As digital fashion has been expanding in the market over the last two years, so too has the interest grown in NFTs and the idea of digital garment ownership.
Karinna Grant and Marjorie Hernandez have been in the thick of it all. Grant first became familiar with digital assets through her company A Hot Second, which allows consumers to trade unloved physical garments for tokens that can be exchanged for digital fashion experiences. And, in 2018, with former ethereum cryptocurrency developer Fabian Vogelsteller, Hernandez started Lukso. The early sustainable blockchain company has developed multiple technologies that are now the foundation for today’s #DeFi protocols, crucial for smart contracts and cryptocurrency.
When Grant and Hernandez met at a circularity conference in September 2019, they realized they could combine forces and their shared frustrations with e-commerce to create The Dematerialised, a Web 3.0 digital department store for authenticated virtual goods. It launched in December 2020. Physical brands like Rebecca Minkoff and RTFKT have launched collections on the marketplace, as have digital brands like Mutani.
“Digital fashion is a win-win for everybody,” said Grant. “Whether you’re a collector, a creator, a retailer — there’s actually something in it that’s good for everybody.”
As a portion of NFT sales always go to the digital creator, NFTs can be very profitable for creators. Many are now prioritizing their contributions to the space.
Blockchain technology has become more prevalent as the fashion industry has battled with tracking supply chains across its production. But it has been even more useful, when it comes to digital garments and the sale of NFTs. “Blockchain technology can be used to empower, creating uniqueness in a digital realm,” said Hernandez. “That’s something that we couldn’t do before.”
Hernandez called the ability to create unique digital assets the most powerful use case for blockchain. That’s because anyone can now go to market with a brand that’s identified and recognizable to a blockchain, and start releasing goods. With blockchain, there is no risk of counterfeits, as the NFT’s are documented on the chain.
So far, The Dematerialised has launched womenswear, menswear and petwear, and it plans to launch additional categories next year. All of its collections have sold out within minutes, as the edits are small and focus on editorial quality.
“We are also looking at the post-purchase experience and how we can integrate IRL with URL through physical activations or pop-ups,” said Grant. “We just know that, when people have that penny-drop moment and have someone that walks them through a specific experience, it really helps with adoption.” Both founders said that, with enough voices, the digital fashion industry will only grow.