Prada, Jason Wu and Gucci too. Major luxury brands are offering NFT holders exclusive access to fashion shows and events – a practice called “token-gate” that could transform the front row and serve as a new velvet rope.
Ariani CEO Pierre-Nicolas Harstel said: “Additional and token-based experiences will be central to 2023.”
For the past several seasons, Ariani has hosted NFTs for Paris Fashion Week in conjunction with official recognitions.
Prada and Jason Wu have already added September Fashion Week tickets to their brands; Gucci held a private cocktail party in New York last June for owners of SuperGucci and Gucci Grail NFTs.
Ariane has previously worked with IWC Watches and YSL, and is currently working with several brands creating unique experiences that will take place during the upcoming Fashion Weeks in September or January.
Brands are looking at what they can do during PFW using the official NFTs. “This opens up amazing possibilities, and it creates a foundation, an asset, an experience for the brand,” Hurstel said.
As PFW audiences build their wallets from season to season and the years of check-ins that go along with it, brands can choose communities of people and offer them token-owned experiences – aka “parties” in common parlance. Brands can also see a social graph of who attended past events, and have proof that guests were there.
The data can help brands quickly scale their NFT programs as they figure out how to bridge the gap between the Internet and IRL. Also, pairing NFT with an event is a way to “cut through the noise” when a new collection or collaboration is announced every day, Hurstel said.
“Brands need to navigate the journey between current market incentives, real utility, and NFT purpose and loyalty. Because images on the Internet, jpegs, are one thing, but if it leads to a physical item, that’s where the opportunity lies,” said the CW8 communications chief. Executive director Sean Pattwell advises luxury brands on NFT and Web3 strategy. Desirable items are one value-add, and desirable invitations are another.
“If you have an NFT and it gives you some level of access to experience and community, that’s amazing,” Patwell said.
Traditionally the fashion industry has been exclusive, with shows open only to insiders, although there has been a big shift in the guest list. Horstell pointed out that the brands they work with used to be 10 percent consumer-driven, and now 80 percent are consumer-driven as the number of industry buyers has declined. They’ve been replaced by influencers and celebrities livestreaming, and runways are made for Instagram.
NFT access could be the next step in that evolution.
“Opening experiences like this are very exciting. It’s a way to create something meaningful for your key consumers and connect with new audiences,” Patwell said. “A lot of people in the crypto world, they’re new to the network and they have new resources, and they want to be able to mine them. Being able to learn about the fashion industry, whether it’s attending a party or going to a fashion show or being invited to a digital experience – that’s cool and creative and completely different.
Brands focus on building community and value for consumers.
There is going to be a competition between different brands to define what their community is, what their community stands for and what its aims and objectives are. Over the next couple of months, you’ll see more and more brands explaining the benefits of owning one of their NFTs.
Token-gating may become the new normal — at least until NFTs are widely accepted and have their own value as collectibles, Harstell said. “This is a good way to provide value, and you have to compensate for not getting the maximum value from NFT today because the infrastructure and the use agent are fully developed and decentralized. So you have to compensate by providing benefits.
Hurstel predicts that the market will change rapidly as it progresses, from a difficult crypto wallet to one accessible to the average consumer. “What will change dramatically over the next 24 months is the level of user interface so that anyone can own NFTs,” he said.
While this winter has been the “Creto winter” of falling prices, lost value and well-known wallet thefts, luxury brands are still betting on the future.
“Fashion brands are not looking at this from the value of crypto, they’re just looking at this as a new way to engage with new audiences and what kind of community they want to build,” Patwell said. “You can focus on NFT, but it’s not really about NFT, it’s about the community and the community is where everything happens.”
“If you don’t grow and build a digital community and continue to engage with them and bring them the things they want, they will lose interest and abandon ship,” he said. “Therefore, it is very important for any brand to think about the sustainability of its name. It cannot be one and done.
Leave a Reply