The future of fashion collectibles, after Balmain x Barbie NFT

Balmain and Barbie recently collaborated on a collection that includes three NFTs, as well as physical products. Barbie’s parent company Mattel has previously worked with Gucci on a set of limited-edition Hot Wheels physical cars. But are luxury fashion toys in the Metaverse the future of collectibles?

The craze for fashion toys is nothing new. For example, the collector’s item from the Japanese brand Medicom Bearbrick the toys, launched in 2001, took over the brand identity of 10 different designers in 2014. They included Kenzo, Lanvin, Carven, Undercover, Marni, Raf Simons, Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs, Thom Browne and White Mountaineering. Collectibles now sell for up to $ 2,500 on platforms like Action X. As brands become more comfortable in the NFT space, some are seeing the similarities between the physical collector’s space and the unique digital works of art created for the Metaverse.

“Connecting to culture is a central part of Mattel’s Playbook, and Barbie is a globally recognized fashion and pop culture icon, which creates an interesting intersection between brand, art and collection,” said said Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer of Mattel. . “Through Barbie’s collaboration with Balmain, we harness the power of our mutually innovative heritage to invite all fans to experience the art, fashion and culture that both brands offer, in a unique way.”

Last week, fashion label Balmain announced a limited collection of physical Balmain clothing styles and accessories the size of a Barbie., a collection of 50 pieces of ready-to-wear and accessories for women, and three unique NFTs from Barbie and Ken. The NFTs will be on sale this week on Mint NFT, a premium NFT marketplace. From the Mattel Creations collector’s platform, the toys function like blank slates on which outside artists can display their work, much like Bearbricks exhibits the work of collaborating artists.

The nostalgic RTW collection echoes the Balmain brand identity and incorporates classic Barbie designs. The ’90s Barbie logo from the packaging and the iconic Pantone hue “Barbie pink” are featured along with Balmain’s signature striped sweater and Labyrinth designs on oversized Balmain capes, bags and kimonos. The 50-piece Barbie x Balmain line of ready-to-wear and accessories will be available for sale in Balmain boutiques, on balmain.com and on the Mattel Creations online store from January 13.

Oliver Rousteing, Creative Director of Balmain, said in the press release: “This collection rejects any arbitrary limitations of the genre – it is an almost 100% unisex collection. Today’s Barbie does [it] clear that there is nothing more holding us back! The Barbie doll’s legacy look makes it more than a one-off collaboration, pushing a historic toy into the digital realm.

Mattel clearly sees the opportunity in digital collectibles. Dickson believes that, “through proven partnerships like this, toys will become just as important as other fashion accessories to fashion brands and ignite a whole new audience and a whole new business of the future.” It is the pioneer in the space, having launched three NFT collections in its range of brands since last year.

His first NFT collection of three unique NFTs from the Hot Wheels NFT Garage series was released in June 2021. Next is an NFT Uno card. collaboration with VeeFriends created by Gary Vaynerchuk. Surprisingly, other toy makers didn’t venture into the NFT space; Mattel was the first to make the connection between the commercial success of its products and the growing community of NFT creators and buyers.

“We see the collectors space as being ready for innovation, and fashion and toys together are going to be a whole new activity. The pandemic has shown us that the human need to ‘play’ at any age is very real, and we are not seeing that abate, ”Dickson said. “The passion for our brands has always been unique, ageless, which gives us a clue to present our brands in fun and reinvented ways for adult fans. As luxury fashion brands test the field of NFTs, collectible toys could serve as a way to join traditional brands across industries to generate renewed interest and attention.

Both the Hot Wheels NFT Collection and the Balmain x Barbie NFT Collection have been auctioned on proof of stake blockchain systems, making them less power hungry. The latter used Flow, which previously hosted Crypto Kitties and NBA NFTs. Some in the fashion space have remained hesitant to get involved in notoriously power-hungry NFTs, as the industry has become so focused on sustainability. The more industry leaders focus on proof of stake mechanisms for NFT and blockchain projects, the less reluctance brands will be to immerse themselves in the space.

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