Dolce & Gabbana, NFTs & The Metaverse

6th September 2021

I would not have been overly surprised if you had told me a year ago that I’d be writing an article about Dolce & Gabbana. But if you’d have told me that I would be writing an article about D&G’s first major crypto play, I would have been far more skeptical. However, this is indeed today’s headline, and I have to say they are taking a significant step in the right direction in terms of their integration of web3, the metaverse, and the DeFi community with their latest “Collezione Genesi” FW2021 collection. Presented across three of the top events in Italian Fashion- Alta Moda (the Italian equivalent of Haute Couture week), Alta Sartoria (the premier event for formal wear in Italy), and Alta Gioiellleria (featuring the best of fine jewelry), D&G announced their latest collection and NFT integration, via their first runway show in Venice on the 28th of this past August. 

 

 

WTF Dao member, Jamie Burke, had the opportunity to join the D&G team in Venice to get an exclusive preview of the collection alongside representatives from Polygon  According to Burke, “Having met their head of digital and their CEO- this is not a PR exercise- this is their first step into the metaverse, and they are very committed to it. So, it was interesting that there were some crypto people there, to the Polygon team, to me.” This group of tastemakers was comprised of top-tier representatives from the world of DeFi, placed together at the same table as a ‘genre’ along with other tables representing  Music, Film, Art, and other traditional creative industries. According to Burke, he felt as if his table “represented a new class, a new group of culture makers coming from the technical metaverse perspective.” It’s fantastic to hear that a brand as significant as D&G is properly embracing this new space and the people who make it all happen. 

 

 

This NFT project is a collaboration with UNXD- the latest play into the NFT/Web 3 space from a Conde Nast affiliate. According to the UNXD website, their team believes that “culture is currency, and NFTs have revolutionized the market around digital culture.”  This platform is a logical next step after Conde Nast’s global digital advertising agency CNX launched in 2018. This new organization has brought together some of the leading minds from “the luxury/culture and physical world,” intending to create NFTs that “bring ‘tangibility’ into the NFT space with a mission to “intertwine the digital and physical worlds.”

 

 

According to the COO of UNXD, Nick Gonzalez, “With this collection, Dolce & Gabbana [is] creating NFTs that bridge their creative work from the physical to the metaphysical.” Bringing “the metaphysical” into some of the longest-running mainstay fashion events in the world is, at the very least, provocative. However, the house managed to pull off their genesis collection poignantly and effectively. The collection itself pays homage to the city of Venice, where this season’s shows took place. After D&G’s first NFT offering launched this past June, with a sneaker release in collaboration with basketball player P.J. Tucker, the brand decided to launch itself full force into the metaverse. 

 

Sold using Ethereum, transacted on layer two solution Matic (AKA Polygon), UNXD is helping D&G take a massive step forward into the future. The show and collection are the embodiment of “phygital” AKA “digiphizzy,” AKA whatever you might prefer to call it.  In this web3 world, several big brands are beginning to make their marks in the metaverse, yet D&G has managed to produce a unique series of offerings that go beyond the realm of possibility. 

 

According to our man on the ground, Jamie Burke:

 

“[Dolce & Gabbana] very carefully thought about what can look good both physically and what will render well in gaming engines. I  particularly like the idea because they want the digital version to be experienced in as high-end of a manner as possible. Also, the fact that they let their purchasers, the winners of the auction, have two years to decide which virtual environment they want it realized in, so rather than force somebody to have to put it into Somnium or Decentraland now, where the quality is reduced, they have the option.

 

 

This is quite a step forward compared to other luxury brands attempting to make wearable plays, such as Gucci’s NFT sneakers. It seems as if the UNXD team has successfully taken pages out of the playbooks of other prominent luxury projects in the space. Similar to Damien Hirst and his “Currency” drop on Henny Leviathan, those who buy need to apply to do so.  According to UNXD, “Due to the historic nature of the collection, bidding for Collezione Genesi is open only to approved bidders in crypto or fiat.” This worked quite well for Hirst, who received over 60,000 applications for his 10,000 buyer slots, and will no doubt work well for D&G. Furthermore, similar to Hirst, who gave buyers one year in which to chose to keep the piece as an NFT or claim it as a physical, D&G is giving their buyers two years to decide where they would like their wearables to live. 

 

This is quite progressive and an excellent response to many critics finding issues with compromised quality of most early-stage metaverses.  Without a doubt, numerous metaverse platforms will be created and vastly improved in the coming years.  It will be interesting to see what buyers choose to do with their virtual fashion pieces. On top of the metaverse component, D&G sought to create pieces that existed outside of the confines of reality. In an arguably superior model to Hirst- five of the nine inaugural D&G NFTs will be claimable as both bespoke digital and physical garments. 

 

Furthermore, in addition to being incredible phygital garments wearable in both reality and the metaverse, these NFTs will act as access tokens to what they are calling the “D&G Family.” According to Jamie Burke, “Those who buy will gain access to both physical and virtual experiences; Catwalks, Front Row Seats, and the like.”  

If you are interested in throwing your hat into this high fashion ring, you can apply here to bid. According to UNXD, “Approved bidders will receive customized service including a personalized walkthrough of the collection and help with account setup and bidding.” And, as is the new norm with NFT projects, the buyer experience will not end there.  According to the team, “Winning collectors/hodlers can also be assured there will be more exclusive surprises for them in the future.”

 

Find out more in UNXD’s launch tweet thread here.

Apply to purchase a piece here

And for updates, follow D&G and UNXD on Twitter

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