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🎙 The Fabricant Co-Founder: NFT Fashion Blurs Lines Between Creators and Consumers While Both Share the Upside

Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira is the co-founder and CMO of The Fabricant, a digital fashion house for the metaverse founded in 2018. Their belief is that fashion is identity, and digital fashion is simply an extension of the digital identity we’re building in web 3. The Fabricant is one of the most prolific digital garment creators today and we discuss how (and if) these pieces are being used and whether the market slump has affected adoption.

Adriana discussed The Fabricant’s collaboration with World of Women and how these two communities are seeking to make sure women feel represented and welcome in web3. We also talk about whether our digital wardrobes will be compatible with all the different competing chains and virtual worlds emerging. Finally, we talk about the bigger vision for the metaverse and digital identity and what to expect from The Fabricant in the coming months.

Podcast audio and video was edited by Daniel Flynn and Gary Leuci. Transcript was edited by Samuel Haig.

🎙Listen to the interview in this week’s podcast episode here:

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👀 Only paid subscribers have access to the full interview transcript below.

Cami Russo: Welcome, Adriana, to The Defiant Podcast. It’s great to have you here.

Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira: Thank you, Camila, it’s a pleasure.

CR: So Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira is the co-founder and CMO at The Fabricant and The Fabricant is a digital fashion house for the metaverse. This is very groundbreaking, we are here at the forefront of tech and crypto. I’m really interested to hear about what The Fabricant is doing and all the latest, but can we start at the basics, just for everyone who has no idea what a digital fashion house can do in the metaverse. Can you get into what The Fabricant does and is?

AHP: Yeah, sure. Maybe it’s worth taking a few steps back. The Fabricant started in 2018 and we [have] three founders — Amber, who is the creative director and comes from a fashion background, Kerry Murphy, who is a digital technologist very much from the visual effects background, and I come from traditional fashion retail, so more from the business and marketing angle. And the three of us came together and we had… this very strong belief …since 2018… that there was a space for digital-only fashion. And the reason for the belief is because fashion is all about identity, and identities are about creating your social connections, and if we are developing our identity and social connections online, why shouldn’t fashion be only digital?

Back then, the ‘metaverse’ word was not out there, NFTs didn’t exist in the public domain… so when we approached the fashion industry with this proposition, it was really hard for them to understand. For two years, we were actually working really close with fashion brands to bring them into the digital space, mostly using immersive technologies. And then some started 2019, we met with the team Dapper Labs, and… back then… they were… doing CryptoKitties. It was, for us, really such an eye-opener to learn about NFTs, to learn about blockchain, and to actually bring that into our own roadmap. And we, together with Dapper, launched the first digital dress, which was sold back then for 45 Ether — which of course today is enormous, but back then was $10,000, but still, we were all very impressed that we could sell it. And basically, that vision of a digital-only space, a digital-only fashion, was actually true and people were willing to pay for it, which allows us to build the confidence to really create a product-based business — which is the platform we call The Fabricant Studio where basically anybody can create digital fashion NFTs and then wear it in the metaverse and trade them on the platform. That’s where we are today.

What is exciting about it is that, for us, our big mission is to develop and nurture and lead this new fashion industry, which again is digital-only. We believe if we have a digital-only industry, it can be more sustainable, it can be more equitable, and it can be more creative and we want to do it in a decentralized way. So when we call ourselves a ‘digital fashion house’, it is really very much about creating the new labels for the metaverse, helping those new labels to exist, creating a full ecosystem that is there to provide fashion to the metaverse so all of us can explore identities in completely new ways.

CR: That’s so interesting that you started in digital fashion outside of crypto back in 2018 and you understood that our world is online, our identities are online, and so in the same way that we express ourselves in the physical world, it makes sense that we’ll want to express ourselves in the digital online world. And when you saw crypto and NFTs and Dapper Labs with CryptoKitties, why do you think it was actually blockchain technology and crypto that moved the initial concept forward? What specifically is it about crypto that enables this vision for digital fashion?

AHP: That’s a really good question. The vision has always been to lead a new industry of digital-only clothing. I think the shift that crypto allows and blockchain allows [is that] we are not in the leading position, we are in the enabling position. It really allows us to, instead of using the old model of what a fashion house in the physical world is [where] you just have a lot of designers, you create all your labels, and it’s all centrally owned. So let’s say LVMH, that’s the model — they have a lot of labels, they’re all centrally owned by the LVMH group, and all the designers are hired. And I think what blockchain enabled us [to do] was to actually make our vision much bigger and much more groundbreaking because we don’t need to own all of that. We want to actually nurture creators to be able to create their own enable and involve their fans in doing so. 

So when we talk [about] creating the wardrobe of the metaverse… if we believe in what the metaverse will be — which is billions of people — we believe the metaverse will allow us to actually change our identity several times a day, much faster than we change physical clothes. And if every year 80 billion physical clothes are created, imagine what it’s going to be when we are all going to express our identities digitally. It’s going to be trillions of clothes. There is no one single entity that will be able to create this volume. And that is what blockchain brought to us… we actually don’t need to be doing it. But what we can do is we can enable creators to actually create that brand, launch the brand, publish the brand in the metaverse, and co-create with the fans expanding exponentially the availability of fashion, the availability of styles, and the availability of economic value as well for the entire community.

CR: So is it that The Fabricant provides the platform for designers and creators to use that platform and create their own fashion pieces and lines? It’s not like The Fabricant is designing all of these pieces, it’s providing tools for creators to do that?

Using Web3 to disrupt the business model of the fashion industry

AHP: Absolutely, tools for creators. Also, anybody can participate because the heart of the experience is a co-creation tool where I can come in, and I’m not a creator [and] not a designer, and I can still have the same experience of designing and owning the NFTs and sharing the royalties with all the parties involved. That is what the studio enables. 

Next to the studio, we have The Fabricant Academy, which [we had] from the very beginning… we just didn’t call it [an] academy. But we gave away files, [we] were doing Twitch streams showing how we designed things because we really believe in sharing knowledge, and we collaborate a lot with universities as well. So now, we formalize the means to actually create and form professionals through the academy. We have our own label, we still do our own things because we are creators and we want to be part of the community, but it’s not only us, to your point. Anybody can be part of it, and I think that is the power of The Fabricant and what we are bringing.

CR: How does ownership play a part in this? I think that’s the key innovation that NFTs and crypto brings… to the internet, the ability to actually own a digital file and prove that ownership.

AHP: I believe that there are two elements that are really different from traditional fashion. One, again, anybody can become a fashion creator, the barriers of entry are much lower and the value is equalized. I think that is super beautiful — the kids that are in the [traditional] production line in Bangladesh don’t earn [when] you buy a t-shirt. But right now, they can earn because anybody can be a creator and set up their own label. 

The other side is… the royalty model [which was] very intentionally developed [into] the contract. When I’m customizing an item that, for example, The Fabricant created, and I’m a fan of The Fabricant and I customize the item, that item is mine, and I am also taking part in the royalty distribution. So the royalty is distributed equally between The Fabricant, who is the garment creator, we [also] have what we call the material creator, so we have a range of materials that I can choose from to customize, and myself — and these three entities are sharing the royalties equally. So it… really changed the value model of physical [production] where I buy an item — I’m a consumer of an item, and I hate this word and we don’t use these words at The Fabricant because we are moving from the consumer era into… all [being] creators, owners, and participants, so I like to use the word ‘participants’ in fashion rather than consumers of fashion. When I consume an item, it’s money given and it’s disposable — the value goes to the brand within our ecosystem. When you participate, the value flows back to you.

CR: If I buy a digital garment to use in my digital avatar, how will that value flow back to me?

AHP: Two ways. One is if you customize the item, then you are part of the royalty contract of that item. And as it gets resold, you are treated as a creator. [This is] different from buying an NFT right now — I buy an NFT, I can flip it, and I make the profit of the sale, but the royalties go to the original creator. In our model, you keep actually earning the royalties as the item gets resold over time. The other part is just like a normal NFT — it’s your garment, it’s part of your wardrobe, and you can still decide to resell it and make profit out of it.

CR: Got it, that’s so interesting. So for example, I’m thinking about these… Zara jeans and I cut holes into them, so I modified my garment. So it would be like if once I modified it, I took part in the creation process, in the digital world, I can earn royalties for actually participating in the creation of a new garment from the original piece?

AHP: Yeah, and I love the metaphor of the Zara jeans because actually, you put your creativity on it. And therefore you’re a creator, and when you resell it, you are treated as a creator…, and that’s what we love about it. And at the end of the day, the digital garments will have much more liquidity than a physical one. And yes, there is a lot of promotion of selling and buying secondhand items, but it’s still a very small percentage of the physical industry. While in the digital world, I think the liquidity is going to be much higher, and the trading is much easier, so that will enable people to truly monetize their creations.

CR: That’s so interesting. Before we get further into digital fashion and The Fabricant, I’d love to learn more about you. What’s your background and what led you to this space?

AHP: So my background is in fashion and retail. I only worked for really large corporations before The Fabricant, so it is my first startup. And yeah, I was a bit maybe disappointed or getting to a point that large corporations are not feeding my personal purpose anymore. I was really looking for something disruptive, built on technology and that would give back to society. I felt that especially in the model of fashion and retail there was a lot to gain, that that old consumer label model [where] you need to keep pushing new things didn’t feel quite right for me anymore… 

I knew Kerry for a long time, we studied together, so we were always in touch. Kerry knew Amber, and basically, we were brought together with three very different… but very complimentary… backgrounds, and all three of us [are] just passionate about creating disruption in fashion and creating something that is more sustainable, that is more creative, and that is more equitable. And that’s what we set ourselves to do and are still doing.

The Web3 revolution

CR: Very cool. So going a little broader. We’ve been talking about the metaverse, but people understand what the metaverse is in different ways. I’m interested to hear your definition?

AHP: I often get asked [this], at birthday parties, even to explain what we are doing. What I say, and [this] resonates with me, is I think it’s the third evolution of the web, and there are two elements. One is the evolution of media, and the second element is the evolution of ownership. When it comes to media, it’s very easy for people to grasp. It’s like when the web was launched, [it] was mainly text [and] was very functional, and then it evolved into text and images, then the social media phase[,] the web 2.0 phase came in and became really relational. We can’t live without it anymore, and it evolved from text, to pictures, to videos. And the next wave is going to be immersive media, and it is going to be really built into the gaming engine technology. And that is very easy to grasp, it makes sense. We are already using AI filters that are already part of it. But that whole immersive piece, as a media evolution, will be revolutionary on its own. 

But next to that, what makes it most exciting is, again, the backbone of blockchain. And I think before the web, we felt that our information was ours, and maybe governments had access to that. But before we knew it, our information belonged to other people and they were monetizing our information without us even realizing. I think it’s reached the point now that we accept it because it’s [part of] the service that we are getting, but equally, there is nobody else challenging that service. So I need to give in order to get right, which is the social lock of Facebook and the whole web two ecosystem. And what I see is that blockchain will allow us to unlock that prison, and for one side… will allow us to define what is the value of our data.

The example I typically use is I make a picture of a dish and I tag a restaurant on Instagram — I’m a photographer, I’m a content creator, but who is making money using Instagram? In the Web3 environments, I can still do the same thing — I’ll tag that picture, and Instagram, if you want to use it, you need to deposit in my wallet. And I think that is going to be… extremely empowering, but it’s going to be very educational for people to understand their value as human beings, the creative value put out there, and it’s going to change the dynamics of power. [Web3] is going to allow… the current dynamics of power to be changed because they can be built in decentralized ways, they can be built as DAOs, they can be built as cooperatives, they can be built as individual artists that actually can reach their friendship base and create value together. And I’m super excited about that part.

CR: Yeah, I one hundred percent agree that the exciting part about Web3 is that the infrastructure of the internet is changing and including this value layer to it where people can have ownership of their data and their assets for the first time. Before, digital data and assets were really hard to actually own, but crypto enables this for the first time. So I think that’s a very revolutionary aspect of Web3. But wondering about the metaverse aspect, because besides this ownership aspect, it’s also represented as this space that requires VR headsets, virtual reality worlds, and these avatars. Do you see it that way? Do you think that our experience online is headed to these virtual realities, headsets, and AI? Is that where we’re going? 

The interaction between fashion and virtual reality

AHP: Well,… [this] has been part of our thesis from day one, that there will come a day where we are going to want to own only one piece of physical clothes — which is to protect our body, and our digital wardrobe is going to be vast, very vast. And the way we’re going to experience it is that augmented reality is going to be beamed on our bodies. So just like we have WiFi everywhere now, imagine that there will be a moment that the web connection, the mobile connection, is going to be powerful enough for us to beam new realities on top of our physical reality. And then this distinction between physical and digital is not going to be as abrupt as it is right now. And if anything, our lives are going to be enhanced.

At that moment, not only fashion will be augmented, but objects are going to be augmented. Nature is going to be augmented, and we are going to create really magical worlds out there. And it’s going to be fascinating. We are building a business for that, we are building a business for a moment where our digital wardrobe is going to be our wardrobe. Now, there will be a path to get there for sure. And I think the first step to get there which will enable bridging a lot of what we call web 2.0 and Web3 is Augmented Reality (AR) filters. I think we already see them evolving, getting better. We actually are offering our NFTs with AR filters…, it’s probably going to start in August, where you can buy NFTs that have AR filters allocated to them, and you can actually wear your digital items in a zoom call.

CR:  Oh cool.

AHP: So I think there is that step, and then there are the steps that are coming in parallel to that, which are in these 3D spaces — I think the most well-known is Decentraland, The Sandbox, Spacial, and there are so many others. We are in touch every week with new spaces that are coming. And I think they… are a good bridge from where we are to where we are going. You don’t need [VR glasses] to be in [them], but you are in an environment where you’re meeting up and you’re controlling the space, you’re directing the space — it feels like a game environment. 

I do feel that there will be premium experiences where you’re going to start wearing glasses very soon. I also think that those [VR and AR] glasses have been evolving technology-wise to be super lightweight, polite, [and] are going to allow for mass adoption. I’m completely confident about it because if you just look at the evolution of technology from mobile phones — which used to be like suitcases, to what we have right now, it indicates that the same is going to happen with those VR glasses or augmented reality glasses. And they will reach a point [in terms of] price[,] aesthetics, [and] ease of use, mass adoption. When they are going to be used in the context of daily life? I don’t know. But I can totally see them used in a context of professional life, I can totally see doctors being aided by glasses that help them to do their work and surgeries. And I can totally see that. I dunno if they’re going to be appealing enough for everyday use, I was talking another day with a company that’s actually working on contact lenses, which is even further. It is amazing, it’s absolutely going to get there. We are absolutely convinced about it. It’s going to be a [long] path, and a lot of this is defined by technology that’s beyond our control. But we are absolutely ripe for the next step, which is what we call ‘metaverse publishing’. 

And as I said, we have AR, we have relationships with Decentraland and Sandbox — so the way we work right now at the end of every campaign… we have a fashion show with the items created by the users, and the last fashion show is in Decentraland… We map… our items, which are very high definition,… back into the Decentraland look and feel, and we create what they call ‘digital twins’ with the Decentraland look, feel, and form. And you [can] wear your items in the metaverse, in a metaverse situation.

CR: Let me see if I can summarize the evolution of this vision. So for today’s use, what you see is things like AR enhancements — maybe these filters that you can overlay in video calls — maybe that’s a use case that anyone could understand and use right now. I think that’d be really cool, I’d like to do that. Then the next step and, and maybe in parallel with that use case, is more like the virtual reality use case that we’re seeing in Decentraland, CryptoVoxels, and Somnia — all these spaces where you don’t need a headset or anything, you can just log in on your web browser and go into these virtual reality worlds, and it does feel like a game and you have your avatar, and then these fashion pieces can be worn in that setting, right?

AHP: Correct.

CR: And right now, it’s like… the interaction in those worlds is pretty limited. I think people go in as a curiosity and like checking things out, but I don’t see people actually experimenting and living much of their lives there. Do you see the tech evolving into a place where people are doing more of their social meetings or work meetings in those VR worlds?

AHP: I think right now they’re very much event-driven. You go there for an experience, you get out because there is, to your point, not much going on. Their ability to engage creators, to create experiences and games is what’s going to define their success as a world. Just take Roblox as an example, it’s a very successful metaverse you could say, or Fortnite is a very successful metaverse — people go there, they experience, they do things together… in a very gamified way… but they come back. What I expect is that Decentraland, Somnia, and The Sandbox, they are going to operate by the same principles, and there will be a reason for you to return because it’s fun, because it’s entertaining, because maybe, you know, you get loyalty tokens that you can use and buy staff. So I can totally see that evolving, and it’s already evolving. If you look at Decentraland alone, which is a team we talk with very often and work together, the amount of events that they’re putting on is absolutely increasing. In the fashion week, they were able to bring 40,000 people into the fashion week to experience it, which is a really big number for a blockchain experience right now.  So I think they all can evolve.

Getting into a work situation, like moving from Zoom calls to meeting each other, I think it will also get there, but the experience needs to evolve to more… one thing that I miss the most is like whiteboard sessions, really picking up post-its from the wall. And some software does a good job, but I’d really miss just standing up, picking up stuff, circling with the pan. And when we get there, I’m totally convinced that we’re going to have 3D offices that we’re going to meet up in — I’m waiting for that, I love that. And again, you want to be dressed for that. And that’s what I think — you’re going to be dressed… for different situations… just like in normal life… differently… I’m convinced… you’re going to have more than one avatar… You’re going to have one to play, one to hang out, one to work, and you’re going to be changing it. And fashion is going back to [being] something fun to play with.

CR: Nice. And then to finish the evolution. That’s the VR world. And then your super futuristic vision, which I love — it’s so out there, this vision with the very minimalist glasses where actual physical reality is augmented. So it’s like you’re not logging into a specific virtual reality world, you are in your own space, but that is being modified and augmented. Is that how you, you see it?

AHP: No, I think actually it’s beyond your own space. You’re walking on the streets and you’re actually having your reality augmented. A lot of things that are now physical and static are already being augmented through technology — think about traffic signs, depending on the road traffic, you’re going to get traffic signs that change. Through digital posting, imagine that instead of being a physical [traffic] post that changes, I predict the technology is just going to be beamed, and you’re going to have signs on the street that are beamed to orient you to drive or walk, and you’re going to have also new types of flowers emerging from the ground, as you’re going to have new pieces of clothes that you can change anytime in the day.

CR: That’s so interesting! And you’re seeing this technology is already being worked on?

AHP: I think there is a lot of holographic technology that people are working on. On really longer timelines, there is a lot of haptech technology as well — so it can create texture, and especially for fashion, it’s super interesting that you don’t need to touch something to feel it. I do expect that will come much later because it’s dependent on not only having the hardware, but having the software, and having also the mobile internet power to be able for those things to happen. But at a small scale, there are a lot of people playing with augmented realities.

The road ahead for The Fabricant

CR: Very cool. So right now, how is The Fabricant being used? How are the different garments that are being created used, and bought and sold right now?

AHP: So right now, you can find all the garments that exist from The Fabricant and the co-creators in The Fabricant Studio… And once you’re there, you can be part of the co-creation campaigns. So they happen as campaigns that typically last one week at maximum. So you can be a co-creator, and then you receive a very high quality rendering as an NFT, and that NFT allows you to have a wearable. And right now, we did the first seasons with wearables in Decentraland and The Sandbox, and they were given to some owners, but we are scaling that possibility to really allow for everybody to have… at least one wearable… before the end of the year called one wearable utility… At least one wearable [where users can] not only have the NFT, but wear it in Decentraland or in another metaverse experience.

For us, the next six months are really important as a building phase for that pipeline because creating the wearables has two technical challenges. One is translating them into the different languages of the metaverses. So The Sandbox is super pixelated, Decentraland is more poly, you have other ones that are… more defined. And we build everything in the highest definition. Our design is a true fashion design as there is a huge amount of details that needs to be creatively translated. And secondly, the blockchain. We built our product on Flow because it’s the most sustainable chain out there, and also we felt it was safe and was fast, and fit to our roadmap. A lot of the users right now and NFT buyers as we know are on Ethereum… And the worlds as well — so both Decentraland and The Sandbox, as an example, are built on Ethereum, so we need to make sure that those items are dropped into non-Flow wallets. And right now, we are gifting them, but we want to make sure that they are gifted and they remain part of the ownership package of the creators, and that everything’s done in a similar way. So our tech team is working relentlessly for the next months to really make that… cross-chain experience really top-notch to allow us to then scale for what we call ‘the wearing publishing’.

CR: So it sounds like a big task, each garment needs to be compatible with different blockchains, but also different worlds. Like you have your original garment, but it needs to be translated to Decentraland, The Sandbox, and so on. So it’s like you need to create many different versions of the same item for people to actually be able to enjoy it in all the different ways they interact.

AHP: Correct.

CR: So interesting. And right now, just to get an idea, do you have a number of the amount of garments created? Do you have a way to gauge how many of those garments are actually being used?

AHP: So right now, the studio is invitation-only. So it is not that everybody can actually be part of it. We have been very much curating the attendance and invitations. So we have about 2,000 users that have created items. On average, everybody creates close to two items… And I would say that around 5% have a digital twin at this moment, which means that has a wearing equivalent in a world. And that’s the scalability that we are building as we speak, to allow for every item to actually have a wearing utility.

CR: So users or participants can create. You have 2,000 creators on The Fabricant Studio, and of those, 5% have twins — which means that the items they have created have a version that can be worn by a digital avatar in a blockchain-based land. What does it take to make these wearable twins? Is it a complicated process, or can anyone just go and make a twin?

AHP: That’s a really good question. [Creating twins] is a manual process and they are very skilled artists that make those translations together with our designer team. And that’s why, for us, it’s super important to create that technical pipeline to scale them, because we won’t be able to scale all of them manually for sure. So that’s what our tech team is working on right now. It’s going to be a semi-automated process for some worlds, an automated process for other ones. It is a challenge, but we are super positive to crack it.

I think for us it’s a service for the creators. We want to bring the wearing utility so being part of The Fabricant ecosystem means that you can co-create, that you have royalties in your co-creation, but also that you can wear. And you have access to learning, what we call the academy modules. So it’s not an NFT marketplace, it’s really… you could even say, an incubator of digital fashion labels. And we want to create that full service where wearing is super important and is one of our top priorities for the coming moms.

CR: So right now it’s a pretty manual process, but you’re working so that it’s more automated.

AHP: Yeah, totally.

The Fabricant teams up with World of Women

CR: So talk to me about this collab with World of Women. What’s that about?

AHP: We are creating the World of Women 3D collection, or fashion collection. And we worked with Yam Karkai and the team to translate her neckline PFPs into true head-to-toe garments in 3D. And we dropped them to the owners of World of Women, so every single owner got the equivalent of the women that they own, they got the equivalent dress. It’s 27 items, it’s a huge collection. 

What I love is that now… at the end of June, we’re going to open the collection to be co-created by the World of Women holders, the World of Woman Galaxy holders, our community, but also a few female Web3 communities. And we both have this very intentional mission to make Web3 a diverse space, and we wanted to make it like a woman[-focused] campaign where we bring fashion and women to Web3. So we deliberately went to invite other female projects to join forces and create fashion first. So I’m super excited about that angle. 

The other angle that I’m super excited about the collaboration for is the fact that to me, this is the next level of PFP projects. To me, PFP projects, really the blue-chip ones, are not PFP anymore — they are brands, they’re lifestyle brands. And I just love the idea of enabling them to create digital fashion, to be like that platform where World of Women is extending their brand into digital fashion. And you can wear World of Women in the metaverse. I think that’s super cool. That’s just like [when] I buy a label of a fashion brand, like maybe you buy Balenciaga, or Gucci, or Nike, and you are actually going to say I’m buying World of Women.

I think that disrupting the system is super powerful because what I believe the big disruption that this is bringing is that it’s not about the big brands anymore. It is about curating these labels from communities that love the label, that love the brand — World of Women is a loved brand to me, so the holders love it. They want to wear it because they believe in the community. And the way we are enabling that to happen, I’m super proud of the team. I’m super proud of the World of Women team as well to trust us. But I see this as the next platform for lifestyle brands, Web3 lifestyle brands.

CR: That’s so interesting. A couple of things to clarify. So in this collection, all World of Women NFT holders got their own dress to go with their PFP. And from there you said that The Fabricant studio will be open to that community. So that means that if I got a dress for my World of Women NFT, I’ll be able to go and modify it, create on top of it, and make it so that it [represents] my personality — is that right?

AHP: Yeah, correct. 

CR: And then would I be able to make this World of Women PFP plus her dress my virtual reality avatar and be that on Decentraland?

AHP: Ultimately, yes. So we are first doing what we call ‘the twin seven originals’. We call them the originals, non-modified. Those [twins] we actually create in The Sandbox, and also we are creating Decentraland twins. So those are going to be available, and as I said, we are working on our pipeline to enable that every single item that is modified is also available in a wearable form before the end of the year. We also have a partnership with Ready Player Me and Spatial, so some of the items are also going to be available in Spatial — which is really cool because you can actually always recreate the same avatar in 3D through the Spatial kit. So you can actually truly also dress and customize your own self in 3D using the World Of Women collection.

NFTs as ‘lifestyle statements’ and the challenges facing web 2.0 brands

CR: That’s so cool! I also wanted to dig a bit deeper on what you said about NFT collections being the new lifestyle brands. How do you think that will evolve in the future? Will things like World of Women and Bored Apes replace major brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci? Will these new blockchain-based brands be the new status symbols going forward?

AHP: I think in a way they already are for the Web3 community. If you have an ape on your profile, that’s actually a bigger… lifestyle statement… than anything else… And again, as we move into these 3D engagements, you also want to dress yourself and you want to create your avatar… And I think the greatest disruption that there is, is that the level of affinity that I have with a Web3 community is much bigger than the level of affinity I’m having with fashion brands. And it has to do with values. It has to do with not being treated as a consumer, but being treated as a contributor, as a participant. The fact that these communities have tokens allows me to vote. The value flows back into me as a community owner, which doesn’t happen right now with fashion brands.

CR: Yeah, it certainly is already happening, it’s been fascinating to see. I really like this vision of PFPs extending into full-blown personas, like online avatars with their wardrobes. I think that’s a really cool vision.

AHP: I think some of them will also have their own worlds. But again, that level of identity will be for PFP projects, but also for some artists that are in the space. I think music is another one that has a very strong friendship base that was always limited to a transactional relationship, and in Web3 that can evolve into something much bigger where you give value to your fans, and you’re already… seeing it with music artists. But I foresee that any entity, person, or community that has a strong love and a strong group of lovers of your philosophy will have their own digital label that you are going to be wearing in the universe to show who you belong to, to show which tribe you belong to.

CR: Fascinating. What role do traditional brands have in all this? I know there have been so many announcements about [the likes of] Nike, Prada, and other huge brands getting involved with NFTs and creating their own collections… many others, I think everyone is trying to get on top of this. What role will they have?

AHP: First of all, I welcome them trying, I think it’s better to try than to deny. However, what I do see is that [big brands still treat it] as another revenue source, as ‘we can make big money with it’ rather than really embracing that change of relationship. I still see brands coming in and saying ‘oh, these are my consumers, and I’m going to give them something different’, or as a marketing trick rather than truly seeing this as a community, and that these are not consumers anymore — they are shareholders of your enterprise, they are participants in your idea, they’re co-creators of your clothes. I don’t see any of the brands adopting that attitude quite yet. I think, if anything, Nike was smart to actually acknowledge that they have a business model that is about physical, and they bought Artifact to learn and have a playground which doesn’t need to follow the Nike rules but can start infusing those dynamics hopefully back into their core business. But apart from that, I think everybody’s coming with a very short-term gain attitude.

CR: Yeah, I agree. I think in general, that’s what we’ve seen. Like the way that web 2.0 is interacting with Web3 is not really adopting the core [ethos] of the space into their practices, but trying to fit the old ways [with] the new ways in a way that’s not very organic. I believe that in Web3, it’ll be Web3-native projects and communities [that are] the ones that really succeed, I don’t think it’ll come from web 2.0 because it’s just a different model. All these huge brands would have to change their entire business model to adapt, and I don’t think they’ll do that.

AHP: I agree, and I understand it as well. It’s like even in the scale of things, a company that makes billions in revenue, like an Adidas, if they do like a $1M drop, that’s not a lot of money. To change an entire company and to go through all the hassle that it is, which is to set up a completely new model of operating for probably less than 1% of the revenue, it’s really hard. Why would they buy into that? And I think that is where startups and small businesses always have this disruptive nature, because we eat from the outsides before they know a big part of the business is eroding into a new direction. And I think that’s going to happen, that when [big brands] wake up [it will be] because a big part of the business will have gone to labels that are catering to a much more friendship-rewarded distribution model, and then they will need to jump into it. And I’m afraid it’s going to be too late.

CR: Yeah, I agree. And then to start wrapping up, I think we have to address the state of the market. Things have shifted dramatically from last year and it seems like we are decidedly in a crypto bear market now. Everything has sold off, the macro environment is very bleak. How have you seen attitudes change towards the metaverse, which used to be such a big hype word? Now, I’m not sure if people are as excited about learning and experimenting as they were before. Have you seen a decline in interest, or in people wanting to create? How do you prepare for a prolonged bear market?

AHP: I don’t think that there is a decline. I think if anything, it’s a good resettling of the playing field. And I think it challenges projects to be more serious and be more solid, and have true roadmaps and true intent, so I welcome the phase we are in.

For us, it’s actually great because in a way it takes a bit of the pressure off to ship stuff to the market, we can really concentrate on building. So for us, it’s perfect. And we are just in a very fortunate position to have done our Series A, have great investors behind The Fabricant that actually invested in us knowing that we are building something for the long-term of a really disrupting nature, but a great opportunity. So we have quite a long period of allowance for that build, which, without a bear market, would still be the agenda for us. And I think if anything, it’s a good thing for the entire ecosystem.

CR: Yeah, it’s what I’m hearing. It’s like a bear market is a great time to build, takes the pressure off, takes the hype away, the fluff away from the market. And then to finish, Adriana, what makes you defiant?

Shaking up Web3

AHP: I didn’t expect that question, although I always listen to your podcast. I think it is not giving up on the dream. Really, in 2018…, we would go to meetings and people would call us lunatics. We were in a meeting in London last week with the high fashion industry, and we were called socialists.

CR: <Laugh> Why?

AHP: Because we were with the very high-end, and their models are based on exclusivity. And we were saying ‘actually, anybody can be a creator, and we are about giving value back to the community and equalizing the playing field’. And for brands that have been built on exclusivity and very high prices… that feels like, in their words, socialist. ‘You can’t drink champagne in the metaverse’, we seriously heard that. And I love that, I love it. The more I hear it, the more I love it. This whole thing about partnering with World of Women is also driven by that non-conformist nature. [Web3] is full of white males, [and] we need to change it. Let’s do something to shake it up. So we, as a team, are continuing to… do something to shake it up. And that’s a Web3 punk nature that we want to keep.

CR: I love it, amazing. Well, yeah, I think that’s a great message to end on — never giving up on the dream, being nonconformist. And maybe you can’t drink champagne in the metaverse, but you can rock an absolutely amazing avatar. That is already the new status symbol of the web. Adrianna, this was a fascinating conversation. Thank you so much for joining me!

AHP: Thank you so much, Camila, for the invitation. It was super nice and I hope to see you wearing The Fabricant’s clothes very soon.

CR: Oh, I’d love to. Definitely!



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