As the world’s leading art fair, Art Basel provides a unique glimpse into the trends that will be shaping the fashion industry in the coming year. Here are 3 key takeaways from this year’s event that will shape the future of fashion from luxury brands to independent labels.
Takeaway #1: Web3 and Crypto Markets are Separate Verticals.
Despite Negative Sentiment from the fallout of FTX, Art Basel was jam packed with innovators from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, & Adidas to Web3 native projects such as gmoney’s 9DCC, UNXD and MVFW announcements.
It was amazing to witness various brands blend technical invention with creative passion in order to propel the industry forward. Digital assets give fashion brands a way to engage their customers by offering rewards and exclusive content. While the Crypto markets have been impacted by the FTX collapse, it also serves as an impetus for the industry to develop underlying infrastructure, leading to more customer-friendly onboarding. For fashion brands, the utility and inherent value derived by Web3 infrastructure will be a key focus among smart projects in the immediate term.
In this near term, successful brands in Web3 have focused on the intrinsic value of the art form itself, as well as fostering a supportive community and enabling token-gated brand access. It’s the art, it’s the fashion that’s going to help regain the momentum for NFTs. While some members of the NFT and PFP collector community purchase assets to sell for profit, many luxury fashion and culture fans buy these collectibles mostly for enjoyment or loyalty to certain fashion brands. Ultimately, the success of NFT technology is not reliant on the success of cryptocurrencies, but rather on promises such as immersive experiences, digital ownership, customer rewards and more. If cryptocurrencies go to zero tomorrow, the capabilities of NFT technology remain.
Takeaway #2: Whether You're a Fashion Brand, Publication, Artist, or Creator the Underlying Principle of Ownership Should be a Guiding Force in your Strategy.
With the arrival of Web3, a new business model is being unlocked. Traditionally, brands have relied heavily on advertising and annuities to generate income, but they know that this isn’t enough to propel business growth in the long term. With stricter data privacy regulations on the horizon, brands will have a harder time than ever to reach their target audiences.
The arrival of Web3 means that businesses can now unlock new business models. Web3 has revolutionized how we think about ownership and how this directly affects brands. It is no longer “early” to explore––it has been proven that consumers can control parts of a brand, with brands still receiving paid distribution from within the same community. To be successful leveraging this model, brands must accept reduced control and ownership over certain aspects of their product or service to reap the rewards of an engaged customer base. By giving up control to customers and letting them be a part of the ecosystem, loyalty goes up, providing financial benefits for all parties involved.
Keith Grossman, current President of Time, discussed this topic at the MVFW event co-hosted by Megan Kaspar. According to Grossman, companies have been looking at consumers as “renters” with data ready to be exploited. It’s time we start asking the question of whether we want to be a renter or an owner of our data. NFT’s recent entrance into the online world allows consumers to not only gain from their subscriptions, but also control their data. Since Time’s launch of ‘Timepieces’ in September 2021, the NFT line has generated more than $10 million in profit with an additional $600,000 also generated for several charities.
Enough to say this thesis has been proven.
Takeaway #3: Art Basel was Prevalent with Innovators Building at the Intersection of Digital and Physical Fashion.
At Digital Twin Studios, we recognize the symbiotic relationship between digital and physical elements when it comes to fashion. Our inherent studio name, Digital Twin, is meant to evoke our mission of enhancing real world assets.
CEO of UNXD, Shashi Menon, discussed this concept extensively during the MVFW Future Heritage event that took place alongside the Art Basel week. UNXD has supported the infamous Collezione Genesi drop by D&G. This was the first luxury NFT collection that involved both digital and physical works. They are aiming for a ‘long term vision’ for the brand with digital rewards, memberships and loyalty opportunities tied inextricably to D&G’s physical clothing; essentially making them digital twins. This type of digital-physical synergy is a keystone of our strategy at Digital Twin Studios.
Photo Source: UNXD
Another incredible activation that took place at Art Basel Miami was between crypto natives gmoney & Snowfro. Gmoney is a highly regarded investor, builder, and influencer in the crypto space and the founder of 9DCC, a crypto-native luxury brand. Snowfro is an artist, coder, and digital creator who has been exploring how NFT technology can be used practically in the art sector. All of these explorations led to the creation of Art Blocks- a NFT platform for generative art.
The two creators set Art Basel as their stage for their “Iteration-02” drop. The physical tee associated with the collaboration was unlocked by minting and holding this NFT through a specified snapshot date. A Redemption Voucher was then airdropped after the snapshot date and used to claim the physical garment during Art Basel. As guests went to mint, they were verified by their token and allowed to press “MINT” on a screen. This created a one-of-one NFT using a 9dcc logo and a generative spectrum of attributes. Then, the NFT moved to a glass room where artisans created a one-of-a-kind t-shirt to commemorate the mint and included a Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) chip. As a result, fans engaged in the creation process from start to finish. With Art Basel as a backdrop, Snowfro and gmoney have created a testament to the way Web3 is changing the world.
What I found fascinating about this drop is how the scale of 1 physical garment can touch hundreds of people under gmoney’s ‘networked product’. During Art Basel, the 9dcc brand ran 2 simultaneous competitions concurrently where all collection one “IT-01” and collection two “IT-02” products contained near-field communication chips (NFCs) that enabled limited edition POAP’s to be distributed directly from the tap of a t-shirt. The underlying blockchain technology paired with NFC tags enables each t-shirt owner to effectively build out their own network within the 9dcc community by distributing POAPs from the t-shirt. With blockchain transparency, brands can determine who their most passionate members of the community are, while owners can reap loyalty rewards and build out their network.
This garment is not simply a piece of clothing with a logo; It becomes a way to verify the brand in new digital spaces, an ongoing communication channel between consumer and issuer, and something that is resistant to counterfeiting. Additionally, it provides a means for fair secondary exchange.