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Digital fashion expert Enara Nazarova on how generative NFTs could transform digital fashion customisation

Camilla Rydzek
06 December 2021

Enara Nazarova, who was voted as one of the top 30 voices in the metaverse by technology blog ReadWrite in August, and is the founder of collaborative digital art platform ARMOAR, spoke at the Exthereal conference about how generative NFTs could open new creative opportunities for digital fashion.

She started her keynote by mentioning that Collins Dictionary made NFT its word of the year for 2021, contextualising the ubiquitous nature of the word in recent times.

Fashion companies such as Harvey Nichols, JW Anderson, Givenchy and Burberry have all been experimenting with the type of digital asset (which can be an artwork or a collectible) signifying ho the industry is increasingly adopting it into the mainstream.

Virtual fashion NFTs, such as for example Diesel’s Prototype sneaker, allow customers to invent and experiment with new ways to show off their curation and style in the virtual world, to an audience that is tenfold of the one they would reach if they were to wear product physically, explained Nazarova.

Diesel Prototype sneaker NFT

“Both fashion and NFTs are about identity and personalisation and being able to actually create a world that reflects our inner world. And as more virtual economies start to emerge and more virtual worlds start to develop, our very human desire to want to customise and to make things our own will continue to persist in the metaverse,” she explained.

To truly harness the power of customisation Nazarova suggests building on the nascent technology of generative NFTs, which would allow brands, creators and fans to collaborate on product design and experiences in completely new ways.

A generative NFT involves an AI algorithm that adds an element of randomness to an NFT asset, based on a set of pre-determined criteria. What this means is that a designer can create an NFT and instruct an AI to add a certain element from a rotor of options that makes the final product a completely new and individual asset. This means that NFT design is, to a certain extent, beyond the control of either user or designer.

Cryptokitties, a game launched in 2017 where one can buy, sell and breed collectible kitten NFTs, is a successful example of using generative NFTs. On the platform players can buy any two NFT kittens with special breeds, colours and attributes, have them ‘fall in love’ and generate a baby kitten that uses a combination of the parent’s features and can then be sold again on the same marketplace. There are a total of 4-billion possible genetic variations for these baby kittens.

This game gives an indication of the creative possibilities offered by generative NFTs in making customised, unique designs – a techy feature which could be adopted by digital fashion platforms in the future.

“If we look at how this actually compares to our physical reality, if your shirt is black, it will most likely remain black - but digitally, clothes can become a canvas,” explains Nazarova.

“And this is exactly what generative art is all about. While physical fashion offers customisation through fabrics and the brick and mortar experience, digital fashion NFTs can then be personalised with generative textures that are embedded with metadata of all kinds, so it can have the ability to add interactivity to assets by adding nested information such as audio, video, or rich metadata. You can also engineer and creates surprising randomisation outcomes instead of pandering to instant reward mechanisms. As a real-world component, some of these NFTs can also give you access to physical events. It can give you access to activations where you're able to actually bring your community and have them meet in person.”

Another exciting opportunity presented by the emergence of NFTs is the fact that it allows fans to buy into an asset whose value will increase over time, similar to the fashion industry where customers can invest in a Hêrmes bag or luxury watch.

“Fashion as an industry I think has been given a golden opportunity to not only incorporate NFTs as part of its technology, but completely rethink its business model of how it actually delivers its product,” Nazarova concluded.

The Exthereal Conference also featured a keynote analyising fashion's opportunity in the metaverse, and in the ever-growing gaming market.

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