To offer a more sustainable solution and reinvent themselves, brands are gradually exploring innovative solutions, such as the metaverse fashion. Founder of Futures Factory, Nicolas Romero shares with us his aspirations and vision of the metaverse fashion. Futures Factory is a creator-first startup operating at the forefront of the Sneaker Culture and the Web3 space. This company exists to empower creators to design the future of Next-Gen Footwear. During DRP Paris event, METAV.RS in collaboration with Futures Factory showcased a digital twin in Augmented Reality of an incredible sneaker, designed by ISDKV.
What was the inspiration behind Futures Factory?
I created and launched a sneakers brand in 2019, called Satoshi Studio, which uses blockchain protocol to create a more transparent and circular model, with a production still driven by customer demand. In this project, NFTs are used to ensure the traceability of the product and create a digital twin of each pair of sneakers. It all happened when I saw for the first time OpenSea selling digital artworks as NFTs. These digital artworks were often sold with their physical equivalent, so with my business partner, we thought of implementing a new economic model.
Therefore, we proposed to designers who liked our project to use Web3 tools to present their universe and skills to the communities. They understood that thanks to the NFTs and the rise of gaming, there was an opportunity for them to sell their products directly to their followers. Other designers were also thrilled by the fact that they could have 3D wearables sneakers in virtual worlds, where there is no limit to creativity. Futures Factory aims at helping designers and brands in the conception of digital sneakers and footwear in general.
Is it possible to create a quality physical twin from a pair of virtual sneakers?
We’ve got very sophisticated models. And there are clearly things that are not feasible. A great example I will say is architecture. You can create amazing templates on draft, but you can’t replicate them in real life. The interest of digital designs here is mainly to create emotions. Conceiving a physical product inspired by the unusual design of a virtual sneakers is still unlikely. Very often it remains a work of art, because not all sneakers can be made in real life. It is more linked to collectible items, ready for the metaverse Fashion.
What are the values of Futures Factory?
Futures Factory wants to emphasize creativity, to not set any limit as far as ingenuity is concerned, to push the boundaries, to always test and compare, and to find better ways of doing things than the existing ones.
The creator’s community is very important for us too, that’s why we always push them to become better and improve. Sustainability is also a core component of our business model. We always keep in mind to build a viable and sustainable future. We see technology as a tool to make the world a better place. Besides, we encourage business partners and designers to build a sustainable future for fashion.
I think it is much more interesting when fashion is linked to technical utility. The design, whatever it is, must have a purpose. It’s also a way to counteract the ecologically unfriendly trends of Fast Fashion.
Who does Future Factory appeal to?
The interest was to formulate an offer for brands and designers wanting to explore their creativity as much as possible and bring their virtual and physical projects to life.
On the designer side, we earned some authority through word of mouth. On the consumer side however, we’ve realized that the majority came from the crypto sphere and had other needs, and that they were not, as we had previously expected, average sneakers lovers wanting to own virtual or physical assets. What made our sneakers holders really love our collection is the sense of investing in assets that they could wear through their avatars in video games and metaverses in the future.
We mention Investment because in the case that a designer becomes famous, their creations will cost more and provide holders with a significant return on investment in the future. However, holders have made it clear that this investment would not lie just with one designer, but with the whole Futures Factory ecosystem. Therefore, we reworked our offer some time ago.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for Fashion brands in the Web3?
There are two scenarios here. Either it is a Web3 Native Vertical Brand and therefore already addresses a well identified public, or it is an existing traditional brand trying to start a Web3 adventure. In the second case, it is very complex because it will depend on the brand image.
Going into Web3 for a brand that doesn’t need to can be extremely risky because it’s a universe with very specific codes, also linked to the gaming universe. I think approximately 90% of Fashion brands have not yet taken a step into Web3. This will come gradually because everything is still under construction, whether it is tools or experiences.
“However, the Metaverse Fashion will not remain a niche sector.” Nicolas Romero
Web3 will be democratized once it is more mature and more developed. It will underlie use cases like identity, health and finance. Many will use blockchain without even knowing. The Web3 and “crypto culture” on the other hand, will remain the darling of tiny groups.
Around which missions does Future Factory define its action?
Our mainspring is to allow designers to fulfill themselves and redefine the future of footwear and digital fashion. It is starting with fairer production models, with the least possible impact on the planet. It means offering designers a space where they can express themselves, where they can find funding and easier ways to enter Web3. Our ambition for 2025 is to be an accelerator for the best creators.
In your opinion, are fashion brands reluctant to engage in metaverse experiences wrong?
They are right to a certain extent. Some of them are aware that for the moment, it doesn’t match with their heritage nor value. This is like brands that didn’t want to sell on the Internet because they were waiting to be sure enough, they had to have 100% control over the technology. The worst mistake would be to go there because everyone is.
I’d rather have a brand that does nothing at all and goes when they are ready than one that goes for petty reasons. The most important thing is to stick to your identity. And entering Web3 is also entering a new culture. What can be done, for example, are collaborations. Brands, especially luxury ones, can therefore rely on solutions that already have credibility and join forces to create a hybrid project (Nike & RTFKT for instance). The best way is to merge with an existing Web3 structure rather than launch alone.
Thank you, Nicolas! We wish the Futures Factory team the best of luck and we’ll see you soon. To discover more digital Web3 actors’ point of view, read THE METAVERSES CHALLENGES BY FRÉDÉRIC CAVAZZA