Digital fashion has been at the forefront of conversations in the fashion industry for over a year now. Brands big and small have launched NFTs, shown collections in the metaverse and explored the crossover between digital and physical fashion thoroughly.
What was once uncharted territory for fashion brands is now swiftly becoming a familiarity. While much of digital fashion’s future is still being mapped out, brands like Rebecca Minkoff, who began experimenting with the digital world last year, are learning from past NFT drops and figuring out what works best for their strategy.
For example, Rebecca Minkoff, which dropped its first NFT collection in September of 2021 to coincide with NYFW, is releasing its second NFT collection today. Minkoff said the second collection is heavily informed by what she learned from the first attempt.
“The biggest thing is just volume,” Minkoff said. The original drop was only 300-500 units, all of which sold out within nine minutes.
“We didn’t want to invest too much without knowing what the demand would be like,” she said. “But if I knew then that it would be so popular, we could have increased it to 1,000 units.”
Still, even after the success of the first drop, Minkoff said she’s trying to keep the relative investment of resources low.
“I’m sure everyone on my team wishes there was a separate team dedicated to this, but right now, we’re just splitting the duties between our existing team and our [outside] partners,” Minkoff said.
For this new collection, Minkoff partnered with a women-owned digital fashion marketplace called The Dematerialized. The four designs were created in collaboration with designers from The Dematerialized who combined their digital fashion expertise with the Rebecca Minkoff team’s physical fashion knowledge. Minkoff said she won’t hire a dedicated NFT team until the brand has more experience in the space and the return-on-investment is proven.
Compared to the first NFT drop, this new collection contains more outlandish designs, the kind that would be impossible to make in a real collection of clothes.
“Why does it need to be anything real?” Minkoff said. “Why be bound by the laws of physics? We’re trying to let the creativity loose on this one and explore what’s only possible with digital fashion.”
Minkoff didn’t disclose the exact number of units being sold in this drop but said it’s considerably more than the 300-500 of her first drop. All will be sold through The Dematerialized.
Coinciding with the drop, Rebecca Minkoff will also be launching in Roblox later this month. Purchasing one of the NFTs will also give buyers access to a private eSports event hosted by Rebecca Minkoff in Roblox on March 25.
The use of NFTs as a token that grants additional benefits, like access to the private event, is an evolution of how fashion is using NFTs. Minkoff said the brand is still experimenting with whether NFTs should be considered a money-making product in and of themselves or as a marketing tool that can lead buyers to attend brand events and buy actual clothes.
Minkoff suggested that brands that are new to the space think carefully about using this technology, rather than blindly follow what other brands are doing. For example, NFTs could be used as a pre-order token to raise money for a collection of physical goods, which are traded for the NFT once they’re produced, almost like running a crowdfunding campaign.
“Right now, everyone is just throwing spaghetti at the wall,” Minkoff said. “This industry is known for jumping on bandwagons, but right now, it’s still unclear what exactly will work for each brand. Every brand is different. Not all are the right fit for digital merchandise.”
For some brands, NFTs aren’t the right fit no matter how they’re used, as evidenced by the pushback MeUndies received from their audience, which widely criticized the brand’s purchase of a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT. MeUndies canceled its NFT plans in the wake of the backlash.