Fashion Week! A festival for the fashion world and a curious case of ‘what’s new’ for fashion enthusiasts. Even though the industry puts on an extremely glamorous and innovative show numerous times every year across the Big Four, namely New York, London, Milan, and Paris, the world doesn’t seem to get enough of fashion. In recent years, the shows have gone from simple presentations to artistic performances. Though one of the most anticipated events of the year, the exclusivity to witness the wonders of fashion week hasn’t changed over the years. However, this year, the leader in Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), Afterpay drops the ‘Keys’ for New York Fashion Week 2022. For the creation of the Keys presented as NFTs, Afterpay collaborated with five notable fashion designers: Altu by Joseph Altuzarra, anOnlyChild, Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui, and The Blonds.
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Inspired by their Spring/Summer ’23 collection, each designer has created a one-of-a-kind phygital collectable. Along with introducing fashion enthusiasts to the blockchain, the digital art will also unlock real-life access to New York Fashion Week. In addition to this, each brand extends exclusive benefits to the owners of the Keys including a selection of limited edition products or traditionally unobtainable NYFW experiences. Both the designer NFT Keys and the free Afterpay NFT will be hosted on the Polygon network, considered the greenest chain on the block made available in limited quantities from August 23, 2022. Furthermore, Afterpay states, “All proceeds from the sale of the designer NFT Keys will be donated to Free Arts NYC, bringing art and mentoring programs to children in underserved communities in New York City.” Partnering with IMG for the third season running to bring the Fashion Week experience to more consumers than ever before, Afterpay will be an official running partner for New York Fashion Week: The Shows.
Inspired by the ability of NFTs to express beyond the creative and technological boundaries, 3D artist Amy Kilner designed Afterpay’s Key. Presented in a pearlescent universe, the Key appears to be ever-evolving. In the ebb and flow of expanding to a pseudo-organic abstract of a key and retreating to its original form, the NFT appears to be a digital organism breathing in lustre. “It is a statement that we are entering into a new era, where access to NYFW is truly unlocked, and where our digital world and real-world experiences merge,” shares Afterpay.
Altu by Joseph Altuzara
With designs that encourage the plurality of individual identity, Joseph Altuzarra returned to NYFW with Altu last year. This year while the fashion world awaits to witness the minimalist aesthetic that the designer may bring, the NFT Key by the brand appears to be a manifestation of it. While extending a message of embracing all parts of oneself in alternative aesthetic codes, American photographer Mapplethorpe’s work continues to be a source of inspiration for the brand and the Key. Defining the design process of the Key, Altuzarra mentions, “I kept returning to a few key photographs throughout this process, working through the ways queer people in the past have continued to codify and signal their being in the world.” Altu’s Key gives access to a special edition leather tote and an oversized t-shirt or annual membership to one of New York City’s premiere art museums.
“Old and new — like mother and child — cannot exist without one another,” states Maxwell Osborne’s anOnlyChild about the concept for their Key. Suspended on a golden metal tag embossed with the brand’s mother and child emblem are two keys – one old and one new. The Keys are presented over a floral mound that is in an eternal cycle of rebirth. By owning the Key that presents the tale of old and new, one gets an exclusive invite to anOnlyChild NYFW after-party or a limited edition belt bag from the brand.
Known for reimagining fashion for the modern cosmopolitan women, Simkhai chose his NFT to reflect his Summer/Spring ’23 collection. Reflecting on the same, Jonathan Simkhai’s Key is inspired by the amber stone and its fossilised resin. Building upon his interest in the stone that is said to absorb negative energy and restore soothing energy, the Key appears to be a unique souvenir with familiar stories. The Key unlocks a private meet and greet shopping experience with Jonathan or original, signed runway sketches from his new collection debuting September 13.
With a node to the widely seen identity in her designs, fashion designer Kim Shui created the Key inspired by a repeated motif of her collection, a celestial dragon. Extending to material choices of the NFT, the designer shares, “It’s symbolic of good luck, strength and longevity, and we chose to use a mix of gold and jade to represent this.” Minting the Key would unlock the ticket to Kim Shui’s NYFW runway show or a Kim Shui Hoodie featuring a dragon in an oversized fit.
Having presented on the runway for over a decade, the iconic fashion duo, Phillipe and David Blond do not need an introduction. Drawing on their memories of the year 2000 in New York City, the Key represents fun, freedom, glamour, music and nightlife. With a significant presence during fashion week, The Blonds have always aimed to showcase extra glamour to the already glamorous fashion world. Sharing the inspiration for the collection and NFT, the duo states, “It was all about excess style and memories of those hot nights and discovering their mutual love of dance and music.” The Key is an exclusive invite to The Blonds’ NYFW after party or the opportunity to get a signed copy of ‘The Blonds: Glamour, Fashion, Fantasy’ forthcoming book.
While the countdown for New York Fashion Week has begun, designers, models, media, influencers and fashion enthusiasts seem to turn to capture the most exclusive display of fashion design. Exclusive! A word which holds much weight in itself. Luxurious, sophisticated and accessible to the selected few on the pyramid. While being dragged on the strategies of consumerism, everything seems to be exclusive, every product and design is “exclusive”. However, this year, with the NFT Keys by Afterpay, retailed at $100, digital collectors would also adorn the seats of the celebrated runways. Amid trends of social life, can the new world that we are creating from the digital realm make the exclusive more accessible?
From collectable NFTs to otherworldly blockchain-funded crypto creations, STIR brings you the best of fungible-non-fungible inspiration from the global realms of art, design, and architecture. Read more here.