One of the bigger NFT activations of the week was Keys to NYFW, a project led by Afterpay that drew participation from designer brands, including The Blonds and Kim Shui. Guests could buy $100 NFTs that would then get them into the designer’s shows. The experiment proved there’s still work to be done in incorporating NFT holders into runway shows: two separate holders said that they were left waiting outside the Kim Shui show for an hour and ultimately not given access.
Janey Park, a Web3 content creator and strategy consultant, bought an NFT to attend Shui’s show and an NFT to attend The Blonds’ after party. “I know how walled off the shows actually are, so I was super excited,” she said. However, after RSVPing twice and receiving a standing-room ticket, she didn’t get into the Shui show. After reaching out to organisers, she was ultimately offered a refund and given tickets to an alternative show.
The experience left Park worried about how hiccups like these might negatively influence early perceptions. “People have this belief that NFTs are a scam, and this was a way to onboard fashion people into Web3 and Web3 people into fashion.” In the future, she thinks it would be smart for holders to have a dedicated entrance and other perks, such as digital wearables.
Utility fulfilment — meaning delivering on the experience that the NFT unlocks — can hit snags, says Joe Smith, co-founder of Web3 agency Gmgn Labs, which worked on the artwork, smart contracts and website for the project, but was not on-site at the shows and didn’t arrange how the in-person fulfilment would be handled. “With fulfilment often occurring ‘off-chain’, and relying upon various third parties, sometimes circumstances arise that negatively impact utility fulfilment,” Smith says. “Minimising the risk of such issues will be an important step in improving non-crypto natives’ onboarding experience into the NFT space.” A spokesperson for Afterpay said, “Due to high interest, the venue filled in record time, which impacted the check-in process for a select few of the NFT holders,” and that refunds and “make-good” experiences were provided after the fact. (Kim Shui did not reply to a request for comment.)
One of the week’s biggest Web3 successes took place on Roblox, the virtual world platform that has become a go-to partner for fashion brands like Gucci and Burberry. Carolina Herrera turned one of its Spring/Summer 2023 gowns worn by Karlie Kloss into a digital dress available for purchase on Roblox immediately following the show. A week later, the digital dress was resold for $5,000 on the virtual world platform. Kloss, who had a hand in the project, said the pilot is “only scratching the surface” of what is planned to continue to bridge these worlds. For now, they still feel at arm’s length.
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