JW Anderson's viral #HarryStylesCardigan is hitting the auction block later this month.
Well, sort of — the British label is entering the metaverse with its very first NFT, a "hyper-realistic digital copy" of the crocheted sweater that Styles wore to a rehearsal last year, catapulting the knit to internet fame.
"xydrobe [is] the only platform selling perfect 3D copies of already existing world-renowned luxury collectibles," the company expounded.
The auction will launch at xydrobe's website on December 12 at 19:00 UTC. Bidding begins at 1 Ethereum (approximately $4,500), and proceeds above £10,000 (approximately $13,300) will be donated to akt, a charity that assists LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness.
According to a press release, Styles's sweater took over 300 hours to recreate in digital form. xydrobe's in-house team of VFX artists "built every piece of yarn in 3D before weaving it together procedurally for each of the six different knit patterns that make up the piece," a labor-intensive process that merits a sky-high price tag.
JW Anderson is far from the first clothing brand to dabble in digital collectibles: this year alone, Gucci sold a short film celebrating its 100th-anniversary collection as an NFT, Louis Vuitton embedded hidden NFTs into its mobile video game, Burberry launched an NFT with Mythical Games and ASICS turned its sneakers into NFTs.
At one point, it seemed as if the NFT bubble might burst. Instead, the market is only expanding, spawning a new virtual novelty each day.
As an increasing number of fashion brands bring their wares to the metaverse, it's not so far-fetched to think that one day, our virtual wardrobes might hold as much weight — and monetary value — as our IRL clothing.