“Buy Now Pay Later” (BNPL) platform Afterpay is at the forefront of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) this year with decentralization, blockchain and NFTs as part of its messaging.
Along with offering access to exclusive runway shows and designer collection debuts, Afterpay launched limited edition NFTs featuring the work of five designers – Joseph Altuzarra, AnOnlyChild, Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui, and The Blonds – which sold out within hours of their release. Each NFT provides access to scarce art from the designer and serves as an access ticket to in-person NYFW events and exclusive merchandise. These kinds of phydigital experiences, linking online and IRL, are becoming more familiar with NFTs.
In line with Afterpay’s core business, buyers of the $100 NFTs were given the option of paying for the NFT by installments.
In addition to generating brand awareness for the company through NYFW, Afterpay has identified fashion as a niche it wants to target with 2022 with its third appearance at the event. Afterpay’s role in democratizing access to NYFW through NFTs puts the company in front of consumers who are likely to use its services for their clothing purchases.
The company didn’t just democratize access but took the concept of decentralization a step further. Asian-American womenswear designer Kim Shui asked the public to submit pixels she planned to use to crowdsource a fabric design for a garment. Not only will the fashionwear be featured on the runway, but after NYFW, it will be rendered into an NFT and each pixel contributor will receive one.
Collaborative fashion design is also happening in the digital world, with several platforms releasing applications that enable people to design metaverse clothing or tweak the creations of others. One recent example is the Genies avatar platform, but others, such as NFT fashion brand The Fabricant, have similar plans.
For the NFT aspect of its promotion, Afterpay partnered with thirdweb. Within days of Afterpay unveiling its NFTs, thirdweb announced a $24m Series A round, including funding from Shopify, Coinbase Ventures, Polygon and others.
Meanwhile, Afterpay’s NFTs aren’t the only ones to offer access to fashion events. Prada’s 32nd Timecapsule featured an NFT that will grant access to a Prada experience in Milan.