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What This NYFW Means for the Future of Web3 in Fashion

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Getty Images / from Kim Shui's NYFW show

Amid the headlines of celebrities who walked for fashion week, emerging trends and more, one of the most interesting aspects of this week's shows was the burgeoning integration of web3 technology into the contemporary fashion landscape. Numerous brands had different approaches to the evolution; some designers presented their show in a metaverse in addition to a physical world while some token-gated physical shows. While everyone's approach was different, all of the practices demonstrate an evolution in fashion that won't be slowing down any time soon.

The Tommy Hilfiger Show

Amid a bit of a resurgence for the brand, the Tommy Hilfiger show was one of the most hyped presentations of this NYFW. Aside from the design (which showcased a lot of the brand's eclectic and evolving history), one of the other major steps from the longstanding label was their choice to present the show both physically and digitally.

The choice to present the showcase in Roblox—in addition to the traditional show—opens up an avenue for people to consume fashion week in a less exclusive way. Exclusivity has been a core tenet of high fashion for decades; the metaverse is demonstrating another avenue for people to enjoy design without leaving anyone out.

Alo Yoga

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Getty Images

Alo had one of the most ambitious web3 initiatives at NYFW, presenting their apparel collection equipped with an NFT authenticator. They partnered with MoonPay to mint and distribute the authenticity certificates for the collection.

“Our mission at Alo is to bring mindfulness and mindful movement to the world. Our pillars have always been focused not only on wellness but on building community,” Alo’s vice president and head of marketing, Angelic Vendette, said in an interview with Boardroom, adding: “As we’re forward-thinking and looking to how we meet our community where they are, obviously Web3 and the metaverse are a huge part of that.”

In the same Boardroom article, MoonPay CEO Ivan Soto-Wright explained: “Web3 enhances the ability of brands to protect their identities and offers new ways to foster loyalty and growth strategies. Our partnership with Alo Yoga marks another step in ensuring fashion is ready to usher in a new and exciting digital and physical fashion era. This is a game-changer for fashion and will radically change both brand and consumer behavior moving forward.”

The Nolcha Shows: Web3 Edition

Nolcha Shows has been presenting at NYFW for 14 years now, and this year's iteration incorporated a myriad of elements of web3 tech into the expansive two-day experience. The event included traditional runway shows, a showcase of sustainable fashion brands, and then a "Ones to Watch" event, featuring ChainGuardians. The blockchain gaming giant presented a multi-pronged showcase, including a virtual and real trip down the catwalk and into the metaverse.

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Courtesy of ChainGuardians

The presentations unveiled their Meta Street Wear collection, inspired by the ChainGuardians Superheroes. Attendees were able to view the collection with virtual-reality and augmented-reality technology, plus they presented a formal runway show highlighting the Meta Street Wear collection; owners of the limited-edition pieces can prove ownership with an NFT, via NFC technology.

Kim Shui

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Getty Images

Designer Kim Shui revealed a few ways to integrate the capabilities of new technology into her NYFW show. One was by crowdsourcing digital imagery from nearly 700 participants to concoct a dress for her presentation. After the dress was displayed at her runway show, a photograph of the dress will be minted and distributed to all of the contributors to the multi-pixel design.

The second was by token-gating the show and allowing some attendees to be granted attendance by purchasing an NFT beforehand. More on that in a second.

Token-Gated Shows

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Getty Images

In the spirit of loosening the exclusivity of fashion week, a few designers minted NFT "keys" before NYFW granting access to some spectacular runway shows. Shows like this have long only been accessible to buyers, editors and PR people, but this opened up an avenue for anyone who copped the NFT to attend. Five designers—Altu by Altuzarra, Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui, AnOnlyChild and The Blonds—each minted 50 keys for $100, granting attendance to their NYFW shows.

To Web3 advisor Jenny Wang contributed to the project, and told Vogue Business: “Fashion week has always been a walled garden that is difficult to access, and Web3 can be a democratizing force. I think Web3 changes the way consumers and brands connect. It changes the relationship.”

Some final thoughts:

The 2022 NYFW was by no means a full demonstration of how web3 tech can be integrated into fashion. This was just a taste of the many ways in which we'll continue to see the tech trickle into the mainstream. NFC chips to document ownership of physical items, augmented reality try on experiences and more democratized design are all on the horizon.

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