Playback: Jeff Staple, Bobby Hundreds and More Discuss Fashion and the Metaverse for HYPETALKS

Touching on self-expression in web3, designing sneaker NFTs and creating digital culture.

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On Monday evening, HYPEBEAST brought together influential figures at the intersection of technology and streetwear for the latest installment in the HYPETALKS series. Hosted by HYPEBEAST Senior News Editor Rosie Perper on Twitter Spaces, the panel centered on the role of fashion in the rapidly evolving metaverse and how creators can better connect with collectors.

Speakers included Bobby Hundreds, co-founder of L.A. streetwear label The Hundreds and creator of the successful NFT series Adam Bomb Squad; Nicky Diamonds, founder of Diamond Supply Co. and creator of the Diamond Crypto Dunks NFT project; Fran “Franalations” Marchello, sneaker collector and artist behind the Sneaker Punkz NFT series; Jake Becker, head of talent relations and founding member at avatar company Genies; and Jeff Staple, creator of the New York-based streetwear brand Staple and designer of the Metapigeon sneaker NFT. The group answered questions on virtual apparel, augmented reality, NFT trends and more.

Sparked by Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, Perper described the metaverse as a “major catalyst for change” within the streetwear industry, pointing to Nike’s recent acquisition of virtual fashion and sneaker platform RTFKT and streetwear brands around the world dropping their own NFT collections.

Kicking off the discussion was the subject of virtual clothing, and why people choose to spend money on apparel that they can’t physically wear. Becker explained the appeal of virtual drip by breaking it down into three main pillars: accessibility, durability and utility. “There’s greater opportunity, especially in defining value in web3, than we have in the physical world,” he said.

Becker added that social media now allows more people to see a virtual garment than they would the physical version, creating a broader reach. Virtual clothing also minimizes other barriers, like the need for multiple sizes, long shipping times and production costs, in addition to creating more opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

“Over time, the original [NFT] creator can gift you additional use or can evolve that asset so you can get extra utility out of it as the times change,” Becker said, “rather than you buying a hoodie in 2010 and it’s probably out to the donation center five years later.”

Staple agreed, noting that in the digital age, people often take a photo of themselves in a particular garment to signal to their followers that they belong to a particular community or support a particular brand without even owning the garment.

Later in the talk, panelists explored collaborations between established streetwear brands and new crypto startups, the different ways that virtual clothing can be utilized, generational gaps in the technology space and other topics concerning how the metaverse will integrate with fashion and what that means for the streetwear industry as it is today.

“The end game of NFTs, web3, all of this, is decentralization,” Hundreds explained, noting that streetwear brands should focus their energies on building communities and empowering their supporters.

Listen to HYPETALKS: Fashion in the Metaverse.

In other fashion news, Diddy reclaimed ownership of his Sean John brand.

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