Living in the digital era, it's hard to escape the buzz surrounding NFTs. They're everywhere, from social media to news stories, capturing our attention with investments, celebrity endorsements, outrageous projects, and controversies. But what exactly is an NFT and how does it influence the fashion industry?
Let’s start with a basic understanding of what an NFT is.
At its core, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) represents ownership or proof of authenticity of a unique digital item or piece of content. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which are interchangeable, NFTs are distinct and cannot be exchanged on a one-to-one basis. Each NFT possesses its own set of characteristics, making it one-of-a-kind.
Make sense? Erm, kind of. But why the hype and how have NFTs entered the streetwear arena?
This emerging trend looks to push the boundaries of the real world. Because of virtual reality, digital clothing has evolved significantly and there is a need to own exclusive garments. The role of fashion in self-expression is significant, and as more individuals give their time to the online realm, it becomes natural for them to infuse these attributes into their digital personas. In the virtual world, millions of users have the freedom to explore diverse fashion and styles, surpassing the limitations of the real-world fashion industry.
Various virtual worlds such as the metaverse, present fresh avenues for fashion enterprises to generate revenue. They can supply branded digital clothing or fashion NFTs, resulting in enhanced brand loyalty, particularly among Gen Z. This shift is what is promoting the success of NFTs in fashion.
Where’s the connection between NFTs and streetwear?
The first NFT was created in 2014, but it didn't become widely known until 2017 when cryptocurrency platforms became popular. Since then, NFTs have grown significantly and become a sought-after market.
When comparing NFTs to the fashion world, especially streetwear, we can see a strong connection. In fact, we can say they are closely related and influence each other. RTFKT, for example, explicitly states their goal of blending streetwear and gaming culture through their digital artworks. Even without much knowledge, it's easy to see similarities between streetwear and NFTs.
It was inevitable that NFTs would be used creatively in the world of streetwear. These technologies bring fresh possibilities for customer engagement and revenue generation. According to Nonfungible.com and L'atelier, the NFT market experienced an astounding growth of 21,000%, reaching $17.6 billion in late 2021 compared to $82 million the previous year, reflecting a surge in overall interest. Team that with the multi-billion-dollar streetwear market and you’d be a fool to ignore the possibilities.
So, who’s killing it and reaping the benefits of NFTs in fashion?
Bored Ape Yacht Club
In 2021, The Bored Ape Yacht Club collaborated with the renowned streetwear brand, The Hundreds, and emerged as one of the major NFT x Streetwear projects. The partnership cleverly highlighted the convergence of both brands by layering their logos.
Continuing in 2021, Adidas made a decisive move to enter the virtual world of NFTs. In this monumental step, they joined forces with the Bored Ape Yacht Club, forming a promising partnership that guaranteed an extraordinary artistic journey.
What does the future hold for streetwear NFTs?
Cryptocurrency, by its very nature, is known for its volatility. NFTs, in particular, have experienced significant fluctuations in value within a short span of time, making their price trends highly unpredictable. Most recently, Justin Bieber’s Bored Ape lost more than $1.2 million in value.
As a result, striking a better balance between marketing and the artistic experience has become crucial. In a saturated market, only artists who dare to challenge the status quo will manage to stand out.
Ultimately, the future remains uncertain. Numerous new trends are emerging, any one of which could catapult NFTs to new heights. Whilst some still revel in the initial excitement, a time will come when things settle down. As the focus shifts from maximising profits, the true potential of NFTs will finally come to the forefront.
To round it off, the final question has to be... will FRADIMÉ create its own NFT?
Simple. We never say never.