New York Fashion Week, but make it an NFT.
That's what Afterpay, a buy now, pay later company, had in mind as an official partner of the event. The fintech firm linked up with five designers through its Keys to NYFW program to create their non-fungible tokens for their Spring/Summer '23 collections.
Geoff Seeley, Afterpay CMO, told Cheddar News the goal of the program was to make New York Fashion Week more accessible to anyone who might not otherwise have access to the biggest runway shows.
"Our goal has always been to democratize Fashion Week and unlock access to this historically exclusive event. As the principal partner of New York Fashion Week, we were able to offer consumers unprecedented access to NYFW experiences through Afterpay's designer collection on NFTs. We chose NFTs as a means to make it easier than ever to welcome consumers to the blockchain and fashion week," Seeley said.
He also noted that it was important to partner with forward thinking designers who "care about providing opportunities" for the general public. "Each of Afterpay's designer partners has a unique vision but also a like-minded appreciation for innovation and accessibility," Seeley added.
One of those designers, Kim Shui, told Cheddar News that contributing to communities and providing access are fundamentals of her brand.
"Afterpay and I are aligned on breaking barriers to entry. Our brand is inspired by community, and we are driven by the idea of bringing the public into the process of creating our runway show," she said.
Shui's NYFW 2022 show was public access personified. The event was held in Manhattan's iconic — and very busy — Grand Central Terminal. As commuters bustled to their destinations, the show and Shui's futuristic yet sleek and sultry designs were visible. Of note for a show that was taking place among everyday New Yorkers, Shui crowdsourced on social media to find the show's photographers, makeup artists, models, and even the final runway piece.
Pixel dress by Kim Shui, New York Fashion Week, Sept. 14, 2022. Credit David Gannon.
Nearly 800 people submitted pixel selfies which Shui and the design team stitched together to create a larger print. The dress has since been minted into its own NFT and was distributed among the hundreds of people that submitted their pictures.
"Fantasy to reality was one of the main themes of our show. We wanted to incorporate that not only through the design but also the hiring process. It was important to me to open up access, giving the wider public the opportunity to be hired for important roles in the production of our runway show through a nationwide open casting call," Shui noted.