The tribute runway show remembering late designer Alber Elbaz, which occurred earlier this week to close Paris Fashion Week, saw the release of a follow-up commemorative t-shirt collection that incorporates fashion with pioneering NFT technology.
Elbaz’s fashion studio AZ Factory collaborated with SharpEnd as part of an ongoing partnership between the two companies to bring new life into Elbaz’s drawings.
The line of t-shirts features five styles, each designed with a quote from the late designer and his scrawled signature embroidered in ribbon against one of his fun hand-drawn illustrations.
Each t-shirt corresponds to an individual non-fungible token (NFT) of an original Alber Elbaz drawing, complete with an ID number that uniquely links it back to its owner.
By tapping the NFC tag on the t-shirt label through a smartphone, users can access the Alber & Amigo’s Membership Platform to redeem their digital artistic asset.
Cameron Worth, CEO and founder at Sharpend spoke to The Drum about the importance of making tech that’s suited to a project idea and why he thinks most NFT initiatives have fallen flat so far. He suggests embedding purpose into the process and explains why he’s proud of what the team achieved in immortalising Elbaz’s legacy and remembering his creative prowess.
How did the idea to launch NFT-featuring t-shirts first come about?
Cameron Worth: We are engaged on a long-term rollout of connected clothing with AZ Factory and the NFT extension came about as a result of that. We have been quite unimpressed with a lot of the NFT launches within the fashion and luxury space, much of them remind me of a time when brands were just being convinced to build apps for everything around ten years ago.
Alber was always known for sketching, so we wanted to find a way to both build value in the connected experience and eternalise his some of his drawings.
How are the t-shirts linked to their accompanying NFT?
CW: The T-shirts all NFC tags embedded in the label. When tapping the NFC tag, you will get redirected to the ‘Alber & Amigos’ digital platform. There you can register/login to your profile and redeem your unique NFT.
Why was Paris Fashion Week the right place to launch this partnership?
CW: With the ‘Love Brings Love’ show in honour of Alber, we found the right time to announce this collection as part of an overall homage. Alber was always at the forefront of technology, therefore it was an honour and an obvious solution to showcase this new addition to their existing platform on Alber’s night, during Paris Fashion Week.
What do you think the fashion industry can learn and gain from the popularity of NFTs in art?
CW: To be totally honest, I’ve been so underwhelmed by most of the NFT work I’ve seen launched over the last six months. The monetary values, the use cases; I’m struggling to see the point a lot of the time.
I’m going to wait for things to settle down over the next six months, and until then I’m just prepared to see more ‘digital twin’ and ticket deployments. At which point I’ll have a more objective opinion.
Do you think NFTs and digital art are here to stay? And if so, how can we improve them further?
CW: They are definitely here to stay. However, the wider audience needs to be better educated about the purpose and convenience of NFTs. For NFT to increase in value and popularity, particularly from a brand perspective, there needs to be more meaning built into the NFTs themselves.
The NFT t-shirts will be available for purchase at The Drum’s new tech space, CornerShop, as of mid-October, so do pop in.