Photo credit: Carlijn Jacobs x Pop

From experiential E-commerce to NFT’s, what’s making waves in the world of Fashion and Tech?

In an era of rapid digitisation, Fashion and Tech are becoming ever more integrated to enhance the consumer experience.

The fusion of these two worlds was already well underway, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and with much of our lives having been lived out behind a screen for the past year, the digital world has become increasingly intrinsic to our daily (and social!) lives. Savvy brands are harnessing the desire to engage virtually, whether that be through on-screen activations, phygital experiences or experiential e-commerce.

With lockdowns remaining in place in many parts of the world, physical launches remain somewhat impossible, meaning brands are having to find new ways to create hype and ramp up the digital shopping experience for customers.

Take the new Simone Rocha x H&M collaboration for instance. To coincide with the launch, the brands released an AR pop-up lookbook, accessible via a QR code. This directed potential customers to a portal full of elaborate animations, bringing the collection to life and meaning customers could experience the clothing in a far more visceral way.

In February Machine A, a contemporary London-based independent boutique, also took a similar tack, teaming up with the Institute of Digital Fashion on what ShowStudio called a move that “bridges the space between IRL and URL”. The collaboration saw the creation of an AR store “offering a selection of London’s most exciting designers a unique space in which to showcase their A/W 21 collection.”

With the future of runways and showrooms in question, shareable augmented reality experiences that can be activated through various social platforms will become less of a novelty, and instead blend seamlessly into customer journeys.

Now, whilst phygital experiences and AR might seem incredibly future-focused for many, tech-savvy Gen-Z’ers who are already well versed in this new digital-first landscape are already moving on to the next big thing, NFT’s.

So what is an NFT? According to the BBC, NFTs or non-fungible tokens “are ‘one-of-a-kind’ assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but they have no tangible form of their own” They are in essence, “digital tokens that can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets.”

Said to be revolutionising the art world, NFT’s are already garnering real pace within Fashion too, particularly within the sneaker space.

Last month, a digital sneaker collab between crypto brand RTFKT and artist FEWOCiOUS caused a buzz after they announced they’d garnered $3.1 million in sales from selling NFT’s of their collaboration — not bad considering customers have nothing physical to show for their purchase. Then, hot on their heels, Gucci has now announced that they too will release their own NFT sneaker created with fashion-tech brand Wanna.

In a world where drop culture and scarcity of ownership appeal so greatly to groups such as sneakerheads and art collectors, you can see why NFT’s are causing such a frenzy, and with Forbes reporting that the entire NFT market has increased 705% from $42 million 3 years ago, to £338 million by the end of 2020, you can’t deny that Blockchain-championing crypto-investors are most definitely on to something.

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