Is NFT.NYC Week The New Fashion Week?
NFT.NYC Week has arrived in New York City, hitting the streets harder than it has ever had – in its four years of existence. Tech-focused events have brought the fintech community to the big apple, and surprisingly that includes the fashion industry. The larger conferences and discussions around NFTs, cryptocurrency, and Web3 are where the fashion industry is attempting to claim its stake in the metaverse.
Among the many events that take place, fashion brands and industry people gather in real life to dissect and understand the relationship between NFTs, Web3, and how the fashion world will – or is – existing in the metaverse. High-end, streetwear, and footwear brands all share the stage in hosting events around fashion design, Web3 worlds, and NFT art, polishing a luster and allure that fashion has garnered over generations.
In the spirit of any other fashion week, plenty of parties and events can fill a schedule from morning to night, galvanizing a community toward the future of commerce. Metaverse – slash, real-world – brand names, like DJ duo EscapePlan, hosted a party at the PHD Rooftop Lounge for the Web3, NFT, and crypto players in town with drinks provided by Lobos 1707 Tequila.
NFT and Web3 company Artie hosted a party last year in partnership with V FILES, revisiting New York City nightlife, and inviting fashion industry people to mingle with its NFT community on the Thursday night of NFT.NYC week. Fashion brands like the AKINGS denim line celebrate the NFT.NYC week with a party for their NFT “Wear To Earn Fashion” collections as an early adapter to Web3. NFT.NYC week is the intersection of fashion and Web3, evolving into a 1:1 relationship between NFT art and actual fashion items.
The sneaker reselling giant Stadium Goods, located at 47 Howard Street, planned events for the four days of the week – teasing exclusive products and promoting NFT art, artists, and innovators of the Web3 space. Stadium Goods started the festivities with a conversation diving right into the digital details of how NFTs can affect our daily lives.
A conversation titled “Sneakers & Streetwear in Web3” as part of .IRL by Stadium Goods, would lay the groundwork for Web3 discussions in fashion, moderated by Yu-Ming Wu, SVP of Brand Strategy at Stadium Goods, on Monday, June 20. Between the founder of the Stapleverse, Jeff Staple, Verbal, the co-founder of Ambush, Greg Locsin, creative director at Billionaire Boys Club, and of BB3, Jeff Cole, co-founder of Ikonick and Metarelics, and Nelson Diaz, a Web3 Strategist of Long Lost Friends, the love of sneakers was brought up, like the Staple Pigeon shoe design from Jeff Staple, who mentioned the nuanced relationship of the NFT Staple Pigeon sneaker, and the auction price at Sotheby’s for the actual shoe.
A block party hosted by Web3 brands like Gutter Cat Gang, Stapleverse, Metarelics, PFP World, to name a few, brought the metaverse to life for the fashion community, hosting meet-and-greets with the founders. With events running throughout each day, the Stadium Goods NFT four days of festivities ends on the June 23 with guests Victoria Wells, web3 Strategy at R/GA, Ash Pampati, Head of Partnerships, Metaplex, Ariel Wengroff, VP, Communications, Ledger, John Jannuzzi, writer and founder of Avius Animae NFT, discussing luxury and marketing on Web3, gauging opinions on the future of fashion metaverses, and hosted by Neha Dayal, Director, Strategy & Analytics, at Stadium Goods.
The streetwear pioneer and brainchild of Pharrell Williams, Billionaire Boys Club, would host its BB3, Web3 panel at the 7 Mercer Street location, including the Stapleverse and Staple Design founder, Jeff Staple. The ‘BBC x Akuverse’ conversation on Tuesday the 21st would have Jason Lee, one of the four members of the art collective, League OTO, host the select group of innovators in the Web3 industry, Micah Johnson of Aku, Summer Watson of Aku, Jeremy Grinberg of COLORSxStudios, and Jeff Staple.
Co-Founder of Ikonick and Metarelics Jeff Cole is also involved in a Balmain NFT collaboration. Minting the fashion labels NFT, the Balmain Unicorn NFT launches in partnership with MINTNFT and Ripple, platforms that are aiding brands with the Web3 transition. The Balmain name and retail space at its Madison ave location invite guests to experience the in-real-life launch of a digital item. Pioneers like Staple are moving their generation toward the metaverse, while designers like Cole are closing the gap between fashion and NFT design.
Verbal Ambush, a guest for the Stadium Goods panel, would further the idea of pioneering fashion trends, teaming with 3D sneaker designer Zellerfeld, for the 3D printed AMBUSH ‘100S’ glow-in-the-dark sneaker. The recyclable 3D printed sneaker launches during NFT.NYC week, and raffling off three physical pairs of sneakers and their NFT counterparts. AMBUSH is connecting that feeling sneaker drops with NFTs, creating an entire Web3 metaverse to complement this release.
Fashion continues to grow and is starting to sharpen the picture of what it will be for all verses. At St. Anns Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, Friday, June 24, and Saturday, the 25th, MADE x PayPal host a two-day experience of panel discussions, a marketplace, and a runway show displaying selected fashion designers who have made their own lane in recent years.
MADE, launched in 2009, has given way to some of the most innovative and talented creators in the fashion industry. This summer, IMG, in collaboration with PayPal, will relaunch MADE with MADE x PayPal to help support a new generation of diverse and emerging designers while giving back to the local small business community.
The MADE x PayPal event is curated by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, two New York City icons in fashion design. As part of the curation, the event is hosted by social media sensation, Elsa Majimbo, and will include DJ sets, performances, and fashion shows, with names like Nas, Parris Goebel, and Heron Preston.
The featured MADE marketplace hosts small businesses such as Bronx Native, FUBU, Sincerely Tommy, Stadium Goods, Studio 189, and Bling By Bianca, to name a few. Emerging designers for the New Wave New York presented by Public School, Des Pierrot, Maya Wang of Fried Rice, Long Xu of LORING New York, Michael Graham of Savant Studios, and designer Colin LoCascio, have a chance to display their skills in upcycling deadstock fabric from the Public School fashion house.
MADE will culminate with its MADE Class of 2022 fashion show that headlines and debuts brands Bed on Water, K.NSLEY, and Whensmokeclears, all based in New York City.
Much to do with traditional fashion, this level of interactivity from the MADE x PayPal lends to the current digital climate and metaverse that is fashion. The program supports small businesses run by people of color, and those same groups are interested in cryptocurrency. PayPal has its own cryptocurrency wallet available for its users, engaging fashion and embracing the streetwear audience who is showing more and more interest in cryptocurrencies and NFTs, as displayed during NYC’s NFT Week.
Amanda Miller, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at PayPal, states of the traditional fashion event, “The pandemic’s economic impacts on the fashion industry and small businesses have highlighted just how critical it is that diverse businesses and creators have access to the tools and resources they need to survive and thrive.”
The overlap that is taking place between fashion and Web3 is more frequent, and there is seemingly a comparable overlap of the innovators in those spaces. Miller continues, “PayPal’s collaboration with IMG on MADE x PayPal [allows us] to celebrate the power of fashion while driving a conversation about what it takes to foster and sustain an inclusive economy.”