The Council of Fashion Designers of America unveiled its very first NFTs on Thursday, ahead of the official launch on Dec. 12, as part of the organization’s broader metaverse initiative in honor of its 60th anniversary.
Featuring the work of seven fashion houses and designers, the exclusive, commemorative collection spotlights Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Vivienne Tam, Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera and Willy Chavarria. The digital 3D artwork will be on offer with starting bids of $15,000 or $25,000 until Dec. 16.
As only one of each style will be available on CFDA.bnv.me, these are rare digital collectibles, with proceeds going to the CFDA Foundation. The group partnered with MoonPay to handle transactions with its “white glove” concierge service, so it could make the experience as seamless as possible.
Notably, the tokens come with more than just the artwork. As utility NFTs, they also unlock special benefits, access or privileges. Descriptions provided to WWD by the CFDA outline the art, opening bids and perks as follows:
Coach: An expression of the craftsmanship that has always been at the heart of the Coach brand and a celebration of their beloved mascot, Rexy. Perks: Two tickets to a Coach holiday event hosted at Rockefeller Center, Tour of Coach Archives, Coach ReLoved Bag (Max $650 value). Opening bid: $25,000
Diane von Furstenberg: The timelessness of DVF’s prints and design are encompassed in their iconic wrap dress in an environment that is a celebration of DVF’s love for print and color and is a showcase for the brand’s DNA of print mixing, effortless design and bold colors. Perks: A customized DVF wrap dress (special embroidery) that mimics a dress from the simulation; Invitation to the opening of the exhibition for DVF in Brussels in April 2023 (not including travel); invitation to preview upcoming collections presented by Talita Von Furstenberg (co-chairman of DVF) and design team/design director; meet and greet with Diane von Furstenberg (format and timing TBD). Opening bid: $25,000
Michael Kors: “The Jet Set Ideal.” A beautiful destination, the perfect time of a day, a beaded dress that catches the breeze. Perks: Front-row seats for holder and a guest to attend one Michael Kors Collection fashion show and backstage meet and greet with Kors at the fashion show. Opening bid: $25,000
Tommy Hilfiger: Inspired by Tommy Hilfiger’s prep heritage and contemporized as a digital collectible, the featured “Hilfiger” rugby is a modern take on a brand classic. Perks: All expenses paid trip to the next Tommy Hilfiger fashion show with a guest; custom-made replica of the NFT rugby, signed by Mr. Tommy Hilfiger; personalized shopping package of five handpicked items by Mr. Tommy Hilfiger. Opening bid: $25,000
Vivienne Tam: Bringing the past, present and future together in one design, this NFT takes the form of a very traditional garment showcasing the designer’s Chinese heritage and features her friends from Bored Ape Yacht Club, shown in a Mandala pattern which represents the basic building blocks found throughout all of nature. Perks: One front-row seat for holder and a guest to next fashion show; one chance to come backstage at her next collection; one date to meet Vivienne and share her philosophy of healthy lifestyle and the impact on design and culture; one chance to join a design discussion to hear about an upcoming collection. Opening bid: $15,000
Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera: Creative director Wes Gordon turned to the unexpected use of denim, an iconic staple of American fashion, upon a Herrera evening silhouette. Evoking the inspiration of the spring 2023 collection Secret Garden, the team collaborated to feature this one-of-a-kind denim gown in a lush and beautiful garden setting. Perks: Physical dress (Floor-Length Spaghetti-Strap Empire-Waist Evening Gown in Denim Blue); atelier tour; one ticket to an upcoming fashion show with the opportunity to meet Wes Gordon. Opening bid: $25,000
Willy Chavarria: This NFT represents the spirit of the Willy Chavarria brand: the attitude and elegance in digital form, the confidence in the model’s walk, the intention of empowerment in one’s own being. Perks: Front-row seats for holder and a guest to attend one Michael Kors Collection fashion show and backstage meet and greet with Kors at the fashion show; a full Willy look selected by and styled by Willy; a 45-minute meeting with Willy (and his team if desired) virtual or in-person, depending on availability to discuss any collaboration or business opportunities; two tickets to 2023 CFDA Fashion Awards. Opening bid $15,000
To create the digital collection, the CFDA worked with Brand New Vision, an NFT platform that specializes in fashion assets. According to Richard Hobbs, Brand New Vision’s founder and chief executive officer, the firm describes its work as “building the framework for fashion brands to navigate their way into the metaverse and all the possibilities that Web 3.0 can offer to them.
“It was a great privilege to work with the CFDA to turn the spotlight on American fashion designers both emerging and established to lead the way,” he added.
Shortly after this drop, the other leg of the council’s maiden voyage into the metaverse will begin as well. On Dec. 19, its virtual exhibition in The Sandbox, titled “Fashioning the Shades of American Design,” will offer a retrospective spanning six decades.
“Seeing the commemorative NFTs and first fashion metaverse exhibition come together so creatively provides us with a glimpse into future possibilities and continued innovation for our industry,” said Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s CEO. “The CFDA looks forward to seeing how this space continues to evolve and grow.”
Curated by Darnell-Jamal Lisby, assistant curator of fashion at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibit will feature 60 looks from across the organization’s lifespan, but reimagined in a voxelated — read: visually blockish — environment. There will be a gaming aspect as well, inviting visitor participation.
“We have seen many European luxury brands playing in the metaverse so The Sandbox is thrilled to see some of the biggest names in American fashion enter the metaverse through a unique exhibit game experience in partnership with CFDA that takes our players through an iconic American fashion journey through the last 60 years,” said Arthur Madrid, cofounder and CEO of The Sandbox.
The exhibit will celebrate CFDA members past and present, with works sorted along five themes: “Illuminating a Fantasy,” “Illuminating Romance,” “Illuminating the Avant-Garde,” “Illuminating Understanding” and “Illuminating Soul.”
The CFDA’s announcement offered more detail: The event will feature “Stephen Burrows’ colorful layered lettuce hem dress created for the 1973 Battle of Versailles; Dapper Dan’s 1980s custom design for Hip-Hop legends Eric B & Rakim; a grunge look from Marc Jacobs’ famed Perry Ellis spring 1993 collection; an eclectic 1970s-inspired look from Anna Sui’s Fall 2000 collection, and a Thom Browne crinoline menswear ensemble from his spring 2020 collection.”
The organization called the exhibit “a snapshot” of the vast range and cultural breadth of American fashion. In that vein, it seems apropos that for its milestone anniversary, the CFDA would want to take a look back while also stepping forward into the digital future.