Buy Now Pay Later service provider Afterpay is entering the NFT market.
The fintech company which is also the official presenting partner of of New York Fashion Week: The Shows, has teamed up with five NYFW designers — Altu by Joseph Altuzarra, AnOnlyChild, Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui, and The Blonds — to offer limited edition NFTs.
The project is entitled The Keys to New York Fashion Week and each designer NFT is a one-of-one phygital collectible — featuring both digital artworks and physical pieces or experiential elements centered around access.
Each NFT will retail for $100 and Afterpay will allow consumers to purchase the NFTs by splitting the payment into four interest-free installments on Keys.NYFW.com.
For the digital NFT artworks, each designer drew inspiration from their Spring/Summer ‘23 collections while additional utilities include a choice between experiences and limited edition items.
The Altu by Joseph Altuzarra NFT comes with a leather tote and oversized t-shirt or annual membership to a TBD New York art museum while the Jonathan Simkhai edition involves a private meet and greet shopping experience with the designer or original, signed runway sketches from his Spring 23 collection debuting September 13.
AnOnlyChild, The Blonds and Kim Shui offerings feature respectively a limited edition belt bag, signed copy of the brand’s forthcoming book, “The Blonds: Glamour, Fashion, Fantasy,” and a custom designed hoodie or afterparty and fashion show tickets.
Many designers have previously engaged with the Web 3.0 and the metaverse. Last season, for instance, Simkhai showed digital versions of his IRL collection via Second Life which were sold as NFT wearables.
For Kim Shui, whose fans include Cardi B and Kylie Jenner, the evolving Web 3.0 universe is a perfect fit. From its launch in 2017, the designer has developed her brand together with her online community and for her upcoming spring ‘23 collection is crowdsourcing one of her prints.
“My brand was co-created on the internet, our community is constantly inspiring us,” she told me via email. “NFTs can foster that and strengthen a sense of community with completely new levels of customer engagement. It can change the relationship between consumer and brand. The possibilities are endless.”
Of the fact that purchasers are being given the choice between owning something physical and partaking in an experience, she adds that “it’s about focusing on the utility for the customer first and what they would prefer — I wanted it to be personal. Some people prefer experiences, others prefer physical items- so it was about giving them that option.”
All proceeds from the sale of the designer NFT Keys will be donated to Free Arts NYC which brings art and mentoring programs to children in under-served communities in New York City.
Additionally Afterpay will issue free, limited quantity NFTs with utilities including a TIDAL HiFi Plus 6 Month Free Trial, access to a NYFW close-friends Instagram group, and an invitation to RSVP to NYFW: The Talks sessions.
Last season, Clearpay, the name of Afterpay’s European division, partnered with British designer Roksanda Ilincic on NFT and AR digital wearable versions of a hero look from the British designer’s Fall 22 collection.
Both the designer NFT Keys and the free Afterpay NFT will be hosted on the Polygon network, considered one of the greenest blockchains as it is one of the most energy efficient.
While it’s still fairly niche in terms of numbers, the project marks an important step in integrating the newly emerging Web 3.0 world with more traditional consumption of fashion.
As of March 31, 2022, Afterpay is offered by over 144,000 retailers worldwide with more than 20 million active customers. Afterpay is currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, where it is known as Clearpay. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Block Inc.