How NFTs are democratizing the fashion industry – WWD

How NFTs are democratizing the fashion industry – WWD

NFTs have been the talk of the fashion industry for several months, bringing new levels of exclusivity and opportunities to transform digital designs and collections into highly valuable and unique collectibles.

With so much potential, it’s largely a time for brands to experiment as they navigate the metaverse and find a meaningful place within it. Companies like SmartMedia Technologies, a Web 3.0 platform that drives first-party data collection, user engagement and loyalty across digital and mobile-first audiences, are part of this navigation, helping brands understand what the industry should look like, and provide foresight as the industry continues to grow shaped by that vision.

Michael Chock, chief solutions officer at SmartMedia Technologies, told WWD, “A big part of what we’re seeing right now is that the NFT market is about 95 percent speculation. You look at some of these NFTs that are falling and see that they’re incredibly successful, and then you look at some that a celebrity can’t even sell. We work in both areas, but our true belief in NFTs revolves less around speculation and how an NFT becomes a currency of engagement and what we built when our company was founded in this robust advertising technology history. “

Notably, the original SmartMedia Technologies team built an ad server which they sold to Microsoft and later to Facebook Marketplace for $6 billion.

“Now we’ve built the first enterprise marketplace for developers, brands and agencies to use NFTs as an engagement currency to build communities and earn and monetize intellectual property,” said Chock. “We take it very seriously from this side, how we use it for loyalty, how we use it for customer retention and how we create truly unique brand experiences that have more value than dropping a new shoe and hoping that people.” buy it?”

Operationally, the company has a TV agency in its group and serves Web 1.0, TV, Web 2.0, everything digital and now Web 3.0. The goal is to make it extremely easy for consumers and brands, keeping in mind that having all of these features is a nice transition as brands work to strategize for the future.

In contrast, many of the solutions available are point solutions unique to Web 3.0. The problem with this, Chock said, is that it’s difficult for brands to bridge the gap for consumers, who are overwhelmed when they see they may need to download technology to fund the token in another specific crypto wallet to buy something Desired action.


Michael Chok

Image courtesy.

This multi-step process has led to a growing sense of negativity on online forums. Chock explained that this speculation also stems from consumer unease about buying things that have no direct connection to a physical, tangible piece.

“Even if you look at the successful NFTs, art is a great concept that challenges me; It’s easier for people to embrace than something like land in the Metaverse,” Chock said. “I would counter that if you think about what a metaverse is, it’s just a digital ecosystem and we’ve been spending money on the digital ecosystem for ages.”

As an example, Chock points to Farmville where people pay money to buy fake cows and fake crops and fake land in a metaverse where they pay real money. Call of Duty is another massive metaverse that people not only pay to access, but also to update tools, technology and all that is in it.

And many consumers are more comfortable buying digital goods in exchange for regular currency. But where that mental shift hasn’t happened in many consumers, Chock says, is in understanding what the benefit is. They want to know when they’re buying an NFT and what they’re getting.

In response, some of the brands that SmartMedia Technologies works with have created so-called “utility tokens,” meaning that possession of the token gives the consumer ownership of a physical good or doing something.

“I think a great thing for fashion is to look at the Supreme model,” Chock said. “I used to live a block away [a] Supreme Store in SoHo, and every morning if you know there’s going to be a drop, folks camping outside the Supreme Store the night before. But imagine doing this for a fashion brand that uses NFT so you have fans that participate in a loyalty program that they do quality promotions for your brand whether they follow you on social media or post pictures of themselves in theirs Post clothes, they get a digital token and only that NFT would get access to the new drop.”

And the community of queuing would not go away; Instead, it creates a community in a virtual environment, so engagement that benefits the brand and the consumer gets fresh content.

“I think the next step for the NFT in fashion is to replicate some of these similar methods if people have reasons that people are used to,” Chock said. “It’s that transition, how do you very easily get consumers into that mindset? What we are focused on now, and where we think the industry is going, is saying how we are using NFTs to build marketplaces and loyalty, rather than just these one-off drops.”

To put it in the context of luxury fashion, Chock said imagine buying a Birkin bag. “It’s a nice piece of function, but buying a Birkin bag is also a statement. They say I have status, I have wealth when I have these assets, and when you’re carrying that Birkin bag, your sphere of influence is only the people you see. Well, the idea with NFTs and fashion is, “Okay, what if instead of this Birkin bag, you buy a digital Birkin bag, or imagine that they come as a companion, so if you buy a Birkin, you get an NFT ?” Suddenly, wherever you post that, your sphere of influence becomes much larger.”

SmartMedia Technologies sees this specifically in the Millennials of consumers who buy things and not only want to show immediate contemporaries, but also want to have a bigger impact on the status and value of those fashion labels in their digital ecosystems – with the digital ecosystems being much larger than that physical. Still, some consumers don’t even realize when they’re acting in the Metaverse or Web3.

Looking ahead, Chock said educating the consumer about the metaverse is a shared responsibility between the consumer and the brand and tech companies. With the endless possibilities of digital marketplaces and AI events as all brands become part of the metaverse, Chock says it’s imperative to be authentic and offer the consumer – and their upcoming avatars – something of value.


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