The Disruptive Idea Behind Prada’s New Timecapsule NFT Collection With Damien Hirst’s Son

Prada has unveiled the next move in its developing Web 3.0 strategy.

The Prada Timecapsule NFT Collection launching June 2 marks an evolution of the brand’s preexisting Timecapsule initiative established in December 2019. The monthly, online event, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month, features an exclusive and ultra limited edition item drop on Prada’s website, available for 24 hours only.

However, the June 2 drop is different. Its 100 gender-neutral shirts, designed in collaboration with artist Cassius Hirst, son of Damien Hirst, come with a gifted NFT — a GIF featuring the unique serial number of the corresponding physical item. The price won’t be announced til the day of the drop but, for the record, it will be in Fiat currency as opposed to crypto.

But here’s where the idea gets even more disruptive. In a second phase, all the people who have bought into the physical Prada Timecapsule from its launch in 2019 will also all be gifted corresponding NFTs.

NFT utilities will be revealed in due course via Prada Crypted, the brand’s new community server on Discord, live as of today. Although said NFTs are being gifted, holders have the option to sell them at secondary market.

While many brands — luxury or otherwise — are scrabbling to join the conversation around the NFT and metaverse space it can often just be a case of checking a box.

Plus, primary focus tends to be acquisition of new Web 3.0 native clients — rewarding those who are ‘early’ with white list spots and the like.

Prada, however, has turned this idea on its head. Rather than targeting a new market, Prada is rewarding its already loyal and more traditional clients who have supported it from the outset, integrating its NFT strategy into a pre-established physical initiative at the same time.

Gucci too is seeking to combine past and future with its online concept store Gucci Vault, but the strategy is very different. Gucci Vault runs in parallel with the brand’s ongoing metaverse programming. For instance, Gucci Vault is currently selling vintage versions of its archive-inspired Blondie bag while digital versions of said bag are on offer at its new Gucci Town destination on gaming platform Roblox.

Gucci is very much targeting Web 3.0 natives already entrenched in the gaming community. According to Vogue Business, the digital bags will be available to buy in Roblox for a week in June but only after users have played 100 mini-games, created 45 art pieces, voted on 100 art pieces and completed 18 daily treasure hunts. While this certainly increases engagement and prevents speculators from simply buying to flip, it appeals to a different type of consumer.

Gaming industry aside, the metaverse related projects with longevity are those that offer real utility, have brand and creative integrity and appeal to a clientele that was around long before anyone had heard of an NFT and will remain after the hype has faded.

Prada’s gifting strategy is additionally a way of onboarding metaverse refuseniks or simply those who wouldn’t naturally gravitate towards new Web 3.0 related technology. It’s a smart approach also adopted by Philipp Plein.

Plein maintains that Web 3.0 will only become truly successful once it is widely adopted and to this end he is gifting NFTs with physical product.

By September, he says, 30% of his products will be automatically linked to an NFT. Like Prada’s these can either be kept or resold on the secondary market.

Prada’s Timecapsule NFT project is built on the Ether

ETH
eum blockchain leveraging the technology of the Aura Blockchain Consortium. Along with LVMH and Cartier, Prada Group was a founding member of the luxury industry dedicated Aura which uses blockchain based technology to address issues including those of authenticity, ownership and traceability.

Prada re-source, Prada’s first foray into NFT culture in January took a similarly disruptive approach. The community sourced art project in collaboration with adidas Originals and the artist Zach Lieberman featured user-generated content and creator-owned art.

This new Prada Timecapsule drop follows Cass x Prada, Cassius Hirst’s recently launched reinterpretation of the Prada America’s Cup sneaker. The Timecapsule shirt features Hirst’s signature mask and brain scan designs.

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