NFT or Non-Fungible Tokens have exploded into the market this year. They are everywhere- from art and music to tacos and toilet paper. An NFT is a digital collectible or work of art that is authenticated or "minted" using blockchain technology, the new internet-based collecting craze. They are paid for in thousand and millions of Dollars but a buyer does not receive a physical form of the art or even a taco, instead, they get a unique digital token. An NFT is the equivalent of a collectible item, similar to how Bitcoin is the equivalent of currency.
What are NFTs?
A digital asset that represents real-world objects such as art, music, in-game products, and videos is known as an NFT. They're bought and sold online, sometimes with cryptocurrency, and they're usually encoded with the same program as many other cryptos. Despite the fact that they've been around since 2014, NFTs are gaining popularity now as a common way to buy and sell digital artwork.
In economic terms, a fungible asset is something that can be easily replaced or interchanged – like money. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are therefore considered fungible- you can trade one for another and it’ll be the exact same thing with the same value. However, a Non Fungible Token is one of a kind trading card and is non-fungible. If you trade it for another NFT you get something completely different.
In the virtual world, NFTs are irreplaceable properties that can be purchased and sold like any other piece of property, but they have no physical structure. Artwork can be "tokenized" with NFTs to establish a digital certificate of ownership that can be purchased and sold. This prevents them from being easily and endlessly duplicated.
How can NFTs change the fashion game?
Fashion is considered to be a collectible art. It is one of the biggest and the oldest creative industries in the world. It is responsible for setting trends expressing ideas generating a lot of revenue and creating some memorable pieces. Greatly influenced by the economy and society and is constantly changing. With the introduction of e-commerce, a number of online platforms help fashion reach wider communities.
As the concept of Blockchain has been gaining recognition across the new generation it is quite possible that fashion will see a lot of changes, perhaps even bigger than those of e-commerce. NFTs are completely disrupting the collectible industry which along with sports memorabilia and digital art also includes fashion.
One would never think of the virtual or digital world to be the ideal place for fashion. It has always very much been part of the physical world and is all about the perfect fit of a T-shirt or a fancy sneaker you wear out to impress everyone you know. Digital fashion is something no one had even thought of until very recently but, speculators are pondering the future of digital fashion after a recent $3.1 million sale of some NFT sneakers. Tribute creates high-tech, shiny apparel it refers to as "cyber clothes," which resemble a hard-won video game upgrade. Overpriced focuses on hoodies and sells them for $26,000, as the name suggests. Christie's selling of a digital artist Beeple's NFT for $69 million (£50 million) set a new high for digital art. With so much cash circulating in the NFT economy, it would seem to be a perfect playground for a luxury brand like Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Prada, which have long sold pricey, eye-catching products.
What's the craze behind the NFT sneaker?
The idea behind an NFT sneaker and why it has been able to make a place in the market is the fact that a reseller of the physical sneaker would purchase it online(on eBay or Grailed) and sell it off to another person even before receiving it. The idea of sneaker culture is to maybe wear it a couple of times and then store it with the rest of their sneaker collection. According to Russ Bengston, "It's so much more about the moment of purchase, being able to brag about owning it, and just sort of checking things off a checklist - and hardly any of those things require an actual shoe."
The digital sneaker is so much more closet and pocket(not for the buyer, of course) friendly. You no longer have to worry about where to keep your favourite pair of Air Jordan or All-Stars, because you've got the digital shoe instead. Moreover, NFT fashion could also save a lot of money for brands. They no longer have to pay the overhead for the production of the real shoe. All they have to do now is build the assets and set up a network to host NFTs on the blockchain.
To attract collectors, brands can sell NFT versions of their current silhouettes and build digital-first designs. Brands could produce as many NFTs as they wanted because they were not limited by physical production. Distribution can also be exponentially accelerated, opening up a world of possibilities. Manufacturing flaws have caused high-profile launches to be delayed, which is another issue that digital sneakers have solved.
The Problem with NFT
It is possible that the true potential of NFTs will not be understood for some time. NFT fashion won't be fully realized until augmented reality is widely adopted. Lately, a debate has broken out about the sustainability of NFT fashion. While it would reduce the burden of physically producing goods from the environment it would leave an extensive carbon footprint. Many in the community are heeding the call to abolish existing processes for greener alternatives.
Although NFTs have the potential to be beneficial to fashion brands, they also come with a hefty price tag. NFTs add to the wastefulness of cryptocurrency, which is already expensive to the setting. Cryptocurrencies are “mined” by computers performing massive quantities of calculations per second to validate each piece of the blockchain on a continuous basis. These calculations are designed to be compute-intensive in order to make the production of new tokens difficult to decipher. Bitcoin mining alone consumes more energy per year than Argentina's entire country. Thus, the NFT fashion craze would only adversely impact the environment unless a more sustainable option is presented.