Givenchy is tapping into the controversial world of non-fungible tokens with the launch of 15 NFTs in collaboration with Chito, an airbrush artist based in Mexico.
— Givenchy (@givenchy) November 22, 2021
The collection of artworks will range from cartoon characters, animated symbols and renditions of the Givenchy logo. Interestingly, the familiar Givenchy rottweiler hasn’t made the cut, with a pit bull featuring instead. This could purely be a matter of coming later but maybe this is Williams’ subtle reminder that a new era is now taking place, the rottweiler going the way of former creative director Riccardo Tisci.
Givenchy Creative Director Matthew Williams had previously worked with the 24-year-old Chito for his Spring/Summer 2022 collection so it feels like a natural progression of the brand to make their first entrance into the digital market with the same artist.
Described as the first “originals”, Williams has hinted that these are merely the first in a series of Givenchy NFTs that will be made available.
According to Givenchy, portions from the sales made from the NFT’s will go to Givenchy’s preferred charity foundation, The Ocean Cleanup.
Of course, dabbling in blockchain has developed its own unique environmental concerns. To ensure that they’re walking the talk, Givenchy’s press release states that the brand’s NFTs will live on the Polygon network, a blockchain that uses less energy than its competitors.
That a fashion house of Givenchy’s stature would dabble in the NFT market isn’t surprising but it does raise some interesting questions on how they’ll regulate the ongoing debate around authenticity within the NFT field.
Originality of design is prized in fashion, and while reference or remixing is often incorporated in collections as homage, copy-paste is not.
Debates and arguments in the Twittersphere over right clicking and screenshots offer both an afternoon of amused scrolling and serious hot takes.
You think it's funny to take screenshots of people's NFTs, huh? Property theft is a joke to you? I'll have you know that the blockchain doesn't lie. I own it. Even if you save it, it's my property. You are mad that you don't own the art that I own. Delete that screenshot.
— Hurt CoPain (@SaeedDiCaprio) November 5, 2021
Where does that leave stories like this one, which include provided replicas of the so-called “originals”?
Who owns it, really, when the artwork is just ones and zeros on the screen and media already have been sent copies?
But that’s the catch – and one that that isn’t often relayed in discussions of NFTs and their operational value – bidders and buyers never actually own the image.
“Functionality is beyond the image,” says futurist researcher and journalist Noelle Faulkner. “NFTs are the new membership cards and loyalty programs for brands.
The image is one thing, but the technology behind it is the digital ledger and blockchain, that allows them to be part of a small group of early adopters. When people purchase an NFT they become part of a small group of superfans of the brand, and the NFTs are like a VIP badge that could grant them access to virtual or real-world experiences, like limited-edition drops, fashion shows or skins for avatars that others won’t.”
But if Banksy has taught us anything, there’s plenty of people who will pay plenty more money to burn. So best of luck to them.
The sale will take place on OpenSea, from 23 November until 29 November 6pm CET (from 3am today), with the highest bids for each NFT being the lucky winners.