LONDON — Just like every sector of the fashion industry, the pandemic shook up PR and communications, exposing many inefficiencies in the traditional system — which often require designers to pay hefty fees for little exposure or solid returns to their business.
The Frntal, a new digital platform, is launching this month and aims to offer a more up-to-date, cost-effective solution.
The company will focus on representing emerging brands, which are standing out in the contemporary space and incorporating social and environmental responsibility in their business models.
They will gain access to “a newly realized online window” that will house all PR content in one digital press room for buyers, journalists, editors and stylists to access freely.
“The platform will do away with the middlemen, so that editors or stylists can access everything they need to feature a brand in an instant. As a result, a brand’s press coverage increases significantly and they get access to a global audience of buyers and retailers,” said a company spokesperson. “We want to offer access to services that can propel emerging designers’ businesses forward on terms they can afford rather than large and unnecessary PR and sales activations like agencies and showrooms. Young, aspiring designers have been facing enormous hurdles and forced to invest large resources to gain exposure, attend reputable events and trade shows in order to position themselves in the market. This is [instead] a capital-light and profitable sales and PR channel.”
Although the focus will be on younger, independent names, the business added that it will also work on developing partnerships between their clients and more established labels or design institutions.
In a bid to move even further away from the traditional communications model, the company is simultaneously planning to launch a marketplace where its clients will be able to sell physical and digital items direct-to-consumer.
Incorporating blockchain technology and NFT sales onto the platform was essential for the founders, as the industry — and the world — prepares for “a transition into the virtual world of the metaverse.”
“NFTs are the starting point of a new fashion experience that you can own. It’s a new canvas for storytelling, culture creation and consumer experience, which happens to be enabled by tech,” added a company spokesperson, pointing to the endless opportunities the world of blockchain and NFTs will offer the fashion space in the next few years.
For one, they will help take the resale market to the next level by keeping track of the changes of ownership of an item and offering brands royalties every time one of their products is being resold in the secondhand space. There’s also myriad new revenue opportunities, not only by selling virtual garments but also runway videos and backstage imagery.
The Frntal wants to be in a position to facilitate all those transactions, as well as help industry stakeholders stay up to speed.
The company believes that the data from NFT sales will become a valuable tool for fashion professionals to predict trends and hence, improve physical and digital designs. It can also help modernize the publishing industry by creating new reader engagement tools or digitizing magazine covers and editorials.
“We are already working on a tailor-made NFTs project for the fashion publishing industry, which is attracting brand partnerships,” added the company.
“We envision our NFT marketplace becoming not only the tool to sell and purchase virtual garments, but also the platform to provide valuable data about garments, designs, and trends, by virtualizing every garment and enabling users to experience digital fashion items. You don’t have to buy a new physical garment if you only need another catchy Instagram post, NFTs can be sold, transferred, resold, collected, or just tried on for a photo or video.”