Luxury fashion has long been touted as a major web3 use case. gmoney's 9dcc fashion house is the first of its kind, a fully web3-native brand aiming to reinvent the luxury fashion sector. “Our team is eager to inspire other luxury houses to create networked products that retain connection, value, and utility,” he explains to Culture3.
In the midst of a broader market downturn, one sector of web3 has continued to show significant growth and promise: luxury fashion. For a long time espoused as a particularly viable web3 use case, luxury fashion houses have embraced web3 with open arms over the last twelve months, catapulting it further into the cultural zeitgeist. Gucci has rendered cryptocurrency an acceptable form of payment, Prada is offering digital twins alongside the purchase of physical items, and Dolce & Gabbana’s experiments with NFTs have generated over $23 million in revenue.
Yet though legacy luxury brands are lauded as stewards of innovation, the praise is misplaced. Rather, these new ideas are the product of hundreds of web3-native fashion designers, creators, and technological innovators who continue to push boundaries.
Renowned NFT thought leader gmoney is looking to change that. A significant advocate for corporate web3 adoption, gmoney made his first entrance into web3 fashion driving a collaboration with Adidas, Punks Comic, and the Bored Ape Yacht Club. With past learnings in hand, he has set his sights on a crypto-native fashion label of his own, that he hopes will embody a new canvas for the luxury sector: 9dcc.
Combining the use of high-quality materials, craftsmanship, and forward-thinking technology, 9dcc plans to redefine the way we interact through fashion. The brand's debut creation, ITERATION-01, embodies these values to a tee (no pun intended). Deceptively simple, the black t-shirt is an innovative experiment infused with technological utility, and a high-stakes prediction for how web3 will reinvent luxury fashion; the sector was worth $100bn, globally, last year. gmoney explains that “to me, the luxury category of web3 implies an elite exclusivity similar to the fashion universe – making this first drop a major test to how I think luxury fashion will operate in the coming future.”
Modelled by big names in web3 culture, including NFT film-maker Julie Pacino and the artist ThankYouX, the multi-stage drop was structured around the release of two separate NFTs: the Looks NFT and a digital twin ‘Voucher’ NFT.
A play on the traditional fashion lookbook, NFT in the Looks collection each represent one of the six available sizes (from XS to XXL), visually distinguished by photos from the lookbook shot by Justin Aversano, the web3 photographer and founder of Quantum Art, the curated NFT platform. After acquiring the Looks NFT of the desired size attribute, all holders will be airdropped a separate digital twin voucher, an NFT representing their right to the physical IT-01 tee itself.
From there, the choice is up to the holder: wear it, vault it, or resell it. Voucher NFTs can either be redeemed for the physical product, traded on the secondary marketplace, or held as a digital asset, leaving the physical tee untouched and securely vaulted to be redeemed at a later date. Powered by 4k, a protocol that verifies the authenticity of physical assets stored on chain, a team of storage providers and asset authenticators will safely store and guarantee a permanent one-to-one relationship between the physical item and the NFT.
But what’s most fascinating about ITERATION-01 is the technology behind it. IT-01 is only the first of many 'networked products', a term trademarked by 9dcc to represent clothing items connected to NFTs. In partnership with IYK, the consumer tech company, all IT-01 tees are outfitted with NFC chips that tokenise the physical t-shirt on chain, verifying authenticity and ownership. Leveraging this direct connection to their customers, 9dcc plans to elevate the consumer-brand relationship through additional digital offerings and physical experiences, and plot the future path for luxury fashion.
“Our team is eager to inspire other luxury houses to create networked products that retain connection, value, and utility – not just as proof of authenticity.”
“IT-01 instills a community that is interactive and loyal to the brands they choose to support,” says gmoney, adding that “our team is eager to inspire other luxury houses to embrace web3 technology and culture to reinvent the purchasing of their items, and create networked products that retain connection, value, and utility – not just as proof of authenticity or gift-with-purchase.”
Bringing physical assets on chain opens up a range of adjacent opportunities both within and beyond the consumer-brand relationship. Given the importance of the secondary fashion market, for luxury brands as well as others, digital representations of physical assets can help fashion companies seamlessly facilitate transactions and track items. StockX uses NFTs to authenticate luxury goods; New Balance uses the Cardano blockchain for a similar purpose. 9dcc is making a bet on the same trend; gmoney argues that “people desire to show that they are crypto-native in the real world. They want to signal they are authentically from in our space.”
In addition, by verifying authentic ownership of physical items, owners will in time be able to secure loans against their physical, on-chain assets via blockchain enabled lending protocols, unlocking a new layer of liquidity for assets which, historically, have been highly illiquid.
In many cases, web3 fashion has become a marketing ploy to grab headlines rather than customers. Ironically, web3-native brands – unlike their legacy incumbents – do not have that luxury. There’s no brand equity to lean on, no free cash flow. Labels like 9dcc are navigating uncharted waters, building the ship as they sail. To build brand loyalty and popularity, web3-native fashion houses need to acquire customers through innovative product development and thoughtful utility that customers actually want.
With an array of networked products in the pipeline, that is exactly what 9dcc is setting out to do. “We look forward to sharing our learning and continuing to evolve this process to perfection.”
Randy is the founder of Digital Fashion Daily and Third Wall Creative, a web3 marketing agency. Straddling the worlds of retail and emerging technology, Randy has worked with many companies including nft now, Shopify, and Touchcast to create compelling and educational web3 content. Previously, Randy worked at Bombas, developing the most comfortable socks in the history of feet.
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