You LUKSO good!

  • When it comes to fashion, physical gratification is quickly being replaced by virtual (mental) gratification.
  • Perhaps, this change is more than just a dopamine hit.
  • Metaverse, a perceived virtual universe consisting of shared 3D virtual spaces, is catching on as a way of life.

As the pandemic expanded our virtual realms in nearly every field, the metaverse increasingly became an accepted reality. Companies are now consciously building virtual headquarters, as the work-from-home (WFH) model is here to stay. How much can fashion catch up to this trend? After all, it is an industry that almost solely relies on physical products.

On the surface, a major observable change was that people bought less outside wear, office clothes, loungewear and party wear in favour of pajamas and comfort wear. However, deep down, a major transformation was taking place in the way the fashion industry functions and is viewed.

There are now online markets for virtual fashion, or crypto clothing, where one does not get to physically wear a purchased item, but one virtually tries it on, while keeping it as an NFT (non-fungible token) with future value.

The connection of digital fashion and NFTs

Digital fashion refers to the virtual design of clothes using 3D software. It is an interplay between digital technology and couture. Due to digital fashion technology, designers can create hyper-realistic 3D digital garments, at the design or manufacturing stage, without using (or wasting) any amount of cloth in the process.

That way, designers can easily prototype a fashion garment, experiment with different colours, or looks, on a screen, before manufacturing it. It is also sustainable for an industry that accounts for a major portion of the water pollution that comes from production unit emissions.

But here is the blockchain twist in the tale. Each time a digital fashion piece is bought, or changes hands, metaphorically speaking, a designer or brand always gets a share of the copyright, as it is enforced automatically through programming on the blockchain.

How does that happen? Virtual garments can be sold as NFTs, whose royalties can be programmed to apply for their entire lifetime. In short, NFT technology provides both buyers and designers/brands with a stamp of authenticity. When you create an NFT, you mint a token on a blockchain. On that token, you can include metadata that mentions the name of the smart contract that created the NFT, the time and date it was created/established and the number of items in circulation. This verifies its provenance and authenticity.

As an example, Nike obtained a patent to “tokenize” shoes in 2019 on the Ethereum blockchain. The intention was to use the patent to track the shoe holders and use blockchain to verify the authenticity of the shoes. When a buyer buys those shoes, they will use a 10-digit digital tag, attached to the shoes, to link with the buyer’s digital identification code. This will unlock and generate a unique NFT, which will act as proof of ownership.

Some brands, leading this virtual fashion revolution, include The Fabricant, Carling, Tribute Brand, Hanifa, Dress X and H&M. The Fabricant is a virtual fashion-only brand that has collaborated with industry-leading brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Soorty, whose fashion garments are free to download.

The fashion industry may be de-materialised?

You read that right. Fashion is being de-materialised thanks to enablers such as LUKSO and The Dematerialised. You are now dealing in clothes without physical (or material) form.

LUKSO is a blockchain company that was created by a former Ethereum developer, Fabian Vogelsteller. Vogelsteller is also the author of ERC20 and web3.js, which are the foundations of today’s decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. He joined forces with his wife, Marjorie Hernandez Vogelsteller, and a PR strategist, who co-founded Silk Relations, Silke Bolms​, to create a transparent, decentralized ecosystem, where real-life products have digital identities that authenticate their creator, previous owners and order in a production batch.

Speaking about the need for platforms such as LUKSO, Hernandez Vogelsteller told Forbes, a “new wave of economies is being created around blockchain, catering to consumers who don’t just want to buy products. They want to buy immersive experiences. Instead of simply owning products, they want their purchases to give them access to communities.”

Lukso provides a blockchain structure that offers a series of standards and solutions for physical and digital consumer goods. This helps bring about transparency and circularity for the consumption of goods. Transparency is crucial in the fashion industry, because counterfeiting costs designers more than $450bn a year. With LUKSO’s technology platform, the authenticity of a fashion product can be cross-checked due to the easy availability of authenticity certificates, or digital identities, attached to a specific product.

LUKSO provides a virtual space for fashion and lifestyle organizations, brands and content creators to exist and engage with their target consumers and the broader fashion industry. It is a multiverse blockchain network that combines fashion, design, social media and gaming. It allows developers and creatives, such as designers or content creators, to dictate the distribution of wealth and influence from lifestyle activities. These users can create something called Universal Public Profiles, digital identities, certificates or Tokenized Communities.

What does it mean for the fashion world?

LUKSO enables the creation of virtual worlds, the mapping of physical commodities to virtual networks, through digital twin technology, and uses blockchain to bring authenticity to virtual commodities. That means LUKSO will provide a public-network environment, where users are able to view virtual fashion and lifestyle stores. This will serve as the digital twin (not just their pictures) of the actual physical items that would have their own independent identities. Fashion brands, wishing to test a product, could simply create a product’s virtual twin and see the traffic it is generating on its profile. Based on how users feel about that product, the brand can then decide how much of it to manufacture. This would cut costs drastically. This is just one of the many benefits for fashion brands, as they can also trade virtual-only products on the platform.

Through LUKSO’s mobile application, users would be able to create a universal profile on a blockchain. This is a universal profile that would be applicable for all the applications built on LUKSO. Users will be able to create their own digital avatars and digital wardrobes by collecting digital items using tokens. They will be able to buy, transfer or collect such goods, choosing to get them delivered in physical form or just keeping their products’ digital twins and trading them later.

Fashion brands can confidently trade virtual goods or clothes, inside virtual worlds, without fear of being copied or losing money on the copyright/royalty.

Web 3 is the new web incarnate

The next incarnation of the world wide web is Web 3.0 or Web3, which is a decentralised network where people (and AI) can interact with data and counterparties through peer-to-peer networks, without any third parties. Web3 will have decentralized apps and marketplaces that run on blockchain. Welcome to a democratised internet where no company will be able to serve you ads by stealing your personal data.

A company named The Dematerialised created a Web3 marketplace for authenticated virtual goods. It is mainly an experiential (virtual) marketplace for digital fashion NFTs powered by the LUKSO blockchain. This platform can now be used by fashion creators and consumers to transact fashion NFTs. The Dematerialised uses LUKSO’s system called Universal Profile. When a buyer purchases a fashion NFT, or any other type of NFT, they just need to set up a profile, which then gets linked to their Dematerialised account, where the NFTs will be stored safely. Fashion enthusiasts can buy NFTs using their usual debit or credit cards or they can use Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDC and DAI.

The Dematerialised is an invite-only 3-D space. The invitees get a magic code to access the space. The moment they fill in the code, their screen will show a 3-D space where they are able to view and digitally experience garments or clothes. When they click through a product, they will see the face of the designer/creator and also learn about their creative process. The users will have the option to import such garments in their own given space, using Augmented Reality (AR) to zoom in the detail. Each of these virtual goods will be released as tokens (NFTs) that have a unique identifier. Users will be able to buy, transfer or collect such virtual goods.

In February 2021, a Croatian digital fashion brand called Tribute Brand released its digital fashion garments, as NFTs, exclusively on The Dematerialised. Tribute Brand emerged during the pandemic as a new genre of fashion called contactless cyber fashion. Their first virtual collection, called The Real Deal, featured six fashion NFTs that users could buy or collect.

Conclusion
For fashion designers and brands, this may be the most sustainable solution to sell their creations, as NFTs, and earn royalty for purchases. The cost of creating fashion decreases drastically, while they are able to make money through their virtual designs. For buyers, this is a whole new way of experiencing fashionable clothes whose value may increase or decrease with time. Users may now have their own fashionable avatars, called universal profiles, that they can use to access 3-D gaming zones or attend virtual offices or hang out in new virtual hang-outs. Imagine, your virtual avatar could choose a virtual garment and attend a virtual hang-out! That is now a reality.

Nothing in this article constitutes professional and/or financial advice. The content is provided exclusively for informational and/or educational purposes. Nothing is to be construed as an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any type of asset. Seek independent professional advice in regards to financial, tax, legal and other matters.

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