Ever fancied buying a virtual abaya – a digital collectable, exclusively for you and signed by the designer?
Marking International Women’s Day, a renowned fashion designer, launched the world’s first collection of digital abayas in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in Dubai.
In collaboration with SkyneNFT company, Dutch-born haute couture designer Ilja Visser released 50 pieces of the abaya NFT collection as a new addition to the digital Arab fashion and a first-of-its-kind feat in the global industry.
The collection, titled ‘Sculptural Comfort’, features unique abaya NFTs split into five themes: Signature, Dutch, Middle East, Space and Elements of Nature.
At the launch event held in Dubai in the presence of Lody Embrechts, Ambassador of Netherlands to the UAE, and fashion enthusiasts, Visser said, “When I moved to Dubai around a year ago, I was inspired by the beauty of abayas, which no one wore at the Netherlands where I grew up. The elegance of women in the Middle East who dressed in abayas of different colors and designs prompted me to launch this collection in celebration and admiration of the Arabic fashion.”
Visser, who has dressed A-list celebrities like Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Kourtney Kardashian, said the collection is also a tribute to the Arab world’s deeply rooted history presented in abayas as fashion items.
“I consider it an honour to project my creative vision on such a historical garment and to bring this vision into the digital world”.
While NFTs enable people to own the original items exclusively, the digital collectables are non-replicable. Similarly, each piece of the NFT abaya collection is unique and personally designed and digitally signed by Visser.
“No two abayas in the collection are the same. Each is unique in its own right,” said Visser, noting that the exclusivity of the abaya NFT collection seeks to empower women worldwide by featuring unique runway items dedicated to Arabic fashion.
As a fashion designer, Visser said the metaverse presents a limitless creative space to combine physical fashion elements with metaphysical aspects together “in a female, nonchalant undertone that brings my creativity to a higher level.”
Buyers can mint the abayas at a price of 1.45 Ethereum (equivalent to Dh13,500), the most popular cryptocurrency, to be added to their digital wallets.
For the first time in the Middle East, buyers can avail their digital abayas using their debit or credit card.
Roel Vos, the co-founder of SkyneNFT, said, “Those who are not experienced in digital wallets and cryptocurrencies can use their debit or credit card to buy the digital collectables. After receiving a code on their email, they need to bring official documents to our offices as proof of ownership. We can then help them create their digital wallet where they can transfer the asset.”
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On launching the digital abayas, Vos said the aim was to connect Visser’s extensive fashion expertise to produce the abaya as a tribute to Arabic fashion through the NFTs, which have taken the art fashion industry by storm.
Last year, Gucci became the first luxury brand to delve into the forays of NFTs when it partnered with the art auction house Christie’s on an NFT video called “Aria,” which sold for $25,000 in June.
Every NFT of Visser’s collection includes three items: the sketch of the abaya, the abaya NFT itself, and a personally developed image where the buyer is wearing the NFT, which can be created after the purchase and shared on social media.
Five of the 50 abaya NFTs will have an animated catwalk version of the abaya.
The second phase will see the launch of five NFTs of the rarest items that Ilja Visser designed for A-listers around the world. “It could be the dress that Lady Gaga wears or the outfit of Janet Jackson,” said Vos.
The third phase will create 30 NFTs of digital wall rugs, three NFTs per item.