NFT Weekly: Phygital goods- bridging the gap between high fashion and web3

A major component of fashion is balancing conformity with innovation — walking the fine line between appearing unique enough to be compelling but not absurd to the point of ridicule. Within this balancing act, high fashion identifies and defines industry boundaries. Setting boundaries is a dialectical relationship between the world surrounding the designer — it’s natural that innovation should be influenced by emerging technologies like NFTs.

Fashion brands have long flirted with NFTs; however, the fit has been awkward. Part of the pleasure of fashion is the inherently physical relationship individuals have with what they wear. Exclusively digital assets lack this quality so long as platforms, like the metaverse, are ill-developed to facilitate this expression. In this space, innovators and designers have introduced NFCs to NFTs to create phygital goods.

Near-Field Communication chips (NFCs) enable short-range wireless communication like you see in contactless payments. What some fashion houses are doing is connecting NFTs to NFCs, creating an intrinsic link between the NFT writ of ownership and the digital asset itself. In the past, the relationship between the NFT and any corresponding physical asset was more casual, with companies providing a physical good to those who had purchased an NFT. Historically, there was a limited enduring relationship. The NFC-NFT link creates a physical-digital link, bringing NFTs to the real world and creating a phygital good. This is being leveraged by many brands, including Cult & Rain.

While Stratisphere and most of the Web3 community hope that digital platforms like the metaverse will develop to the point that digital outfits can have value without a corresponding physical asset, there needs to be a realisation that widespread adoption isn’t there yet. In the meantime, linking digital assets to physical assets is an exciting move and one which has long-term promise. We look forward to seeing more phyigital goods developed.

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