NFT utility continues to captivate fashion and luxury brands — NFT Paris


Artists, designers and luxury brands are proving the real-world utility of nonfungible tokens and blockchain technology as NFT Paris attracted thousands of visitors to France’s capital.

The third edition of NFT Paris, hosted in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower at the Grand Palais Éphémère, showcased Web3’s increasing impact on various industries. Cointelegraph was on the ground to speak to individuals at the forefront of the growing intersection of blockchain technology and mainstream adoption.

Putting the fashion in NFT

Paris is synonymous with fashion, and NFT Paris was no exception. Attendees showcased impeccable taste and style matched with their growing appreciation for the technology driving innovation in the sector.

Brian Trunzo, Polygon Labs vice-president and head of business development, spoke to Cointelegraph during a walk through the exhibition hall. The former attorney, who also founded a successful fashion brand, now drives the onboarding of fashion brands to Polygon’s Ethereum-scaling layer-2 ecosystem.

Visitors gather for a fashion show during NFT Paris in Feb. 2024.

Before joining Polygon, Trunzo had been consulting large brands and exploring NFTs and blockchain use cases from 2017 onwards. The digital ownership exhibited Decentraland, CryptoKitties and Axie Infinity as well as in-game skins of League of Legends served as an example of the potential in these virtual environments.

Trunzo says that while fashion is “known to be an avant-garde and progressive industry,” the reality is that its cogs, from supply chain to design and retail, are decades old, slow and clunky:

“What captivated the minds of a lot of folks in fashion when it comes to Web3 is their ability to sell new stuff. You can only sell so many shirts or shoes.”

Trunzo adds the ruthless nature of the business, where growth and margins mean everything, is being disrupted by the idea that brands can sell digital items or digitize and improve processes.

“It breaks fashion people’s brains. They’re like, ‘we haven’t been able to sell something new since we invented hats.’ That’s kind of like the way they look at it.”

Polygon has directly engaged with major brands in the U.S., Europe and Asia that are building on its infrastructure. Trunzo says brands like Nike have pushed the envelope by developing their own Web3 platform Swoosh.

“On the back-end side, what LVMH, Prada, OTB and Mercedes are doing there with supply chain and product lifecycle is fascinating. To see an Aura tag inside a store is mind-blowing, knowing this was authenticated on a blockchain,” Trunzo explains.

Related: Polygon Labs and Warner Music Group push music industry Web3 evolution

Aura’s technology gives brands access to blockchain digital product passports. While these tags might not make sense to customers now, Trunzo believes this will change as blockchain technology becomes more ubiquitous.

Embraced by watchmakers

Polygon-powered NFT protocol Arianee has established itself as a significant player in the luxury brand space. Its protocol powers product passports and NFT functionality for several of the world’s most prominent brands.

Cointelegraph spoke to Arianee CEO Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel at NFT Paris, who said that the watchmaking industry in particular has embraced blockchain-based digital passports. He estimates that by the end of 2024, 30% of premium watches produced and sold worldwide would have on-chain product credentials:

“Wachmakers like the fact that people can follow the history of the product post-purchase and easily transfer the ownership to someone else while keeping contact with the watch.”

Hurstel said that the protocol was envisioned to create a circular relationship between companies, products and consumers underpinned by privacy-preserving functionality.

Arianee CEO Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel gives a keynote speech during NFT Paris.

“It’s the Arianee link. It’s this perpetual connection between a brand, an object and its different owners. They are also convinced that tokenized data infrastructure at the intersection of their products and users is the best infrastructure to build,” Hurstel adds.

Related: Luxury brand blockchain platform Arianee aims to scale, launches L2 on Polygon

Arianee chairman Frédéric Montagnon highlighted a myriad of benefits for brands and customers. Arianee’s app allows users to keep track of an item’s maintenance history and insurance, its provenance and previous ownership, and Web3 functionality, such as exclusive access to products or experiences.

Building community

Fashion brands have also looked to take advantage of the community-building aspect of Web3, with Metaverse platform The Sandbox a prime example.

The Sandbox co-founders Sebastien Borget and Arthur Madrid highlight more than 10 major fashion brands, including the likes of Gucci, Lacoste, LVMH and Adidas that have rewarded customers with digital assets and NFTs.

“They see The Sandbox as a platform for loyalty, engagement, community building and capturing their attention through all the earned media they generate on social media and the attention time they get from our audience,” Borget said.

Madrid added that Web3 also serves as an emerging avenue for young fashion designers to explore disruptive ways of launching products and engaging their audiences. Whether it is launching NFTs, art, digitized collections or metaverse-based experiences or collectibles.

Magazine: Singer Vérité’s fan-first approach to Web3, music NFTs and community building