NFT and Streetwear : The new artistic wave of the decade

February 17, 2022 12 min read

NFT and Streetwear : The new artistic wave of the decade

 

Everyone is talking about it, everywhere, all the time: NFTs are in the news. Nobody understands exactly what it is, but we agree on one thing: it's a very controversial topic. The new digital trend fascinates, but does not please everyone. The relation with streetwear? You'll soon understand. The connections between streetwear and NFT are more numerous than you think, and it won't be long before you notice.

What do you need to know about NFT? Are future joint projects between streetwear and NFT possible? And could the experience of streetwear, the great interloper of the fashion industry, benefit new blockchain developers? Let's talk about it a bit more.

What exactly is an NFT ?

To make it simple, an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is the signature that makes a digital file unique. Except that you can take screenshots of it at will, so it's not a very reliable principle. The joke of the century.

In fact, it's a bit more complex than that. First of all, let's start by defining the term "unfungible". A non-fungible item means that it is unique and cannot be replaced or substituted.

To give you a better example of what this means, let's use the example of a 1 Euro coin. You can exchange or replace it with any other 1 euro coin, its value remains the same. However, if you cannot exchange or replace the "Mona Lisa" or a work of art with an object of the same value. This object is unique and therefore not fungible.

Thus, the NFT is a cryptographic token of a digital file that is stored on the blockchain. It is a serial number assigned to the very first copy of an image or video for example. Although this digital file is fungible, its NFT is unique.

So how do you create an NFT? In reality, everything happens on the blockchain. Every time we put a digital file on the Internet for the first time, its NFT is recorded on this decentralized network. This is what we call in jargon: minter. Thus, all the exchanges or transactions that follow are saved forever.

Now that we've covered the technical side of NFTs, let's get to the heart of the matter. Why do streetwear and NFTs make a perfect pair?

 

Are we ready for fashion in NFT ?

streetwear outfits NFT RTFKT

On the wide operating range of NFTs, fashion and its derivatives is the most curious field. As unlikely as it may seem, it is the industry that has been explored the most in recent months. However, the virtual world of NFT does not seem to be very compatible with the fashion industry at first sight.

Wouldn't the sensational dimension of the clothes be lost somewhere? On the contrary, this new trend wants to challenge the limits of the physical world. With the new generations of augmented reality glasses from Google and Snap, digital clothes are much more advanced, with phenomenal special effects worthy of MARVEL movies. They far surpass even our poor, useless bits of fabric.

Experts predict that NFT clothing will eventually become as important as luxury clothing. As proof, digital fashion is winning over the connected community. Video game skins, on Fortnite and LOL among others, and social network avatars are becoming just as important as one's own wardrobe. The reason? It's because we only collect successful sneakers, largely for their intrinsic value. Having them in NFT would only simplify the logistics and how to get them.

RTFKT's sneakers

There is no shortage of examples in this sense. RTFKT's sneakers certainly didn't escape your notice during the 2018 League of Legends International Championship. The brand is planning to exhibit its exclusive sneaker collections and designs on Decentraland, right?

Not to mention the case of cryptoartist FEWOCiOUS. This little genius sold 600 pairs of sneakers at prices that amounted to up to 3000, 5000 and even 10,000 euros, in a record time of 7 minutes. His booty is estimated at more than 3 million dollars

 

Parallels between Streetwear and NFT: like a feeling of déjà vu !

The very first NFT came into existence in 2014. However, it didn't start reaching the general public until 2017, when cryptocurrency platforms exploded. Since then, they've come a long way, and have become a highly coveted market.

The comparison with the fashion world in general, and streetwear in particular, is striking. We even go so far as to say that they are two sides of the same coin, and to proclaim that one is strongly inspired by the other. RTFKT says it clearly: they aim to merge streetwear and gaming culture through their digital art pieces. Even without knowing anything about it, one can draw obvious parallels between streetwear and NFT.

Two similar passions

streetwear and nft

NFTs are primarily a form of digital art. Instead of working with fabric, the artists play with their brushes in the virtual world. It's up to the viewer to assign them the value they feel is right. As with streetwear, prices are set backwards based on customer expectations.

Take for example the art blockchain of Hoffman, the former co-creator of Vine. Using an automated generator, he created a series of original NFTs that he distributed for free except for the transaction fee. A few days later, these works of art were selling for millions of dollars online. Surprising, right? In urban fashion, it has always happened this way. Exclusive sneakers sell for 100 times their price as soon as the initial stock runs out.

Moreover, the first rough designs of the NFT, rich in colors and almost cartoonish, remind us of the streetwear of the years 2005. It seems that the designers of Bored Apes, Degenerate Apes, CryptoKitties and Pudgy Punguins were forged by the popular culture of the 2000s.

 

The two main trends of the moment

The NFT race is explained by two phenomena: the hype around it, and the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). And the latter is even more pronounced than the former. Who knows, maybe we are witnessing the birth of historical relics whose value, already absurd, will explode in a few years?

Wouldn't it be crazy to be one of the OG collectors who started the movement? Getting a pair of Air Jordan 1s 30 years ago is like getting a pair of RFTK sneakers today. When you believe in a cause, it becomes much more than a symbolic act.

sneakers RFTK

To take off so quickly, both movements target almost the same audience, i.e. young people. Well, not the very, very young, since teens prefer to live in the moment rather than invest in stocks and trading. The great collectors are nostalgic in their blood, and they generally choose art pieces that bring back their childhood memories.

The symbols of the new era

NFTs are the fashion benchmarks of the metaverse. Like real-life sweatshirts and sneakers, they send a strong message. Whether you want to mark your membership in a culture or a high position in society, NFTs speak louder than a Legion of Honor medallion. It's a reminder of how trendy pumps and hoodies are for young people.

cryptopunks x bored apes

With prices out of reach, owning an NFT means joining the big leagues. It's more about status than anything else. Just change your avatar with a CryptoPunk or Bored Apes creation to make you jealous, as their signature is recognizable.

The best NFT x Streetwear crossovers

After a few months, NFT finally broke through the bubble that separated them from the rest of the world. It's hard to miss the several hundred collaborations that the biggest celebrities have signed up for! Not to mention the mega franchises that have dived headlong into the digital art world.

Sure, NFT streetwear doesn't have the success of, say, NFT Star Wars or GTA. But it's only a matter of time! Streetwear and NFT collaborations are slowly budding, and are welcomed with open arms everywhere on the web. We have to admit, at least, that they have the audacity to engage in the unknown. Here are the ones that might interest you as a streetwear lover.

Nike x RTFKT

Nike x RTFKT

Fearing that it would be left behind by emerging new sneaker brands, Nike was determined to make its debut in the NFT market. After an unsuccessful first attempt to join the blockchain world in 2019 with their CryptoKicks patent, the sportswear brand is taking a new approach.

Rather than venture in blindly, the historic retailer secured a foothold by buying RTFKT in December 2021. Having created a buzz with their virtual sneakers, NFT's brand was sold for several million dollars to the American company.

Nike is looking to regain a new lease on life with the innovation of the young 3D artists of the NFT brand. In addition to physical versions of sneakers, they are now working on virtual versions, including augmented reality filters and avatar sneakers.

The union of the two giants is a winning investment for both. Despite its staggering sales, RTFKT stands to benefit from Nike's experience and connections to get on the right track. By guiding them to find the best artistic talent, the famous streetwear brand is slowly dominating the digital market

 

Bored Ape Yacht Club x The Hundred

Bored Ape Yacht Club x The Hundred

With over 10,000 exclusive NFTs, the Bored Ape Yacht Club offers membership programs full of benefits to its members. With a total value exceeding $24 million, it is one of the most influential digital art networks of the moment.

Their collaboration with classic streetwear brand, The Hundreds, is one of the biggest NFT x Streetwear projects of 2021. The overlap of the two concepts was nicely represented by layering the logos of both groups.

Unfortunately for big fans of the brand, these exclusive merchs are not for sale! There were only 11 copies worldwide, and they were distributed to select acquaintances

 

The NFT collection from Adidas

NFT from Adidas


December 2021 was definitely a month full of twists and turns for streetwear brands converted to digital art. After much hesitation, the Adidas brand finally declares itself ready to conquer the virtual world of NFT. This giant step, they chose to do it hand in hand with Bored Ape Yacht Club, a great partnership that promises an unparalleled artistic experience. The anonymous NFT designer GMoney accompanied the sports brand to integrate this universe in an authentic and calibrated way.

The Adidas NFT streetwear collection will allow interested parties to obtain physical and virtual gifts. Each NFT will be sold for 0.2 ETH, the equivalent of $800. The pack includes three collectibles: a signed Adidas tracksuit, an orange beanie, and a hoodie engraved with the collaborators' logos. The latter is our little favorite, as it displays an address with blockchain location and logos from Adidas, Punks Comics, Bored Apes and GMoney.

This NFT collection is not to be confused with the virtual retail app Confirmed, where other Adidas lines, including Yeezys, are available. This is a completely different program called Into the Metaverse that gives access to exclusive blockchain creations

 

Gucci x SUPERPLASTIC

In the digital age, Gucci switches to SUPERGUCCI, an exclusive partnership that links it with the company NFT SUPERPLASTIC. The designers' CryptoJanky are limited editions of animated celebrities and other vintage collectibles. The SUPERGUCCI collection consists of 10 exclusive NFTs accompanied by Italian designed ceramic sculptures. They are inspired by Gucci motifs and symbols reinvented by the clever designers of SUPERPLASTIC.

The NFT (B)APETAVERSE project

(B)APETAVERSE

BAPE, the legendary Asian streetwear brand, is also venturing out with a bold digital project. They plan to design 10,000 unique NFTs as part of their new digital platform (B)APETAVERSE. The teaser reveals a realistic and refined digital style that departs from the brand's usual aesthetic.

When will the NFT streetwear brands ?

If NFTs are really legitimate, then why haven't the well-known brands invested in this new find? According to Vogue experts, this radio silence is like the calm before the storm. Not a sign of disinterest, on the contrary, it would be a question of a preparation phase.

Gucci, Moncler, Balenciaga and Dolce&Gabbana have already started selling virtual replicas of their creations. So it's only a matter of time before they fully embrace the Blockchain frenzy. Theory confirmed by Gucci's recent project. Even famous independent artists like the illustrious Takashi Murakami are launching their own NFT series, and we're here to welcome them.

Takashi Murakami

But let's leave the brands we already know aside! Isn't there a new group of NFTs that are interested in streetwear? Think again, two brands have already gone down this road. The first, Ageless, aims to combine streetwear and the virtual world. With each NFT, they offer an exclusive T-shirt and hoodie inspired by urban culture.

Ditto for The Next Cartel, the first exclusively digital streetwear brand powered by blockchain. These two cryptofashion icons have revolutionary concepts that put no limits on the creation of digital art oriented towards the fashion world

 

What future for NFTs: global success or big flop ?

streetwear x nft

It has already been admitted that the evolution of NFTs followed very closely the evolution of streetwear. At least, there are many similarities between the beginning of streetwear and NFTs. But can we predict that the evolution of the blockchain market will be similar to that of streetwear? Here, things get a little more complicated.

Right now, NFTs are facing a lot of obstacles that could slow down their momentum. The biggest problem with them is that the artistic dimension has taken a back seat to money-hungry investors. Since it is so lucrative, blockchain art attracts newcomers who dream of becoming a millionaire effortlessly, or worse, on the backs of others. And that's not very cool, because it ruins the already fragile reputation of NFTs. When a brand can no longer make the artistic value of a product a priority, an inevitable downfall awaits.

Secondly, NFT, already volatile by nature, has been going in all directions for the past few months. Each newcomer brings his own ideas and directs his work according to his own vision of things. Except that to someone who doesn't know anything about it, it can seem like a lot of nonsense. To capture the audience's attention, you have to find your roots as soon as possible. It's hard enough to understand what an NFT is, it's not the time for everyone to make it their own.

And finally, even if we are interested in the cause, we don't really know why it is worth it. I have an NFT, so what? The act itself seems ephemeral and senseless. That's because there are no lasting benefits, a meaningful side that brings meaning to this collective imagination.

All these problems, urban fashion has encountered before. It is by overcoming them that it has become the global phenomenon that it is today. That's why experts believe that NFT has not yet said its last word. By following in its footsteps, it is possible to emerge victorious from these countless conflicts. In other words, their future is being decided right now!

 

Could the streetwear policy save the NFT ?


To evolve smoothly in the future, digital art via blockchain must address some fundamental issues. To the few obstacles we mentioned above, there are some simple solutions that can change the situation of NFTs completely. One thing is certain, as it is, it is not likely to last much longer.

Still in the launch phase, NFT has a lot to learn from streetwear. In this case, urban fashion has managed to preserve its artistic roots while becoming a profitable industry. Because, as we all know, it's a money printer when it comes to profitability.

This success is attributed to a number of marketing strategies, namely collaborations, limited editions, and an underground black market that increases the smallest revenues tenfold. At the same time, with celebrity endorsements and youth-oriented messages, it remains a cool culture that is accessible to all. The class differences are subtle enough that streetwear is popular at all levels of the social hierarchy.

To bring back the comparison with streetwear, we can work on several axes to go forward with this new digital art form
:

1. Focus on exclusivity

Never underestimate the added value of an artistic product! To create more hype around NFT, you have to play on the exclusivity factor. A strategy that streetwear knows all too well. For now, blockchain groups are on the right track. Members have access to private lobbies and secret communication channels and codes.

Limited editions and countdowns also contribute to the intentional tension that forms around each drop. Simply sell a limited quantity, and let the magic of the parallel market work. An approach that is all the more profitable since the creator has a fixed percentage of the transactions of his property in an unlimited way.

 

2. Create a trusting relationship

There is always a lot of apprehension when a scientific breakthrough is made. And, of course, anonymity adds another layer. With NFTs, it's a different story. The questioning has reached its peak. Not only are people not used to paying for virtual goods, but it's also art. We are really into the most abstract of concepts.

For many, NFTs are a huge money laundering machine. Not an easy rumor to rectify. The lack of confidence of the public will only make it further away from the reality of digital art created by blockchain. Streetwear, too, was misunderstood in its early days. Many artists wore pseudonyms, and its legitimacy as a fashion trend was constantly questioned. Today, it is in much better shape thanks to the link that has been forged with the community.

But it's a process that takes time. Collaborations between designers contribute enormously to this. It allows for the exchange of concepts and the expansion of the fan base. The help of artists and celebrities who recommend the work of some also weighs in favor of new trends

 

3. Focusing on creativity

Crypto is fickle by definition. In the space of a few months, NFTs have seen fateful turns and their share prices have been marked by absolutely unpredictable dips. So it became urgent to find a better balance between marketing and artistic experience. Once the market is saturated, only those artists who successfully challenge the status quo will stand out from the crowd.

In the end, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Many new trends are emerging, and one of them could propel NFT to the top. There are still some who are enjoying the early excitement, but soon things will settle down. When people are no longer interested in making as much profit as possible, the true potential of NFTs will finally come to light.


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