French luxury fashion house, Ultra-Luxury, is now creating Non-Fungible Thread. This ecosystem is NFT-backed. Imagine fashionistas lining up in a glass dome. One is wearing an alien-green corset and the other, a furry, tight dress most likely made from Wild Thing fur. The structure changes as each person enters it.
The woman in the furry gown looks up at the massive display and sees her dress. She also receives an invitation to a talk with the designer of the dress later that day. The corset-wearing man sees his item on the same billboard. A flashing arrow points to an immersive cocktail experience that is only available to those who own the same collection. The corset and dress were digitally made until recent times, worn only by avatars in the Metaverse. After that, physical versions arrived in the mail along with an invitation to Balmain’s Festival at Paris Fashion Week.
To some, this premise may sound like science fiction.
James Sun, cofounder of MINTNFT, says that the firm was just given the task of designing Balmain’s NFT campaign. It’s a target for September.
Sun is trying to make the famous French fashion house a leader in the next age for NFTs/Web3 business. He is less concerned about NFT drops or huge swings in speculative trade and more focused on immersive experiences and long-term relationships.
Balmain knew that they could not go with OpenSea and Rarible [and] do a lot of drops. Sun said in an interview that it wouldn’t be unifying. They need a unified strategy.”
Sun believes that the solution to such a dilemma is what he and Balmain call the Non-Fungible Thread. This ecosystem of digital, physical and hybrid experiences has been built on Ripple’s XRP ledger and caters to Balmain’s elite clientele.
Every Balmain customer can join the Non-Fungible thread. The benefits of the Non-Fungible Thread are still being figured out. They may offer early access to product drops, access to exclusive physical and digital items, as well as invitations to events such as the Balmain Festival at Paris Fashion Week each September. These events could offer unique experiences for customers of Balmain, including a mix of NFT technology and augmented reality (AR), VR (virtual reality (VR), and physical space. Even though events may be entirely digital, Balmain is currently talking to four metaverse platforms (the ones that allow users to customize virtual land with experiences and games) in order to establish a digital footprint for the brand. (Sun refused to reveal the exact platforms.
Customers could have access to digitally unique items through physical ownership; conversely, digital fashion items might eventually give access to physical counterparts.
Sun stated that Balmain’s Web3 strategy was omnichannel. Fashion is a way to build an identity […], a persona, by collecting clothing lines. This is how we see it. Balmain is your opportunity to create your own experience.
Many luxury fashion brands have released NFT drops of unique digital fashion items in the past. An NFT digitally authenticated receipt that identifies a unique digital item and is verified by a blockchain platform.
Dolce & Gabbana was the headlines after it sold a single digital headpiece, The Doge Crown for a staggering $1.25million. Gucci bought an undisclosed quantity of virtual land in the decentralized blockchain metaverse The Sandbox to create themed experience for customers. There seems to be consensus within the rare ecosystem of luxury fashion that Web3 is the future or at least an important part.
Sun believes it is no accident that the high fashion industry has become one of the most important non-Web3 native industries to start taking blockchain networks seriously. Sun stated that the original NFT space was defined by scarcity and exclusivity […]. “High fashion is driven by the beat of creating long-term premium scarcity and collective experience.
Sun’s vision of a semi-metaversal, immersive, personalized, semi-physical paradise for customers to come to life will need to be negotiated. The limitations of the current technology are chief among them. Example: How can an event hall scan your coat to project your personalized billboard? Louis Vuitton has already integrated blockchain-based microchips in handbags to authenticate their uniqueness. But integrating that technology into instantaneous AR projections? These experiences can be viewed through AR glasses or your smartphone’s camera.
Interoperability is another issue. Many platforms are rushing to populate the metaverse as it begins to emerge. Each platform has its own visual style and code. A digital Balmain dress would theoretically be able to travel freely between the many “neighborhoods”, or platforms. However, it is currently impossible for any digital item to do so, since each “neighborhood” or platform would require that the item be made in its own style and code. Sun reports that MINTNFT and Balmain are working together with Forte , a gaming startup, to solve this problem. Forte raised $725,000,000 in late 2013 to address issues related to NFTs being integrated into gaming experiences.
Web3-native digital fashion companies are racing to be the first. These digital fashion start-ups like Digitalax, The Fabricant and dressX promise a truly decentralized, egalitarian space where small designers can win.
Sun’s talk about exclusive Fashion Week galas to collect ultra-luxury goods collectors clashes with this vision. Sun claims that the legitimacy of iconic brands such as Balmain is necessary to restore crypto to the masses in light of the recent and devastating downturn in the crypto market.
Sun stated that the average user only sees headlines and is like “Oh, no, I’m not going touch crypto anymore.” “So, in order to push that, they must get comfortable. Balmain will say, “You can trust this […] there’s legitimacy to that.”
Sun believes that legacy brands can lead the Web3 community through a Crypto Winter, and into an era in which NFTs become more to culture, commerce, and society than extremely-expensive status symbol: “NFT businesses that are speculation-first, will not make it through this winter. You’ll see the rise in quality projects that are focused on driving loyalty, utility and new value experiences.