When the artwork "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" by the American artist Beeple was auctioned at Christie's in London for $ 69.3 million in March, the art world held its breath.

Digital works linked to an NFT token, a non-fungible token that digitally protects the rights to the work of art, have been around for a long time, but “Everydays” hit a record price.

Christie's was the first auction house to open up to the crypto market - and started a transformation that also affects the fashion industry.

Kevin Hanschke

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Just as Christie's pioneered the art world, fashion brands and luxury corporations have discovered the new digital markets that use blockchain and NFT technology.

It may be a revolution that will change the fashion business forever.

Because labels can now offer digital fashion themselves, based on NFT technologies.

And big brands can use digital technologies to create transparency in production and sales processes.

A collection that has been completely relocated to the Internet

The RTFKT label from Paris shows how this abstract technology works. The artist Eugal Odrani, the illustrator Brock Hofer and the animator Eric Leforet have joined forces in RTFKT. The three founders come from the gamer scene and are therefore unusual fashion designers. Their designs only exist in the digital sphere. RTFKT manufactures, among other things, NFT sneakers, digital designer sneakers that are encrypted using NFT technology. A file and a design form a unique piece. In just seven minutes after the launch, they sold such an NFT sneaker collection, around 600 pairs of virtual shoes, for more than $ 3.1 million. To do this, they work with fashion labels such as the small Parisian brand Crypto, which has designed a digital sneaker. Jackets, shirts,Pants and accessories are in the works, so a collection that is completely relocated to the Internet.

In April, the virtual fashion brand sold a digital jacket with NFT tokens for more than $ 100,000.

The label has a decentralized structure.

RTFKT has an office in Paris, but the designs are created in cooperation with artists, graphic designers and programmers from all over the world.

The history of the NFT labels has only just begun.

Our ego expands through the digital sphere

The Fabricant was founded in Amsterdam in 2019. At the beginning of June, Gucci auctioned a four-minute video clip inspired by the fall-winter collection “Aria” 2021 at Christie's: offered for 20,000, sold for 25,000 dollars - a record for such a video file. Dolce & Gabbana designed a sneaker with NBA star PJ Tucker and is working with digital platform UNDX on a complete NFT collection. The Fabricant also collaborated with Buffalo London to design a platform sneaker that was sold on the Async Art blockchain platform.

In contrast to analogue fashion, the sneakers are offered as "NFT layers"; composition and colors are variable.

Five components can be added, three design options are available.

It's not just about owning collectibles, but also about collective creativity, say the makers.

“Collecting is a basic human need, even in the digital age.

Today we collect files, including fashion items, ”RTFKT said.

“Some NFTs can be used in gaming, for example, as fashion pieces for avatars.

Our self and what defines our fashion industry are expanding through the digital sphere. "

Blockchain for more sustainability

The blockchain consortium “Aura”, founded in April by LVMH, Prada, Cartier and Richemont, is of a different size. The project aims to find solutions for the fashion industry of the future. The joint development of software and hardware should save money and create synergies. Daniela Ott from Germany has been leading the consortium based in Paris and Geneva since this year. "Fashion and luxury overlap with other cultural areas - gaming, pop music or art," says Ott. The first result: the “Aura” blockchain, with which customers can track supply chains and digitally secure their clothes, bags and watches. “We want to make it clear how the digital world can expand fashion. It's not just about collecting, but also about the experience that comes with it. "

Information about the production process, the origin of the processed materials and certificates of authenticity are stored in the “Aura” blockchain. This means that the counterfeits that are widespread in luxury fashion can be recognized digitally. Corporations like LVMH spend millions of euros annually on lawsuits and lawyers for copyright infringement and bootlegging crimes. It is also about understanding the product history. NFT solutions for the members of “Aura” are also to be programmed. With other brands we talk about cooperation. “We want to give customers transparency and help make the fashion industry safer and fairer,” says Ott.

In particular, the LVMH group, which set up a blockchain team in 2018, pushed the joint technology forward.

The consortium members have equal rights and decide for themselves which information is provided to customers via blockchain technology.

“The cooperation is necessary in order to master the challenges of the digital age,” says Daniela Ott.

The blockchain is an opportunity to build trust and contribute to more sustainability.

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