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MSCHF trolls fashion with designer bags

shopping-bags-mschf-onlybags-thefutureparty
ONLYBAGS // Courtesy of MSCHF

MSCHF trolls fashion with designer bags

The Future. MSCHF — the artist collective responsible for satirizing troublesome tech innovations and runaway consumer culture — is now selling empty shopping bags from luxury brands so you can pretend that you’re rich and famous. Of course, the product isn’t what matters here, but rather the hype around the product… a concept that may be making the MSCHF team the foremost chroniclers of the absurdities in modern society.

Brand stand
MSCHF has returned to poke fun at our empty class signifiers.

  • The internet provocateur is dropping a collection called “ONLYBAGS,” which is literally just empty bags from brands like Fendi, Prada, Supreme, and Rolex.
  • The purpose is to skew the idea that walking around with luxury bags (even sans merch) denotes power, wealth, and status.
  • The twelve different retail shopping bags are available for $40 each on the ONLYBAGS website.

Did MSCHF get any of these brands’ permission to use the bags? Of course not! The collective might get sued, just like how Nike did… but that will only raise even more hype for the bags.

Showcase
MSCHF is known for its drop manifestos, and this one doesn’t disappoint: “If there’s one thing we know from acquiring our bag samples, it’s that strolling down the street laden with (empty, of course!) Balenciaga, Valentino, Rolex, et al. is one hell of a power trip.”

That superficial power trip is exactly what MSCHF hopes to satire, and there’s plenty of real-world evidence to prove that they are right on the money. Celebrities on shopping sprees are routinely photographed by paparazzi, and luxury shopping bags are even resold online for high premiums. At the end of the day, people just want to feel like they can own something ridiculously expensive.

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Kanye bridges the Gap with Balenciaga

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YeezyGapBalenciaga // llustration by Kate Walker

Kanye bridges the Gap with Balenciaga

The Future. Kanye West is bringing together the very different powers of Gap and Balenciaga under one collection. The mysterious “Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga” capsule is set to roll out this summer and will have a focus on accessibility — so if you want whatever it’ll be, you’ll get it. But what the collab may truly signal is that the lines between high fashion and low fashion can be blurred as long as celebrity and nostalgia are involved.

Transatlantic threads
Kanye is seeing if he can mix oil and water with a new collaboration between American-mall mainstay Gap and European fashion house Balenciaga.

  • The Yeezy x Gap x Balenciaga collab is called “Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga” (that’s a mouthful).
  • There’s been no announcement as to what will actually be sold (or which logo will be front and center), but the first clothes are set to drop in June, with another line set to drop later in the year.

Never in a million years would anyone have imagined Gap and Balenciaga working together, and Kanye is an interesting Venn diagram between the two polar-opposite brands.

Kanye has a ten-year-long contract with Gap that was inked last year. Meanwhile, Ye has become close collaborators with Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, working together on the rapper’s Donda listening parties.

Drop the scarcity
The most interesting aspect of the collab is that it will be focused on accessibility — or, as Ye tells Vogue, “available to everyone at all times.” That’s a 180 from the prevailing streetwear and fashion strategy of creating scarcity in order to drive up the hype.

Does this mean you’ll find a YeezyGapBalenciaga shirt for $19.99 at your local Marshall’s in the near future? Maybe! Or, the brands simply won’t be able to manufacture enough clothes to meet demand, and prices will still skyrocket on StockX (Ye’s $200 Gap Round Jacket is reselling for $7,500 currently). Either way, Kanye is innovating once again.

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Nike goes into robot-fighting mode

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Nike SNKRS // Illustration by Kate Walker

Nike goes into robot-fighting mode

The Future. Nike is finally going to war against the quick-checkout bots that are scoring most of the product on the brand’s hypebeast-focused SNKRS app and angering the community of actual flesh-and-blood sneakerheads. While Nike tries to get ahead of the problem now to make sure the community doesn’t ditch the platform… coming crypto-backed tokens could ensure that only people who complete certain tasks or have a verified identity can purchase shoes.

Swoosh defense squad

Real humans are tired of losing out on hot shoes to legions of bots (who don’t even have feet). And Nike knows that it’s “at risk” of losing its best customers.

So here’s what the brand is doing about it:

  • It’s hiring engineers to build out the app’s new anti-bot protections.
  • It rolled out “elevated exclusive access,” which sends out personalized purchasing opportunities.
  • CEO John Donahoe said the exclusive access invites pinpoint people” based on criteria like their engagement with SNKRS and past purchase attempts. 
  • Nike is also debuting a “dedication score,” which will (vaguely) “reward member groups with high product affinity.”

Nike said in a statement that it is “fully committed to making sure that our real, loyal consumers are the ones who get fair access to our products.”

The real customer is always right

Nike has known for a while that bots have become a huge issue on the platform… but now it can no longer afford for the issue to go unchecked.

  • Digital sales now account for 25% of Nike’s revenue.
  • SNKRS users increased by 56% in the past year, and demand was up 70%.
  • Yet, Nike only met 7% of that demand.
  • So, as a result, only 20% of users thought the app was fair, which Nike said was making the community become “disenfranchised.”

A leaked internal Nike presentation stated that “High heat, hype is ‘killing the culture’ and consumers are migrating towards New Balance and smaller, independent brands.” That level of disappointment just isn’t sustainable for Nike’s growing digital ambitions.

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Nike boxes up RTFKT

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Courtesy of RTFKT

Nike boxes up RTFKT

The Future. Nike has acquired NFT shoe tastemaker RTFKT, which will help the storied shoe brand enter the metaverse in a big way. By partnering with RTFKT, Nike may look at the digital sneaker revolution. Not just as a great way to roll out digital sneakers on virtual platforms but also as a potential augment to its existing shoes with AR overlays, transforming any Nike shoe into something even more imaginative.

Digital swoosh
Nike wants you to get your kicks on the blockchain.

  • Nike has acquired NFT shoe company RTFKT for an undisclosed amount.
  • While specific details of the partnership also haven’t been revealed, it’s safe to say that RTFKT’s tech could give Nike a strong avenue into both virtual sneakers and outfitting the metaverse.

RTFKT, which is only one year old, is already on a hot streak, selling its first pair of sneakers back in October 2020 for 30 ETH (roughly $115,000) and selling another collection in February 2021 for $3.1 million.

Nike, on the other hand, has been tip-toeing its way into the metaverse, including pulling back the curtain on its fitness-focused Nikeland (a digital recreation of its Beaverton, Oregon HQ) inside Roblox, and also a slim roster of digital sneakers.

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adidas slips on Bored Ape Yacht Club for NFTs

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Courtesy of Bored Ape Yacht Club

adidas slips on Bored Ape Yacht Club for NFTs

The Future. adidas is teasing a big NFT collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club, perhaps the most recognizable name in NFTs outside of Beeple. But it’s all just part of the their bigger foray into the metaverse, which may see the revered shoe and apparel brand open up an interactive, shoppable, digital world.

Try-ons
adidas is taking a step into digital fashion.

  • The shoe brand is partnering with NFT all-stars Bored Ape Yacht Club, NFT comic series Punk Comics, and crypto investor Gmoney on… something.
  • While neither party has released any details of the collab, they’ve published a teaser image of one of the now-famous Bored Apes donning a jacket with the logos of all involved.

Go big or go home
adidas seems up to be brewing up something big when it comes to its entrance into the coming metaverse. Here are some recent developments:

  • The brand offered a limited number of tokens via a Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP), which was mostly scooped up by adidas CONFIRMED app members.
    • adidas simply told users to “keep it safe — it may come in handy.”
  • It bought land in the open-world blockchain game The Sandbox.
  • It partnered with the exchange platform Coinbase.

adidas’ month-long tease comes on the heels of rival Nike’s big jump into the metaverse. Nike recently announced a roster of digital sneakers and its own fitness-focused metaverse platform, Nikeland.

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Sustainable fashion tries on digital clothes

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Digital clothes

Sustainable fashion tries on digital clothes

The Future. People are starting to invest less in their closets and more in digital clothes. This new fashion trend uses AR technology, allowing people to virtually “try on” and wear styles that they can show off on social media. It is more affordable, more sustainable, and allows people to flaunt a more adventurous sense of style.

A major fashion emergency

Increasingly, fashion’s sustainability crisis has made headlines. Startling statistics underscore the waste that the industry produces.

  • We produce almost twice the amount of clothing today compared to 20+ years ago.
  • 20% of global wastewater is produced by the fashion industry. To break that down further, the production of one pair of jeans and a t-shirt requires 5,000 gallons of water.
  • 4 million tons of textiles go to waste annually, while 10% of global carbon emissions come from the fashion production cycle.

Now, digital fashion can help unearth solutions. By allowing consumers to change up their wardrobes frequently without any physical production, digital fashion is a major win for the industry.

Digital fashion dreams 
Emerging designers can also benefit from the digital fashion movement. They can kick start their career in the digital space without the physical production costs that keep many from turning their dreams into reality. Not to mention, with people switching up their styles more frequently, new designers are more likely to be noticed and digitally “worn.”

Nike Patents Reveal Future Metaverse Plans

Nike gets fit for the metaverse

Nike Patents Reveal Future Metaverse Plans
Nike Metaverse // Illustration by Kate Walker

Nike gets fit for the metaverse

The Future. Some of Nike’s patent filings over the past few years unbox a long-in-the-works play for the metaverse, including digital sneakers, NFT “cryptokicks”, and avatars that can compete for virtual gear. With Microsoft working on its own interoperable avatars for the metaverse, Nike could soon outfit an entire digital ecosystem.

“Cryptokicks”
Here are a few of the things Nike is stitching up for the metaverse:

  • User-avatars that can wear digital Nike clothes and also complete tasks to earn gear using Nike’s athletic-tracking devices.
  • “Cryptokicks” — digital sneakers that correspond to a real, physical pair. The digital sneakers could then be sold separately as NFTs.
  • Wearable virtual sneakers using AR tech.
  • “Shoe offspring” — Frankenstein sneaks made from different digital kicks.
  • Something called “intelligent electronic shoes.”

Additionally, Nike could offer limited edition sneakers at events or for promotions, locking in digital drops in a real geographic location. Per the patent: “Spectators at a professional sporting home opener may give the right to acquire one of a limited quantity of unique digital assets, each being separately secured via its own cryptographic token.”

Digital drop
By diving into the digital/crypto/metaverse space, Nike could also solve a few problems that have plagued sneakerheads, like losing to bots on the SNKRS app or trying to authenticate if a pair of resold Nikes are real.

  • With the cryptokicks application, counterfeiting could be a thing of the past.
  • The SNKRS app could roll out a virtual line populated by verified avatars in order to participate in drops.

Nike is only at the beginning of its digital journey, which reported a 147% growth last quarter. Very soon, Nike’s past year of innovations (like releasing a Travis Scott shoe in Fortnite and virtual sneaker try-ons) will be seen as rudimentary.

Flowers for Society drops physical sneaker and an NFT

Flowers for Society blooms both sneakers and NFTs

Flowers for Society drops physical sneaker and an NFT
Flowers for Society // Illustration by Kate Walker

Flowers for Society blooms both sneakers and NFTs

A new sneaker brand called Flowers for Society is dropping both a physical sneaker and an NFT of the shoe in an exclusive drop next month. The NFT is meant to act as a key to the brand’s online community, giving holders access to exclusive drops and content. If successful, expect more mainstream streetwear brands like Supreme or Off-White to dip their toes in NFTs as a way to control limited supply.

Double drop
Flowers for Society stretches across two passionate collecting worlds — sneakers and NFTs.

  • The company will drop its first shoe, the SEED.ONE, as both a physical shoe and an NFT.
  • The NFT will give holders the ability to participate in “future sneaker releases, limited editions, and collaborations.”
  • It also gives holders access to the brand’s “metaverse community,” “The Garden of Comfort,” which has similarities to how Kickstroid is rallying sneakerheads.

The shoe is available for pre-order and will officially drop on November 6.

Community cushion
Flowers for Society’s NFT strategy seems like a way to reward early adopters, giving them exclusive access to the company’s (hopefully) future success. Reportedly, there is only a limited number of NFTs, meaning that these community tokens will rise in value as demand for Flowers for Society grows. It’s almost like a sneaker-buying bot that the company controls instead of an entrepreneurial sneakerhead.

Additionally, Flowers for Society is building an education center in Vietnam, where a lot of sneaker manufacturing is done. It plans on continuing to raise funds for projects like this with each drop.

Adidas and thredUP Team Up to Recycle Your Shoes

adidas and thredUP team up to resell your hand-me-downs

Adidas and thredUP Team Up to Recycle Your Shoes

adidas and thredUP team up to resell your hand-me-downs

The Future. adidas and thredUP are collaborating on something other than footwear — recycling. The new “Choose to Give Back” program allows customers to send in old products in exchange for points toward new ones. As adidas crafts footwear and apparel to be fully recyclable, the new program may be a perfect way to transition its current products into more sustainable items.

Re-box
Taking the time to turn in old clothes can be inconvenient, so adidas and secondhand resale platform thredUP is bringing sustainability to you.

  • The “Choose to Give Back” program allows customers to “extend the lifecycle” of the old products — including those not from adidas.
  • Users receive points for turning in items, which can be used toward new footwear or apparel.
  • It will launch both online and in stores early next year.

Here’s how it works: using the adidas app, users start a “clean out,” they then box up their footwear or clothes and then send it back with a provided pre-paid shipping label. It’s almost as easy as taking out the trash.

Waste waste
“Sustainability” has easily become the hottest trend in fashion, and for a good reason — the fashion industry is a huge polluter. A recent Ellen McArthur Foundation report found that “the equivalent of a garbage truckload of clothes is buried or burned in a landfill every second.” Yeah, that’s not sustainable.

Both adidas and thredUP have been at the forefront of scaling sustainability for the past couple of years. Earlier this year, adidas introduced its first fully-recyclable shoe — the UltraBoost “Made to be Remade” model. Meanwhile, thredUP is one of the market leaders in the Gen-Z favorite secondhand fashion revolution, which saw a 43% jump in its stock when it went public back in March.

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Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty straps on a brick-and-mortar strategy

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Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty // Illustration by Kate Walker

Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty straps on a brick-and-mortar strategy

TheFuture. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty is leveraging its online success by expanding into stand-alone retail stores. By going brick-and-mortar, Rihanna may have the ability to build experience in-store that matches the creativity she brings to her fashion shows.

Let’s get physical
Victoria’s Secret walked so Savage X Fenty could run.

  • After building a huge customer base online, Rihanna’s lingerie brand is expanding into physical stores.
  • The company will build several stand-alone stores throughout 2022, starting with the U.S.

Next up, the stores will eventually launch in Europe… which could set the stage for a relaunch of Rihanna’s fashion house, Fenty, which she opened under the LVMH luxury banner. Of note, that brand was “indefinitely suspended” in February 2021.

Brand ambassadors
Co-president and chief merchandising and design officer Christiane Pendarvis says that “Retail is an important part of our growth strategy […] because fit and comfort are so important, there are just customers who don’t feel comfortable purchasing online.”

The explosive growth of Savage X Fenty recently minted Rihanna as the richest female musician in the world ($1.7 billion net worth). It’s further proof that celebrity-backed retailers hit big at the register — Kanye and Yeezy, Kate Hudson and Fabletics, and Pharrell and Billionaire Boys Club.

But with Savage X Fenty, Rihanna seems to be in a class all of her own.