With the start of Crypto Fashion Week, designer Rebecca Minkoff is debuting her brand’s second NFT collection. But this time, the looks are designed to exist strictly in the metaverse.
“No physical garments will coincide with this collection,” says Minkoff, who recently sold her fashion label to Sunrise Brands for $13 million to $19 million.
“Instead, we’re focusing fully on digital, fantastical looks that still have the brand DNA.”
Minkoff is unveiling one piece from the new collection on the digital runway during Crypto Fashion Week, which kicks off today. The full line will then be available via The Dematerialised (DMAT), a marketplace for fashion NFTs, where customers can view, purchase and style their avatars. “We’re excited to take these garments and ensure they have more utility than prior drops,” says Minkoff.
The 41-year-old designer launched the company in 2005 with her cofounder and brother, Uri, who was previously CEO. Upon the sale to Sunrise, Uri took on a senior advisor role focusing on innovation and tech. Minkoff maintains her title as chief creative officer.
“There is no physics. So the weight of a garment, like a jewel-encrusted gown that would weigh hundreds of pounds in the real world could work in the metaverse.”
“Now we have the resources to invest in NFTs in a much larger way,” she says, of the Sunrise acquisition. “Eventually I see a world where there’s a division for this and something we can focus on, whether it’s separate or in-house drops”
Either way, Minkoff fully expects “NFTs will continue to be a part of our brand story. Akin to product development across bags and RTW, it will become an important part of the Rebecca Minkoff product umbrella.”
The new NFT line draws inspiration from the Greek philosophical concept of dunamis, which refers to power and potential. The Dunamis collection includes four digital looks: Athena, Venus, Aphrodite and Persephone.
In addition to its Greek goddess theme, the line pays homage to the company’s New York roots and signature CBGB-gone-chic aesthetic. Her Grecian-meets-Manhattanite looks—which include dresses, tops, bottoms and accessories—will be priced between $100 and $1400. Shoppers can pay in crypto.
Designing digital fashion is particularly freeing, Minkoff says, “because there is no physics. So the weight of a garment, like a jewel-encrusted gown that would weigh hundreds of pounds in the real world could work in the metaverse. When we got the opportunity to imagine, we said ‘Why not be fun, it’s fantasy, there are no rules, let’s play and explore.’”
Last fall, before the sale to Sunrise, Minkoff became a pioneer in the world of fashion NFTs when she dropped her first collection of digital garments for New York Fashion Week.
The Fall/Winter collection debuted at Spring Studios, a central hub for NYFW shows, with a series of streaming images shot by photographer Cass Bird. Each photo featured a special QR code that led to an augmented reality experience for live bidding.
The first collection of digital NFTs—which cost between $60 and $600—sold out in nine minutes. Minkoff declined to comment on total revenue from sales. “We weren’t expecting it but it proved there’s a bigger appetite for accessible luxury in the metaverse and it’s all about understanding that fine line between scarcity and opportunity,” she says, “and giving collectors a way to gain value and resell.”
Minkoff also believes NFTs “will transform the entire fashion industry in ways we can’t imagine.”
“This will affect inventory and the cost of garments,” she says. “And what will this do for supply issues, and the physical values of things?” For the buyer side, she envisions a world where an NFT dress can be used not just for one’s avatar, but instant dress-up for Instagram photos as well.
Minkoff’s debut at CFW signifies the designer’s continued desire to engage with Gen Z consumers. To further these efforts, her second NFT drop will also launch on Roblox, a metaverse platform, and host an eSports event within High Heel Obby, an obstacle course on Roblox that draws 10 million players each month.
By purchasing the NFTs via DMAT, each buyer will become members of the Rebecca Minkoff Metaverse world, with access to a Roblox-based eSports event on March 25. For the eSports event on High Heel Obby, both NFT holders and Roblox players can compete to style the Minkoff looks and win prizes from the brand.
While she’s pivoting for the next-gen via Web3, Minkoff will soon revisit her physical store strategy. “Brick-and-mortar is just not a goal for this year, it is more of a 2023 goal,” she says. “When we do re-enter brick-and-mortar, we are carefully thinking about what that will look like, but it will have an NFT loyalty component.” She also plans to return to New York Fashion Week this fall with a live show.
Minkoff also has no plans of abandoning her original customer base of Millennial women, whom she won over more than 16 years ago with her Morning After Bag and I Love New York Tee. “It’s our job to educate the consumer who buys an NFT from us and might not know where to take it, while growing that already educated audience,” she says. “It’s getting exposure to them in the metaverse while bringing the rest of our consumers along, it’s definitely straddling two worlds at once and hoping to connect them.”