If you dream of dressing like Michelle Obama, now is your chance — online at least. Jason Wu will release his first NFT in the form of a digitally wearable copy of the former first lady’s 2009 inaugural ball gown.
While the original ivory silk and organza creation sits in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the virtual version will be available on the DressX metafashion retail platform. DressX worked with Wu’s team to create a “digital twin” of the original, and the owner of the NFT will be able to digitally wear the gown in a photo.
The virtual dress comes with some IRL perks as well, which DressX calls “exclusive utility,” including two tickets to Wu’s upcoming New York Fashion Week show on Sept. 10, backstage access and a personal meet and greet with the designer.
That represents a trend cited at WWD’s Metaverse Symposium of brands pairing their NFTs and digital assets with IRL events and special access.
“Because this is quite a new concept for a lot of people who understand luxury but maybe don’t understand technology, that’s why it’s a good way to kind of onboard them and explain,” DressX cofounder Natalia Modenova told WWD of the package on offer. “There is so much value in digital assets, which will be uncovered in the future. But for now, it might not be such an easy concept, and that’s why this makes it easier to understand the value behind this and also introduce the brand and the whole universe of Jason.”
“Fashion is always evolving and changing and as a fashion designer, I evolve with it,” said Wu. “Throughout my career, I have never felt limited to a single form of fashion. Finding new and innovative ways to express my creativity has always been very interesting to me. I am excited that my inaugural NFT gives the world an opportunity to experience a piece of history in such a special, unprecedented way.”
The experience cannot be resold or auctioned, and the NFT will be one-of-a-kind, much like there is only one gown in the museum. “[The inauguration] was an historical fashion moment, and should be digitized and be part of the blockchain because it can stay there forever, and is a vision of how we see digital fashion — it will only continue to help physical fashion,” added cofounder Daria Shapovalova.
Pairing NFTs with live experiences that are traditionally only available to those who work in the industry also opens up new markets for designers, Modenova added: “It’s something that people from the tech industry, or blockchain, are very much not related to because fashion has always been very exclusive. So this kind of opens up the whole fashion world to a new audience, which is an amazing tool to merge those two worlds, fashion and tech.”