NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, give digital items a unique digital identity, assigned via blockchain. This means digital items take on properties once relegated to physical goods, such as scarcity and unique ownership. The first recorded sale of a fashion NFT was the iridescent dress created by The Fabricant and sold for the equivalent of $9,500 in May 2019. The first luxury brand entrant was Gucci’s Aria film, auctioned for $25,000 in May 2021.
Since then, a growing number of brands have introduced a wide variety of NFT projects, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Nars, Levi’s, Clinique, Dolce & Gabbana, Gap and Adidas. Balmain has released at least four NFT projects and counting. Data collected for the Vogue Business Index shows that 17 per cent of brands in the Index had worked with NFTs as of Winter 2021. Already, strategies have matured from art projects and digital collectibles to tokens that grant special perks through elaborate partnerships and structures. “It’s going to take time to find the right utility for NFTs, but brands need to start now,” Cathy Hackl, CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group, recently told Vogue Business.