Wear-To-Earn NFTs: Is This Even Real?

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Consider the paper doll standing up and becoming a 3D replica. All of the garments “stood up” and could effortlessly glide into the paper doll, who has now become an avatar. Those clothing have now been transformed into Wear-to-Earn NFTs. Hello and welcome to the world of wear-to-earn (W2E) NFTs. We’re about to dip our toes into this new sub-sector of NFTs, investigate its inner workings, and report back with whatever insights we can gather. Let’s get started!

The history of Wear-to-Earn NFTs

The idea for Wear-to-Earn NFTs may have been inspired by the current NFT frenzy, particularly when considering the amount of money for digital transactions and the popularity of the play-to-earn (P2E) model. However, unlike the latter, which is firmly rooted in the gaming community, where gamers are accustomed to upgrading their characters with skins and all types of accessories, real-life had little use for digital accessories until the pandemic arrived, ushering in the era of Zoom calls and on-camera interactions.

Keeping a professional web presence proved difficult during the shutdown. Aside from not being able to get a haircut (unless you live with a hairdresser), working from home also allows us to be more carefree about our appearance or attire. The novelty of being able to go about in a dressing robe or PJs while performing actual work is first appealing. However, what was innovative suddenly became an old hat after a few months. Where is there room for fashion to survive, let alone thrive, in this kind of environment?

When NFTs became well known, a few people in the fashion industry began to consider how to combine the two. They developed the concept of Wear-to-Earn When NFTs became well known, a few people in the fashion industry began to consider how to combine the two. They developed the concept of Wear-to-Earn NFTs. Part of the inspiration could have come from Snapchat, where people can use filters to create different digital styles that are impossible to recreate in real life. What if, rather than just snapping goofy photos, we could “wear” digital items as if they were real? As a form of self-expression, why not post them on any preferred social media channels? Why not make it happen in real life?

Wear-to-Earn NFTs Using Augmented Reality

It’s one thing to stroll around with your phone in your hand, capturing Pokemons on the street (preferably while avoiding oncoming traffic!). It’s quite another to stroll down the street in nothing but a bodysuit because the clothing is designed in the same way as Pokemons are — they’re not real but projected onto the body. However, this is exactly what the Wear-to-Earn NFTs camp is banking on. Instead of buying tangible clothes, we will be able to have them projected onto ourselves in the future.

The most compelling argument is that it will remove the fashion industry from the list of the top ten pollutants to the environment. Instead of collecting raw materials to manufacture “trashable” clothes, we can browse a digital lookbook online and choose what we want to be seen in rather than rummaging through a wardrobe of unused items destined for the trash pile. Walk-in closets will be a thing of the past, only appearing in films filmed before 2020. I’m expecting the bodysuit will be comprised of some kind of synthetic material with mini sensors placed in it, allowing it to catch the body’s movements and have the “clothing” move in time with it. I’d assume the biggest faux pas would be showing one’s bodysuit.

A few industry trailblazers are diving in headfirst to lead the charge.


If you want to try out digital fashion right now, go to DressX, a website/shop that provides some intriguing-looking clothing at what appear to be extremely inexpensive costs. What’s the catch? It’s merely for show, not in real life. Simply upload a photo of yourself in fitting clothes (swimsuits and bodysuits work best), select the piece you want to “wear,” and match it to the shot. You are now wearing an illusion. Take a couple photos, post them on social media, and impress your pals with your fresh viewpoint.

According to the press release, the company, founded by Natalia Modenova and Daria Shapovalova and launched in August 2020, has raised a total of $3.3 million in funding from VCs led by The Artemis Fund, a VC specializing in investing in female-led ventures “who build companies that democratize access to wealth, encourage sustainability, and reduce friction in the care economy.” DressX wants to open an Wear-to-Earn NFTs marketplace for their items in 2022, with a slew of designers eager to clothe us in the metaverse. They’ve already worked together on NFT drops with Crypto.com, Balmain, and Binance, to mention a few.

Red DAO and Megan Kaspar

Megan Kaspar, co-founder and managing director of Magnetic Capital, a private investment firm in crypto projects based in Grand Cayman, was interviewed earlier this year by Haute Living, a fashion magazine for high society, and “digitally clothed” by DressX, as previously noted. She has been a passionate advocate of digital fashion (“meta fashion“) as one of the project’s angel investors and sees a very bright future ahead.

She originally heard about cryptocurrencies in 2010, but didn’t give it much thought until 2013/2014, when she got her “aha” moment. “Over time, it became clear to me how this technology could strengthen global capital markets and the financial industry by adding a better, secure technological layer.” “And that’s when I realized I’d be spending the remainder of my career in this field,” she explained in an interview.

She is also a member of Red DAO, a fashion-focused DAO that recently made headlines by purchasing the Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) Doge Crown as part of their NFT collection for 423.5 ETH (about $1.275 million). According to the wallet data posted on the DAO’s website, the DAO has around $7.5 million in its treasury.

“Brands will recompense clients for wearing pieces by giving them access to exclusive items, airdropping fashion pieces to virtual wallets, or paying them a fungible token,” Megan explains in another Cointelegraph.com interview. I must admit that I am suspicious of this because I don’t see the typical client receiving such care.

Influencers maybe, as they can be viewed as an additional sales channel for brands. It could also be a ploy for marketing. There may only be a limited number of pieces airdropped to randomly selected clients, similar to trying to win a lottery ticket. This would almost certainly increase sales if the associated notion is that the airdropped items can be turned on the secondary market to sell to a hungry bidder or fan.

Inline Unstoppable Domains

Joining Red DAO necessitates an initial investment of 100,000 Red DAO tokens valued at 50 ETH, with a maximum of 300,000 tokens priced at 150 ETH. According to its website, the DAO’s mission is to “support, purchase, preserve, collect, and invest in goods and digital garments in the burgeoning realm of digital wearables and fashion.”

Runway NFT

NFT Runway bills itself as “a first-of-its-kind phygital fashion endeavor, employing patented 3DReal technology to bring designer apparel into the Metaverse as wearable NFTs.” According to Cointelegraph.com, the initiative streamed a live fashion show in Decentraland in December in conjunction with Ohzone Inc, using NFT replicas of tangible objects via patented 3DRealM technology. NFT Runway also collaborates with charities to donate a portion of its auction proceeds to them. These nonprofits, known as “NFT endowments,” can collect royalties from NFT sales in perpetuity.

Space Runners is an NBA Champions Sneaker line designed in conjunction with Kyle Kuzma and Nick Young. These sneaker NFTs can be used in games or the metaverse. Aside from entering the AR space, these NFTs provide holders with exclusive privileges such as access to celebrities involved with the project. More of this is on the way in the near future.

Dolce and Gabbana (D&G)

D&G, renowned as one of the top premium brands in the fashion business, announced its foray into the realm of NFT by releasing Collezione Genesi (“Genesis Collection,” if you haven’t guessed yet). The nine pieces came with both an NFT and its physical equivalent, thanks to a collaboration with UNXD, a luxury-based NFT market on the Polygon network. The auction was held in September 2021 and netted a cool $6 million, with the Doge Crown fetching the highest price, as previously stated. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, owners of the D&G company, individually designed the crown.

The success of this auction signaled the financial potential of fashion NFTs and the possibilities that may be created as a result of them.

Games + Fashion

Not content with marketing digital clothing, several fashion brands are aiming to enter the realm of gaming, either through partnering with big-name titles or by going it alone.


Many of GAP’s physical locations were closed because of decreased foot traffic and demand during the pandemic years. Seeing an increase in demand for NFTs, the brand collaborated with Frank Ape artist Brandon Sines to create an NFT collection on the Tezos blockchain, maybe in the hopes of capturing a younger audience and revitalizing its brand. They also included a gamified component as part of the NFT experience, where users may acquire digital art from the artist as well as the actual Gap x Frank Ape by Sines hoodie.

Mythical Games + Burberry

It’s impossible to envision an established brand like Burberry wanting anything to do with the gaming sector. Times have changed since then. To keep up with a younger generation and maintain its position as a stylish premium item, the decision to collaborate with a game comes as a surprise to many.

Burberry’s first partnership was with Blankos Block Party. Sharky B, a limited-edition character, “may be purchased, upgraded, and sold within the Blankos Block Party marketplace.” The shark’s abilities can be taught and developed, and its accouterments, such as the jetpack, armbands, and pool shoes, can be attached to any Blanko owned by the user.

Louis Vuitton’s Wear-to-Earn NFTs

The Louis Vuitton “Louis: The Game” was launched to commemorate the 200th anniversary of its founder and is LV’s first foray into the NFT realm.

Vivienne, the business mascot, is seeking 200 candles in the game. That’s one for each year since the brand’s inception. These candles can be discovered in a variety of cities, along with a postcard, some of which are collectible NFTs.

LV is typically linked with adults and does not appeal to the younger generation. However, by connecting a charming mascot with the company and putting it in a video game that randomly drops NFTs, is this a subtle approach to influence the younger generation when it comes time to buy? Beeple designed 10 of the 30 NFTs included in the game.

Balenciaga x Fortnite

The Fortnite x Balenciaga collaboration is one of the most well-known and profitable collaborations. The latter established a virtual store in the game, simulating tangible retail places in the real world.

Avatars in the game can shop in the same way that their owners can in real life. Skins and things sold in the shop blend in seamlessly with the Fortnite universe. Some of the products have a tangible counterpart with eye-watering expensive costs, which did little to dampen the diehard fans’ ardor.

This is an attempt to bring a new method to shop online by creating an immersive experience rather than the point-and-click of Web2. So you’re looking at another approach for a luxury business to target young people, hoping that they will be the next generation of luxury customers after the wealth transfer from Boomers to them. Whether or whether this pans out as Balenciaga hopes, it is surely helping to boost the popularity of fashion NFTs.


Let’s face it: there’s only so much money that can be gained in the metaverse by dressing avatars in NFTs. Because it has no ties to the actual world, its applications are confined to fashion-conscious and dedicated gamers.

Furthermore, the “earn” component of the equation is mostly focused on the secondary market of reselling, which is very speculative at best. As a result, in order for NFTs to properly enter the actual world, supporting technologies, specifically augmented/virtual reality and how this reality might be experienced, must be developed. (Will we all be walking about sporting hi-tech glasses?)

But, with so much attention on the visual aspect, which appears to be where the metaverse is heading for the time being, what about the loss of tactile sensation? Aren’t we missing out on something else in our blind pursuit of visual gratification? After all, our eyes cannot appreciate the delicacy of silk.

While we wait for AR/VR technology to be created, we can only use fashion NFTs like Snapchat filters to show off to the world in a virtual manner. While looking presentable online is vital, what does it do to our self-esteem if we only feel attractive or desirable in the virtual world, surrounded by these digital objects, but our closet is bare in real life?

As appealing as they may appear, fashion NFTs today appear to be a novelty rather than a necessity. So I’m sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see if any other types of revenue models develop as this field expands. Otherwise, it will just be another unnecessary expenditure. 

Disclaimer: These are the author’s own opinions and should not be construed as investment advice. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research.

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