NFTs are trending in fashion. Period. But not every reason is as glamorous as you might think.
Sure there are big name artists that already have a following and gravitas that can fetch millions in online auctions for their minted NFT pieces, but not every artist has such a following or can get that lucky.
There are also the emerging digital fashion houses like the popular RTFKT making virtual sneaker NFTs usable in metaverse environments. There are also traditional fashion houses discovering the fortune they would be able to make with NFT versions of real life items, as Gucci discovered. But these big entities only make up a fraction of the artists doing incredible work in the industry.
The big players are the ones that create the headlines and help legitimise the trade. But it's the small artists - the ones you and I have access to, and can have a dialogue with on instagram or virtual meetups, that will make NFTs a mainstay in culture.
All these trends and emerging digital environments have made the NFT space one that is very favourable to fashion artists, and artists in general. Here are two few reasons why.
1. Artists can grow faster with supercharged community engagement
When we stumble upon a new artist or work of art, the size and quality of the attracted and maintained community arguably affect how we perceive the artist's value - beyond the visuals or experience. That's one of the reasons why the audience is considered a powerful component of any art piece. Modern day designers rely on platforms like Instagram, Discord etc. to not only showcase their work, but also to gage the reception and legitimise their authenticity as an artist.
Regular posts from artist followed by comments, follows, shares, private DMs and ultimately the offer to purchase a work of art are all elements that show how active and healthy the community is. Now with NFTs, a extraordinary new dynamic has become more accessible: NFT marketplace auctions.
Auctions are a way of transferring not only ownership, but also the valuation of a work of art to an audience. People typically only invest in things they value, and take the time to carefully consider how much it's worth to them and why. That's why when someone places a bid, it says a lot to the community, and sends a powerful message of confidence and creates new value in that community.
2. Fashion designs can be pursued with greater Independence
NFTs enable virtual economies that make independent growth as a fashion designer a more sustainable and economically rewarding pursuit than ever before. As production costs are vastly reduced for the digital fashion artist, many are looking to NFTs as a ways of not only financing a pursuit of their own voice, but can also claim further royalties if their NFTs are further traded.
The artists that end up making it in the industry are the ones that find a voice that resonates well with an audience that sees the artist as someone that authentically "speaks" their language through their designs. A large group of people buy merchandise, branded clothing for that specific reason - it enables them to own or showcase a style that they want to associate with, or helps make them stand apart.
Styles that bring attention to voices from minority groups and different takes on trends can now get traction much more easily with the increased democratisation that NFT platforms afford. NFTs open up a way of contributing to the lives of fans by championing unique perspectives and enabling them to discover, own and use expressions they won't have been able to create on their own.
This ability to produce with low costs, and the freedom for an artist to focus on building a community of like-minded people, and a system of economic-patronage has made working as an independent fashion designer much more achievable.
There are many more possible reasons why artists would love the NFT space, including how NFTs greatly enhance what is possible creatively. Take a look around, and when you see a fashion artist in love with what they are doing, you'll find an artist ready to fall in love with the NFT space, if they aren't already.