Much is being written about the “merger” of physical and digital under the umbrella of “integrated business.” At the same time, we’re being flooded with everything that’s changing, aka Web3. Are they contradictory? A recent Fast Company article on the future of fashion in Web3 begins to fill in some of the gaps.
If Web1 was about “reading” and Web2 was about “reading and writing,” Web3 is about “reading, writing, and owning,” said José Neves, Farfetch founder and CEO. Fashion, Neves says, is a deeply human endeavor and an integral part of who we are as individuals. Fashion allows us to use different “masks” depending on how we feel, who we want to be, or what we want to portray on any given day. “We envision technology as enhancing the human interaction between curators, creators and fashion standards as opposed to replacing human interaction.”
Neves continued, “For me, the definition of Web3 application fashion is the application of these user control, user ownership, and decentralized architectures to fashion use cases. The technology enables creativity, even if that translates to you and your avatar wearing the same outfit as a “digital twin,” and extends brand loyalty across the metaverse. Hopefully it’s a better deal.
That article led me to an April interview with two Metaverse change agents, Michael Zakur and Alan Smithson, who collaborate on a more robust venture called simply TheMall. It’s billed as a 100-story, 100-million-square-foot “Metamal” in cyberspace. The team shared their belief that “retail can drive what we call a lot as a meta version.”
Alan and Michael believe that their early adopters will not be the headphone-wearing, crypto-wallet-toting “bro-types” but the 20-45 year old women for the iPhone. They’re working with fashion houses to sell products in the mall, as well as facilitating various brand creative agencies or “builds” with MetaVRse Studio, which Smithson founded with his wife, Julie. Their secret sauce, unlike other similar tools, is that the engine can be deployed across multiple operating systems, browsers, and devices with little or no code. Practically anyone can be an inventor.
“TheMall is a combination of ecommerce and pure experience. Brands see this as a marketing and branding and experience play,” says Michael Zakur. Michael is one of RETHINK Retails Top 100 Retail Influencers and strongly believes (as I do) that the future of retail is “immersive commerce,” a seamless, integrated commerce experience online and in-store. He doesn’t use words, he worries.
If you visit TheMall and want to make a transaction, naturally you need to do it with cryptocurrency. Although crypto assets have surprised the entire world with numerous promises in economic opportunity, they lack realism. The US dollar can be seen and touched, but this is not the case with cryptocurrencies. But cryptocurrencies are recognized as fiat assets, and are the basis of “tokenomics”, “tokens” and “economics”.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) do not share the same value and are therefore unique. NFTs have been trending in recent times, and have sparked a lot of interest in Tokinomics, especially in high-profile NFT auctions. The tokenization of assets such as real estate, artwork, paintings, and collectibles in NFTs has ushered in a new wave of digital ownership, further demonstrating the potential of tokens.
Is it art?
Art has been at the forefront of cultural change for millennia. So, it’s no surprise that artist and NFTs are developing a symbiotic relationship, and a profitable one at that. Many relative unknown talents have broken into NFT art, and now some of the most respected artists and illustrators are branching out from traditional media into digital art and NFT tokens.
I recently interviewed Shaun Neff, the co-founder of GODA, who Forbes called a “brand whisperer.” GODA describes itself as “a trusted resource for contemporary artists looking to explore digital as a new medium.” Neff is a serial entrepreneur, and has been a founder, investor and consultant to some of the world’s leading brands. These include Neff, Sunbum, Moon, Beachhouse Group, Robinhood, Target
GODA is also led by big names in consumer, art, music, NFT and fashion. Among them names like Pharrell Williams, Nina Chanel Abney and Todd James. Many of GODA’s artists built significant followings and reputations in the “analog” art world before venturing into the world of digital art and NFTs. As trusted partners, GODA ensures flawless, impactful drops that honor their artists’ artistic value.
As Shawn mentioned at the beginning of the interview, the NFT art world is a new craze. It has built a strong following because the barriers to entry are very low and, unlike analog art, there are no brokers or gatekeepers. And because of this, many artists, illustrators and graphic designers have jumped into the pool, especially in the last year.
In addition to the low barrier to entry, the “tokenomics” behind the transactions are very attractive. The artists who created the originals retain ownership of the original artwork, even if it enters a limited number of NFTs that live “live” in the Web3 metaverse.
On the selling side of the equation, the work is more important than the artistic creation and “generation” of NFTs, let alone achieving lasting value. According to Shawn Neff, ninety-nine percent of those who put their work out there never hit anyone’s radar, let alone the “whales” or big collectors who are dominating the digital art collecting world.
In the true spirit of a veteran branding man, Shawn notes that beyond creativity, artists must engage in highly strategic and calculated work to build buzz. That’s where GODA’s work comes in.
Feast on Todd
Todd James is an internationally renowned artist who began his art career as a young man in New York City in the early 1980s by adding unique graffiti to the subway system. On August 30Th This year, Todd created a new collection of 1,533 NFT images with the help of GODA. Mint Pass holders paid .333 ETH (worth $527) on September 1st.St And it had 24 hours. Window to enter the pre-mint raffle for a chance at the new collection. Over 20,000 have registered for certain NFT’s. The unveiling of Todd James’ “ART PARTY” was September 6th.Th 9AM PT/12PM Central.
At 3:00 PM CST, 804 holders bought 546 pieces. The “floor price” was ETH .46 (approx. $724.00) for items #545 and #280 with a price of ETH 666 (approx. $1,047,904). Most of those at that moment were running in the single digits (7,000-$10,000).
As a modest collector of contemporary art, I admire the magical, often political and very pop/street art of Todd James. And I can’t think of mid-century artists like Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol or Claes Oldenburg in comparison. In their day, when these pop art icons, say, released a new print version of a dozen images, it was a big event. Each image can be found through a couple hundred signed prints that are basically the same. In comparison, over 1500 Todd James images are unique, each with their own digital “fingerprint”. Warhol would certainly be impressed.
Another big benefit to the artist is that when the NFT trades on the secondary market, they reduce that and any subsequent sales. And since all transactions take place in the metaverse, there should never be any doubt about the authenticity or authenticity of the image. Talk about an allowance.
Another GODA artist who recently moved into NFT’s world is the famous African American contemporary artist Nina Chanel Abney. Her debut NFT collection on the GODA NFT platform consisted of 5,080 NFTs, which were designed by Nina with hundreds of features, reflecting her “frenetic collage-like approach to visual media. The performance began on July 14.Th For whitelist raffle winners, 60,000 raffle submissions were official. Mint Pass holders are guaranteed a chance to buy.
Nina the Collector is keen to keep her fans in the family. So to reward loyalty and reduce secondary market transactions, she hinted that owners can get “exclusive Nina items, collaborative product releases, airdrops, events, encouraged participation at exhibitions and amazing raffle drawings.”
Sea change or wait and see?
What does all this mean for the “established art community”, nothing to fill the void on our stove? According to Shawn Neff, we can expect future NFT collectors to purchase large digital screens to cover the walls of our homes with the ever-changing NFT. No doubt it is controlled by our phones or smart homes. And, of course, Todd James and Nina Abney NFTs are proudly displayed on our Metaverse walls for our avatars to enjoy.