Mapping the Net-a-Porter of NFT marketplaces

NFTs are trending in fashion. In just a few months, numerous fashion and beauty brands have begun issuing NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Nars Cosmetics.

Now, a slew of marketplaces are competing to become the go-to choice among fashion and beauty marketers. Gucci worked with Christie’s on its art film, Louis Vuitton worked with Wenew on its NFT integrations and Nars partnered with Truesy. “It seems like there is a new marketplace popping up every five minutes, but not in luxury — there is a lot of opportunity there,” says Cathy Hackl, a metaverse consultant who advises luxury brands. She compares it to other industries, such as sports, which have dominant marketplaces for NFTs.

“It’s so fragmented right now. There are all these smaller marketplaces that sell art and maybe fashion, but there’s not a maison in the metaverse, or a marketplace that has put its flag down and said, ‘We are the place’,” she adds.

Jamie Burke, founder and CEO of Outlier Ventures, which invests in blockchain and metaverse businesses, agrees. “There isn’t any clear winner either in NFT platforms generally or any specific vertical, be that art, fashion or beauty. It’s pretty much an open field. That said, a lot of venture capital is consolidating into a handful of slightly more general platforms.”

Burke advises that those developing an NFT fashion franchise should be “fairly agnostic” to the blockchain they’re building on. “Most luxury fashion brands are looking at the NFT environment as a new distribution channel. They want to be relevant to the metaverse demographic, and extend their brands into those environments,” Burke says. “NFTs lend themselves very well to luxury items because they have provenance, they’re persistent, they don’t decay and they can be displayed in a native metaverse environment.”

However, while there are multiple established general NFT marketplaces, the industry is mindful of the same considerations that are relevant in e-commerce or department stores when evaluating partners, including careful curation and an elegant customer experience. “If you go to [some] marketplaces, it looks a lot more like a regular store, like a Macy’s or a Walmart,” Hackl says. “For luxury, these marketplaces have to look beautiful — they have to mirror the world they are selling into. Whoever the NFT Net-a-Porter will be will have to have that visually for luxury brands to come to them.”

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