Web3-born luxury fashion label Cult & Rain today launched its new phygital collection “Drop 002” in partnership with Ltd.inc and digital wardrobe marketplace DressX. The project will tie exclusive luxury physicals to digital assets that live on the blockchain, allowing the item to exist beyond its tangible boundaries.
“Our community has been asking us for a full wardrobe. And we decided to answer that call and produce the best collection we could do,” Director of Marketing and Communications for the label Andy Griffiths told Jing Daily.
To further enhance cross-format connectivity, the 401 specially-designed hoodies on offer are each embedded with an near-field communication (NFC) chip, allowing holders to access a 3D AR animated non-fungible token (NFT) (created in collaboration with DressX) and exclusive entry to the brand’s world through an app powered by tech partner Ltd.inc. It also facilitates product authentication, resale opportunities, and end-to-end communication perks.
The collection was formulated using three pillars of technology — artificial intelligence, augmented reality and near-field communication — each currently generating media headlines and social buzz for their innovation potential.
NFC chips are the latest booming use-case for brands exploring the metaverse. Thanks to its revolutionary take on authentication and ownership, near-field communication technology is allowing fashion brands to bolster their product value and enhance consumer offerings.
It’s also a way for luxury businesses to leverage their resale market and secondary revenue for both online and offline assets.
“Blockchain technology will enable brands in the future to receive a cut of physical trades on a brand new secondary marketplace, and Cult & Rain will be one of the first to capitalize on this groundbreaking model,” George Yang, Founder & CEO of the label said in the launch’s press release.
Web3-born fashion labels like Cult & Rain (including Gmoney’s luxury lifestyle platform 9dcc and Cathy Hackl’s debut Frillz project) have fully embraced the burgeoning technology. Thanks to their native understanding of the space, they have been able to seamlessly deploy the tech with confidence and craft a successful connected-product experience. The tech is, however, yet to take off among luxury’s mainstream players.
That isn’t to say traditional brands aren’t curious about new advancements. Over the past year, a number of fashion giants have turned to rapidly rising technologies like artificial intelligence as a tool for inspiration — and it’s likely only just the beginning.
While Christopher Kane unveiled his own series of AI-generated prints on dresses during London Fashion Week, denim powerhouse Levi’s also announced this month that it would be using artificial intelligence to help diversify its models and bolster its consumer inclusivity.
Recognizing the explosion in popularity of programs like ChatGPT, Cult & Rain too opted to use artificial intelligence for the final version of the hoodies. Yang explains that he ran a series of keywords relating to his vision through the generative system. But he makes it clear that the brand is using the application to enhance the creative process, rather than replace it.
“There’s this misconception with AI that you run through some keywords and it spits out the perfect image. It’s still so infantile, it still takes the human taste to fine tune and create exactly what you want, and that’s what we had to do when it came to the textures and details and colors,” Griffiths says.
As seen with NFTs last year, brands are willing to jump onto hype as a way of capitalizing on widespread buzz. But becoming overly reliant on novel technology like artificial intelligence runs the risk of short-lived results and audience backlash — the latter largely down to unabating consumer reticence.
But Cult & Rain is optimistic that it has found the perfect medium, and that its latest drop is proof of that. “We believe in this technology, and we believe in the future of it,” Yang says.