For its second season, NFT fashion and beauty event Crypto Fashion Week secured major brand partners.
Featuring its first makeup look minted into an NFT, NYX Professional Makeup served as the official beauty partner of the event that ran from September 10-17. Rebecca Minkoff also participated, with one of its NFT outfits featured. Since the first Crypto Fashion Week was held in February 2021, multiple mainstream fashion and beauty brands have joined the NFT wave. For brands, participation offers the chance to get in on NFTs’ hype and devoted community. Meanwhile, organizers are betting on a future where virtual fashion and beauty becomes mainstream.
“We know that the world is moving toward the metaverse,” said Lady PheOnix, founder of Crypto Fashion Week. “We know that everyone will have an avatar in the future. Those who want to be fashionable IRL also want to be fashionable in the metaverse.”
Organized by Lady PheOnix’s cryptomedia company Universe Contemporary, Crypto Fashion Week took place across Twitter Spaces, Twitch, YouTube and its own website. It featured livestreams, talks and NFT drops, and concluded with its own “Meta Gala” virtual fashion show livestreamed on Twitch and YouTube on September 17.
For the Meta Gala, NYX Professional Makeup unveiled its first NFT as part of the official “Meta Gala red carpet” event featuring virtual fashion and beauty looks. The NYX Cosmetics look was first created in real life by special-effects makeup artist Mimi Choi, with a digital version and avatar created via a hologram capture. A digital version of the makeup look was minted into an NFT in the format of an AR filter, which Meta Gala site visitors could enter to win in a giveaway. A digital version of Choi modeling the makeup look while wearing a Rebecca Minkoff outfit was featured in the fashion show.
Virtual makeup try-on is “an essential part of how we connect with our audience and bring makeup artistry to life,” said Yasmin Dastmalchi, gm of NYX Professional Makeup USA. The brand’s entire product portfolio is available for virtual try-on, and online shade-matching is available on its site. “For us, this is another way of connecting with our digitally native consumer base.”
Demand for virtual makeup has increased over the past two years, and especially during the pandemic with the lack of testers, said Dastmalchi. “I don’t think that will change as we continue to enter what our new normal is,” she said. “We have to continue to disrupt in this space.”
The fashion show also coincided with the start of a 24-hour virtual auction for NFTs of all of the looks featured in the fashion show alongside the NYX Cosmetics giveaway entry. Starting minimum bids for each look started at 1 ethereum, or US$3,377 at the time of filing this story. Within the first hour of the auction, one outfit already had a bid of 3 etherum, or over US$10,000.
While the NYX Cosmetics look will be part of a giveaway, beauty brands such as Nars and E.l.f. have sold NFTs via platforms including Bitski and Truesy that allow purchases of NFTs by credit card rather than cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, a handful of beauty brands allow people to order products on their sites with cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency is “something we’re still exploring,” said Dastmalchi.
Universe Contemporary also holds NFT events in art, music and sports, and was at the forefront of the astronomical rise of NFT art prices. The company’s Crypto Basel virtual art fair held in October 2020 featured the first-ever NFT artwork by artist Beeple. He later went on to viral fame when a work of his sold for $69 million at Christie’s in March 2021. As NFT art prices have reached astronomical levels in the past year, event organizers have similar hopes for fashion and beauty. The record Beeple sale was what catalyzed interest in NFTs among the general public and brands.
“The commentary that always comes up is, ‘This thing that I can click-right and save is now $69 million. How?” said Lady PheOnix. “That’s because they don’t really see the trend of the future moving toward digital. It’s also moving into digital ownership, collective ownership of digital assets, and a total creator economy that’s based on sovereignty and cooperation and community.”
In fashion and beauty, brands are looking at what they can do next after making a splash with their initial NFTs.
“As consumers continue to experiment with NFTs, we still have to define what it means for us in the future. But there is potential for NFTs to be a part of [our] activations and plans in the future,” said Dastmalchi.