories to be collected and worn virtually. Each piece of wearable art is available as an NFT that can be worn in augmented and virtual reality.
April 2021: Overpriced.™ Sells an NFT-Wearable Hoodie
High-end streetwear label Overpriced, a brand that creates “fashion for the crypto generation,” sold an NFT-linked hoodie for $26,000. The virtual hoodie was sold on the digital art marketplace Blockparty.co to an anonymous buyer who can “wear” the digital sweatshirt by scanning a unique V-code. Owning the NFT grants unlimited physical replacement hoodies. “If at any point the hoodie is lost, stolen, damaged, or sold, the V-codes can be invalidated and a new hoodie will be shipped to the new owner’s address of choice, thus becoming the new authentic piece,” explained Overpriced.
May 2021: Gucci’s NFT-Film: Aria
Gucci was one of the first luxury fashion houses to enter the NFT world. To celebrate its landmark 100-year anniversary, Gucci created a NFT-film inspired by its Aria collection. The four-minute short film was auctioned at Christie’s and was sold for $25,000 – the proceeds were donated to UNICEF to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts.
June 2021: Paris Fashion Week Introduced NFTs
The French Fashion and Haute Couture Federation and Arianee, a NFT platform for luxury and fashion industries, collaborated to offer NFTs to guests at Paris’s spring/summer 2022 menswear shows and haute couture shows.
July 2021: ASICS Releases Digital Shoes
ASICS became the first major sporting goods company to digitize copies of some of its most popular shoes. ASICS presented the NFT collection as a “celebration of sports and the inception of an idea to connect physical and digital activity.” Proceeds from the collection were used to create the ASICS Digital Goods Artist-in-Residence Program, an opportunity for digital artists to partner with and receive direct investment from ASICS to design digital goods that inspire physical activity.
August 2021: Burberry Blankos NFT
Burberry collaborated with Mythical Games’ multiplayer game Blankos Block Party to launch its own NFT. The game features digital toys called Blankos that live on the blockchain and offers NFT accessories that can be purchased to adorn any Blanko in the game. Burberry also created its own limited-edition vinyl NFT toy called Sharky B. Burberry is the first luxury brand to make its debut in the game.
September 2021: Dolce & Gabbana Breaks Record For Most Expensive Fashion NFT
D&G launched a 9-piece NFT collection during Venice Fashion Week. The NFTs auctioned for $5.56 million. Buyers of each NFT received not only the NFT but the physical versions of the items and exclusive access to D&G events.
October 2021: Ray-Ban Launches NFT Eyewear
In collaboration with artist Oliver Latta, Ray-Ban launched the first-ever NFT Aviator glasses. The company described the NTF as “a unique virtual product that will create an unparalleled brand experience, that will once again allow our brand lovers to express their uniqueness.”
November 2021: Patek Philips Nautilus 5711/1A-010 NFT
This discontinued model is one of the hardest watches to get your hands on. The NFT version was valued at $120,000 and split into 1000 fractions with 920 of them up for sale. The token was created by SM-ART in partnership with a private collector in the Middle East.
December 2021: Nike Acquires RTFKT Studios
Nike acquired RTFKT Studios (the digital fashion company that generated over $3 million selling virtual sneakers). “This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” says John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. RTFKT was valued at $33 million at the time of the acquisition.
January 2022: Barbie x Balmain Collection
Balmain and Mattel collaborated and created three virtual Barbie and Ken dolls decked out in Balmain prints and silhouettes. The digital outfits were sold with the physical garments on Balmain’s webstore. All the winning bids of the dolls surpassed the prices of the actual ready-to-wear pieces.
February 2022: SUPERGUCCI
Gucci and SUPERPLASTIC, creator of limited-edition animated celebrities, vinyl toys, and digital collectibles unveiled SUPERGUCCI, a limited series of CryptoJanky NFTs and handmade ceramic sculptures.
March 2022: Metaverse Fashion Week
Inspired by New York Fashion Week, Metaverse Fashion Week was a first-of-its kind metaverse event showcasing digital clothes and accessories. The four-day event was hosted on Decentraland and featured fashion shows, galleries and brand-hosted panels. Vogue emphasized, “the entire experience was blockchain-based, created on land sold as NFTs and digital fashion bought and worn as NFTs.”
April 2022: Paris NFT Day
As part of Paris Blockchain Week, Paris NFT Day was the first European event centered around blockchain, crypto, and NFTs. Representatives from fashion brands and tech companies attended the event and discussed some of the fashion industry’s biggest NFT projects to date and the future of luxury brands and NFTs.
As you can see, the fashion industry has fully embraced NFTs and the market for virtual fashion and crypto clothing is rapidly growing. Fashion brands are progressively utilizing NFTs and blockchain technology to attract, verify and connect with customers from all over the world. What’s your take on NFTs and the fashion industry? Engage with the Ingram NFT Newsroom where we discuss new developments surrounding NFTs weekly.