MoonPay talks about its Fashion Blitz NFT – WWD

MoonPay talks about its Fashion Blitz NFT – WWD

Crypto company MoonPay has big plans to make non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, both easier to make than to buy – and its grand strategy has everything to do with fashion, the company told WWD.

Days after the Council of Fashion Designers of America revealed it had chosen the platform to handle transactions for its upcoming NFTs, creative arm MoonPay Studios lit up New York Fashion Week with digital rates for Alo Yoga, Collina Strada and Brandon. Maxwell, who have hit the shows with a range of NFTs ranging from fun to functional.

These collaborations are not accidental. In an exclusive interview with WWD, the company explained that these are parts of a broader fashion-focused strategy – and now that NYFW is in the bag, MoonPay can focus all of its attention on its next fashion project: a Secret NFT that will match the platform with a major sports brand.

The details are still hidden, but according to Tom Capone, the new head of MoonPay Studios, the vision behind them is not. In essence, the company sees fashion as a key to making the metaverse mainstream.

“We think Web 3.0 is an inevitability and our mission is to get on board the world,” continued Capone. “Fashion is exciting, because it usually leads a lot of trends and usually shapes the way culture moves, shaping the culture itself.”

A former Creative Artists Agency talent agent and Web 3.0 executive, he has an innate understanding of the cultural capital of fashion and entertainment and the power of their influence on the mindset of consumers. “We saw Kanye’s Instagram about Snoop Dogg wearing a Tommy Hilfiger shirt and it inspired him more than any other ad or marketing gimmick he’d ever seen,” she added. “It went viral, which speaks to a deeper point: fashion is literally planning the future.”

MoonPay isn’t the only metaverse platform that focuses on this. Other suppliers, large and small, have competed to woo brands armed with a range of services. Some just digitize products or coin 3D files like NFTs, while others develop pop-up stores to show them, build entire multi-layered virtual world destinations, stage metaverse events, and much more.

For fashion brands and stylists, the motivation is evident, both from a creative and a commercial point of view.

Fashion requires evolution, said Maxwell, who sees his partnership with MoonPay as a natural step forward, given the continuing impact of technology on the world. “This is the new era of digital fashion that breaks the conventional understanding of what fashion can be,” he said. “It is an opportunity for us to transform, express and embrace ourselves more, not less.”

Indeed, for designers, there is creative freedom in a virtual world that is not tied to natural laws such as gravity or other limitations. The metaverse can also seem unlimited in a financial sense. Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry and others have already raked in millions of real dollars from the virtual fare, and that’s just for starters. More and more brands are raiding NFTs, such as Puma, which just launched its first digital collectibles at New York Fashion Week. Research firm Technavio estimates that the fashion metaverse will be worth $ 6.61 billion in 2026 and expects market growth in 2022 to increase by 30.5% year-over-year. Morgan Stanley analysts believe the virtual luxury goods market could reach $ 50 billion by 2030.

The prospect has spawned deeper and more fascinating investments: from Philipp Plein’s $ 1.4 million land purchase in the virtual reality platform Decentraland earlier this year to KNXT, a mysterious Kering initiative that landed on the cryptocurrency world radar this summer, following a July trademark filing for NFT, virtual goods retailing and other metaverse endeavors.

The latter seems particularly intriguing. The KNXT website describes itself as a test program for drops, with three main sections: WSPRD, probably a “whispered” game, offers links to Kering brand products; WYHIWYW stands for “what you hear is what you buy”, at least according to her Instagram account, to connect musical and fashion tastes; and MFDF or a “digital fashion market” is an obvious place to sell Gucci, Balmain or other NFTs from across Kering’s portfolio.

How much of this represents current plans remains to be seen, mainly because KNXT is not new. Internet Wayback Machine shows that various parts of the site were online last year, with some pages looking quite different. Previous social media posts and a previous filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also suggest that the program is a revamp of a different initiative. The November application described promotions, announcements, loyalty programs and community building.

Overall, it looks like a major overhaul, perhaps in response to the shift of fashion’s technological center of gravity into the virtual sphere. At this point, whatever the current version of KNXT seems to be getting close to the track soon.

Of course, the larger question is whether these or other Web 3.0 projects are actually reaching people beyond the kids and cryptocurrency investors.

Last month, Forrester’s latest survey of media benchmarks and marketing showed that less than a quarter of online adults in the United States are familiar with the metaverse, at 23%. The research firm also saw in its Empowered Customer Segmentation study that technical expertise on the part of the consumer helps, but not as much as one might think. Even among the most tech-savvy respondents in this group, fewer than half said they were familiar with the metaverse.

“The fact that familiarity with the metaverse is low even among early adopters of the technology means there is a lot of work to be done at the top of the funnel to build a profitable market,” wrote Mike Proulx, vice president and director of research at Forrester. in a blog post.

This is exactly where MoonPay is fixed.

The main fintech business is, in Capone’s words, a “ramp” for Web 3.0, as it allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and NFTs with fiat currency. In other words, customers of the CFDA’s major digital collectibles will be able to use familiar forms of payment, such as credit cards, debit cards, and even Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Behind the scenes, MoonPay Studios works with brands on NFT strategy and development. While this can ensure plenty of virtual inventory to wow consumers, the team, like the fashion brands they work with, focuses on the right solution to meet their customers’ goals.

“If you are a designer who focuses on luxury, your strategy may be slightly different than that of a mass retailer speaking to a different demographic,” explained Capone. “We will take all of these facets into consideration and create what we believe is a compelling and comprehensive use case for Web 3.0.”

Sometimes, the goal is simply to extend the brand or test the limits of creativity.

“I’ve always seen fashion as a vital creative frontier, with only two things limiting the collections I design: imagination and physics,” said Hillary Taymour, creative director of Collina Strada. Working with MoonPay on its NFT graphics and the Web 3.0 opportunity more broadly removes one of these constraints. “The next step will be fresh and exciting: NFTs that speak to the heart of our brand, emphasizing our ethics of social awareness, change and personal expression.”

NFT of Collina Strada for NYFW 2022

Like Collina Strada, Brandon Maxwell chose a visually oriented NFT to express his brand, albeit in video form. In terms of quantity, it was coined based on NYFW audience size and delivered via a QR code printed in the show schedule. Alo Yoga, however, needed more utility for The Aspen Collection, his first luxury line.

Not that the brand wanted a tech extravaganza. He collaborated with Digital Twinning for augmented reality tests in New York. But the NFTs, the first of the brand, needed to bring different elements to the table. Ultimately, they will act as blockchain-based certificates of authenticity for people who purchase physical products, as well as access passes that unlock real-world benefits.

Think of it as a VIP club with exclusive benefits that include personalized shopping through a private client manager, access to Alo Wellness Clubs, and other experiences at Alo Houses.

“Being able to try the collection in real time via AR and receive an immutable ownership certificate not only elevates the shopping experience, but also the authenticity, transparency and safety of our products,” said Angelic Vendette, vice president and manager marketing at Alo Yoga. “[It] creates the building blocks to deliver lifelong value and rewards to our most loyal customers. “

This is possible, thanks to the smart contracts integrated into the NFTs. These bits of software or code are automatically executed when certain conditions are met, and because they are stored on the blockchain, they cannot be tampered with, at least not easily.

Brands are just starting to explore what smart contracts can do, and MoonPay is eager to help them figure it out.

This summer, the company launched HyperMint, a self-service platform designed to simplify the work of minting and distributing NFTs, including smart contracts. For MoonPay, Fashion Week was something of a stepping stone to bring its utility NFTs into the industry, offering fashion houses an exciting way to build relationships and create exclusive clubs or communities with high-end benefits. It may help that HyperMint, as a self-service system, can pump NFTs at scale and even support simplified purchases via email checkout. Alo Yoga is the first fashion and lifestyle brand to use HyperMint.

Of course, the appeal isn’t limited to fashion. Universal Pictures, Fox Corporation, and Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Records soon signed, as did CAA, Capone’s former stomping ground.

The talent management agency was interested in developing smart contract strategies for VIP clients in the entertainment, digital media, publishing, fashion and philanthropy industries. Shortly thereafter, in July, MoonPay announced his appointment to lead the Studios business, along with other executive hires. It’s a bold move when cryptocurrencies plummet and the state of the economy is destabilizing the NFT business, prompting the OpenSea market to lose 20% of its workforce.

Then again, he has reason to be confident. After a $ 555 million Series A round in November valued the company at $ 3.4 billion, MoonPay revealed in an April blog post that an investor-studded lineup had practically thrown their money on the platform. Justin Bieber, Maria Sharapova, Brie Larson, Paris Hilton and many others have brought the company $ 87 million as part of its A Series.

Hollywood is obviously fascinated. MoonPay hopes that Paris and New York are too. Because where the luminaries of culture go, consumers are sure to follow them.

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