Can NFTs Rescue Dolce & Gabbana in China?

Key Takeaways:

  • Dolce & Gabbana is partnering with UNXD to launch an exclusive NFT collection.

  • A collaboration with a Chinese visual artist, KOL or vlogger would have been a more appropriate NFT option than Collezione Genesi.

  • Dolce & Gabbana’s NFT experiments don’t create value and aren’t in line with the social zeitgeist in China.

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are the latest craze in the luxury world. And while key figures in the retail industry continue to debate the potential of blockchain and how to harness the full power of NFTs, some industry players are already a few steps ahead of the pack. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Prada Group, and Compagnie Financière Richemont have launched AURA. Burberry and Mythical Games have collaborated to launch exclusive NFTs featured in Blankos Block Party. And RTFKT — a digital luxury label renowned for viral golden sneakers — is the first brand to set foot in the NFT luxury space.

Indisputably, these are pioneering luxury brands known for mapping the road ahead for innovation; hence, this isn’t a surprise move. However, the fact that Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana has joined the NFT party is unexpected. The Italian duo behind the Dolce & Gabbana label is more known for tax evasion scandals, questionable ad campaigns, and racist Instagram exchanges than an embrace of disruptive technologies, crypto, or innovation. And yet, Dolce & Gabbana is partnering with UNXD to launch an exclusive NFT collection, according to Cointelegraph.

The collection, called Collezione Genesi (Genesis Collection), will be highlighted in the upcoming shows for Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria, and Alta Goilleria in Venice and will focus on artistic traditions from Venice.

The designer duo found inspiration for the initial concept of the collection in a dream from Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana called L’abito dei Sogni (Dress from a Dream). Cointelegraph highlights that additional NFTs in the Collezione Genesi will be disclosed closer to the date of the Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria, and Alta Goilleria shows.

By entering the NFT realm, Dolce & Gabbana made a masterful move that will surely help it boost its clientele pool. However, that doesn’t mean the backlash against the designer duo will dial down in China.

Young, hyper-connected Chinese consumers see value in owning non-fungible assets, especially those endorsed by luxury houses. But Dolce & Gabbana will have a hard time cracking that market. Not only do they have to overcome a big PR disaster and appear as a reformed brand, but they also have to discern market trends and understand the new direction of the Chinese market. Since the Italian label rarely changes its design direction of collections heavily inspired by Italy and the “dolce vita” lifestyle, that could be a difficult endeavor.

Moreover, since Dolce & Gabbana was left high and dry in China, genderless fashion and streetwear have begun winning over locals. And Dolce & Gabbana stands as the opposite of these styles. Its highly curated and extravagant designs are an ode to femininity, which is the opposite pole of genderless fashion.

And while the brand carries some sweatshirts, graphic tees, and trunks, those designs don’t stand out on their own. Accordingly, they cannot compete with immensely popular brands like Supreme and Off-White, which understand China’s youth culture and strongly connect with skateboard-loving teens, who are a big part of the new luxury consumer segment.

D&G is known for its bold, contemporary style, as seen in its collaboration with basketball star P.J. Tucker (left) and leopard print accessories line. Photo: D&G’s Weibo

As for the launch of Collezione Genesi, the Italian duo made another miscalculation. It is highly doubtful that young Chinese consumers are interested in owning an NFT from designers associated with racist outbursts.

If Dolce & Gabbana thought blockchain and NFTs would be a successful strategy for its business comeback in China, they should have created a more personalized and up-to-date blueprint. For obvious reasons, a collaboration with a Chinese visual artist, KOL, or vlogger would have been more appropriate. Additionally, Dolce & Gabbana could have incorporated the NFTs into a video game, taking full advantage of Gen Z’s love of gaming.

It is safe to say that L’abito dei Sogni won’t redeem Dolce & Gabbana in China. Moreover, the designer duo seems poised to fall into oblivion in The Middle Kingdom, considering their NFT experiments won’t create value and aren’t in line with the social zeitgeist.


Fashion, Tech