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gmoney Talks the Genesis of 9dcc, the Influence of Margiela and the Future of Web3 Fashion

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In a lot of ways, 2021 and the proliferation of PFP projects and other generative forms of NFT projects were a bit of a test of the potential of the technology. The art world became the first lab for experimentation, but as gmoney put it in our conversation about his web3 luxury fashion house: “We live in a world of NFTs. We just don't call them NFTs.”

What he means is that we’ve constantly wanted to be able to formalize ownership of items in some sort of documentable, unalterable way. This use case makes the most sense with fashion, a world long punctuated by documenting ownership and the importance of authenticity. Earlier this year, gmoney launched 9dcc, a web3 luxury fashion house embodying so much of the burgeoning world of fashion imbued with new and exciting technology. Those who purchased the brand’s inaugural collection (ITERATION-01) are starting to receive their pieces now; so we took some time to talk about the genesis of the brand, gmoney’s entrance into the style landscape and the future of digital fashion.

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Gmoney is an entrepreneur in the purest form of the word. Even his moniker was derived from a nascent entrepreneurial practice; in middle school he would burn CD mixtapes for other students—one of his first hustles.

“My name begins with a G and it's a very Latin name that, growing up in suburbia in America—outside of New York City—not a lot of people could pronounce it. People started calling me G Man, G Unit, G Money. G everything. And G Money is one that just really stuck, because I always had some sort of hustle going on, finding ways to make money."

We talk a bit about how, despite the culture always existing, sneaker flipping and the current hype marketplace didn’t really establish itself until the 2000s. Gmoney tells me how it existed less when he was growing up in the 80s and 90s, but “if it did, it's definitely something I would've done.”

Throughout his career, he spent a lot of time in more traditional trading, and often made his decisions around consumer behavior and trends: “I think I've always had an eye for consumer trends, especially in the consumer discretionary market. And I think living in New York City, even if you don't think you're into fashion, you are.” One of his first fashion investments was True Religion, which was on the way up in that era—and actually is having a resurgence again right now.

In addition to G’s entrepreneurial influences, he also has a family tie to the luxury industry: “My father had a bespoke luxury business in which he would manufacture very limited items per year for really high end clientele. And so that was the family business that I grew up around. And I was originally going to take it over, but it just wasn't necessarily scalable without him, which is why it ultimately didn't pan out. But I always understood the craftsmanship and attention to detail because that was what my dad lived for pretty much my entire life.”

9dcc on the horizon

Fast forward to 2020 and the dawning of the NFT era: “I wanted to do something in fashion from the second I entered into the NFT space. I actually remember one of my first conversations with Pranksy in late 2020. I paid him for five hours of his time because I just wanted to learn about the space and he was one of the experts. We talked and the first time I spoke, I told him I wanted to start a fashion brand for the Metaverse. We talked about it, and ultimately I decided—and he agreed—it was too early.

"Nobody's hanging out in the metaverse. So who's gonna be buying clothes in the metaverse right now? So I decided, this is something I can come back to."

As the art market was clearly becoming the first industry to be disrupted by NFTs, gmoney put the fashion idea on the back burner:

"I focused as a collector and building my brand. But I always—from when I initially got into the space—really wanted to start a fashion brand in the Metaverse. Because I figured that wearables would become a thing."

He tells me a story about seeing a friend’s nephew playing Fortnite and purchasing skins for the game: “I knew that this was gonna be a category long term, because that kid was going to want to spend money on digital products. And with verified scarcity, that to me was the thesis.”

IT 01 by 9dcc HERO
9dcc

And then: “I started speaking with Adidas in April of 2021.”

This kickstarted 9dcc: “When we did that drop, I finally turned to my team and said, ‘Okay, now we're ready. Now is the time. Mass adoption is coming, sooner rather than later. And I want to be building something that I think will be pioneering in the space for things that I personally want to see as a consumer that I don't see a solution for just yet.”

Thus, they started working on 9dcc.

The influence of Maison Margiela

I was curious to hear a bit about gmoney’s inspirations for the collection and brand from the traditional fashion world, and he had a really wonderful answer:

“One of the shows that really stuck out to me was Margiela’s 1989 show. One, he was an amazing designer, but he also really understood the essence of community. We’re talking about fashion, 20, 30 years ago. Especially when you look at fashion back then compared to fashion now, it was obviously much more exclusive because you didn't have Instagram and you didn't have all these social media accounts.

"You had to be part of the club. And one of the amazing things he did was, he did his fashion show in this playground in the outskirts of Paris. And he included the community. The kids that actually played in that playground were part of that show.

"And he made it accessible to anyone. You didn’t have to have this invitation to the show and this very posh fashion experience. It was the exact opposite of that, which I thought was pretty incredible because that just reminds me of what's kind of going on with web3, not just in fashion, but in every space.

"All of a sudden, you're kind of tearing down those walls and you're making the community now be part of the process. That is what I find the most interesting. 

I think Margiela, besides being an incredible designer, also really understood that community aspect better than a lot of people before him."

9dcc keyasset
Shot by Justin Aversano for 9dcc

What's exciting about the future of web3 fashion?

"I think there are two really interesting things here. One is obviously the proof of authenticity that travels with the garment. Now, if you and I are involved in a peer to peer transaction, you don't need to necessarily go to an expert to say, 'This is definitely the shirt. This is the type of stitching that they use and this is the machine that was used on it.' And that lowers the cost of the transaction in the sense that you can literally just scan the tag and say, ‘Oh yeah, this is the wallet.’

"But then two, and this is kind of what I really think sneaker culture and current fashion heads could find very interesting and maybe they don't realize it yet. You can store it in a centralized location.

"Like 4k, who's our vaulting partner. You can now use that as collateral in defi protocols. And so you're talking about people that probably have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory sitting at home in their closets that they know they're not gonna wear.

"That is dead stock that is definitely sitting there. They're never gonna wear it. At some point, they plan on or hope to sell it for a profit in the future. They don't have access to that capital, right now. In order for them to get access to that capital, they have to sell the product with a high transaction cost.

"What if they could store that in a centralized facility that can then offer an NFT that they can then use as collateral on an NFT lending protocol? I think you're going to just see the rise of sneaker lenders or fashion lenders, as a category, as an asset class.

"Oh yeah, a YZY sneaker is worth a thousand bucks. I want to get a $200 loan against it. I don't necessarily want to sell the sneaker, but I do want to unlock some capital. 

"Because we all know the collectibility of a piece made by Virgil, or a special piece made by Margiela that holds high regard in certain circles. And now you have access to this extra financing technique and access to 24/7 global liquidity.

"This is useful tech. That's part of what is a more compelling conversation to have than just like, Hey, look at this picture. Look at this jpeg and it's selling for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The future of 9dcc

"ITERATION-02 is going to be a collab with a crypto native artist. I’m really excited about it. I think it will be really dope and people are gonna be excited about it. 

"The most exciting stuff really is the future use cases of the tech and the cool things that we're going to be able to do. The real fun starts once the product is being delivered to people. I wanted to make an aesthetic that I would be happy to wear, which I’ve done. I can't wait to wear this shirt out in the wild. Once I get that out into the wild, how can we start really having fun with it and building community in the real world?

That's what I'm most excited for."

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