Bottoms Up and Top Down Fashion: Gucci, NFTs, and the Infinite Power of DAOs

DAOs hold the potential to help birth new fashion brands and help evolve old fashion brands. DAOs can serve as a catalyst for launching new brands or products, with the underlying DAO community contributing to their sustained development and growth.

Bottoms Up and Top Down Fashion: Gucci, NFTs, and the Infinite Power of DAOs

Luxury brand Gucci recently bought $25,000 worth of RARE tokens in order to join the SuperRareDAO. ‘Buying in’ to the DAO has now allowed Gucci to set up a “Vault Art Space” with SuperRare, an exhibition of NFT artwork featuring 27 different artists. A specific Gucci ‘online gallery’ will also soon exist on SuperRare. You can imagine this gallery featuring Gucci-affiliated artists, SuperRare-picked artists, and perhaps Gucci-created NFTs related to their fashion products.

Taking a step back, let’s describe all of the above in more detail. SuperRare is a curated NFT marketplace that has been operating for several years, featuring an exclusive group of ‘high quality’ artists to list and sell their work on SuperRare. You could consider SuperRare one of the premier digital art galleries in the NFT space. In August of 2021, SuperRare launched a RARE token and a DAO. A DAO is a decentralized, autonomous organization - a new type of Web3-enabled social infrastructure where people are able to actively participate in governing an organization through tokens and practices that should be more transparent, programmable, and decentralized. By owning the newly minted RARE tokens, you are able to take a more active role in voting on the future direction of SuperRare.

Gucci has launched NFTs before and is beginning to accept crypto as payment. Now they’re getting involved with a DAO by buying some RARE tokens. To the executives at Gucci, perhaps step one here is building out Gucci brand awareness within the Web3 community and reaping the PR benefits of being one of the first fashion brands to do this. By spending only $25,000 in tokens, they have probably received millions of dollars worth of credibility and awareness across media outlets like Neustreet.

Moving forward, Gucci could take an active role in helping decide the future of SuperRare. Maybe Gucci sees a way to distribute their own products on SuperRare or perhaps a way to recruit future artists/designers for upcoming Gucci fashion lines. Gucci’s core business is selling products whose high end value and exclusivity is buttressed by the strength of their brand. That leads us to ask how, on a fundamental business level, does joining the SuperRareDAO help Gucci’s bottom line? Could they even begin to expand and start selling more digital products? Or is this all just a PR stunt? This is an early experiment without many clear answers for the future, but it required an admirable level of forward thinking from the Gucci team when it comes to Web3.

Gucci's SuperRare DAO buy-in has helped me think about potential DAOs in the fashion space as either through ‘Bottoms-Up’ or ‘Top-Down.’ Within this context, DAOs can serve as a catalyst for launching new fashion brands or products, with the underlying DAO community contributing to its sustained development and growth.

Bottoms-Up Fashion DAOs

Consider Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the most high profile NFT projects. The Bored Ape team recently released Ape Coin, through which ownership of the coin allowed people to participate in the ApeCoin DAO. You could propose launching a fashion brand based off the Bored Ape Yacht Club IP. This could all originate from a community-driven proposal and considering how BAYC merchandise has become a key part of the brand’s strength, it’s a fairly likely scenario for the DAO. Using tokens from the treasury and the collective global brain power of the ApeCoin DAO, the grassroots community could launch a formidable fashion brand.

NFT fashion brand RTFKT offers another example - while they haven't launched a DAO or token, RTFKT has a powerful global community and a distributed group of designers and contributors who have helped previous NFT projects.

Truly, any strong NFT community could theoretically launch a bottoms up fashion brand through their DAO, with tokens serving as the bottoms up organizing mechanism.

Top Down Fashion DAOs

On the flipside, you could imagine a world where major fashion brands see value in creating DAOs for their own brand. Hypothetically, imagine if Balenciaga were to launch a DAO. They could launch their own tokens and distribute them to current Balenciaga customers allowing them to have a stake in company decisions, where they could vote on proposals for the brand or be provided financial incentives to propose their own artistic ideas for future Balenciaga products. Really, any fashion brand could be inclined to launch a DAO in the future. Imagine SupremeDAO, UniqloDAO, or ZaraDAO...

While the decision to launch a DAO would have to come ‘top-down’ from the corporate management level, the DAOs could be a community rallying point to contribute to the parent fashion brand. Critically, community members could be rewarded for their contributions by receiving valuable NFTs from the brand in exchange for contributions that help grow the brand. The longevity of Balenciaga could be strengthened by getting the most active members of their community to contribute to the brand’s future- contributors will have grown greater brand loyalty and devotion.

Whether bottoms-up or top-down, DAOs hold the potential to bring fashion brands into a more prominent existence and maintain their growth through an active community. In this case, we’re talking about DAOs as a kind of ‘commercial art collective’ that launch and continually contribute to a fashion brand; and an optimal way to incentivize this structure is through leveraging NFTs!