May 18, 2022

REKA talks about Metaverse apps, the future of fashion NFT selling – WWD


‘Existing in the metaverse’ is an explanatory phraseology that quickly became familiar in 2021 ⁠ – and looking into the new year, it follows that brands and retailers are embracing all things digital through emerging solutions and to the adoption of NFTs, which have recently become fashionable.

That’s why solutions like REKA, a new concept of shopping app and an online marketplace that connects independent designers with consumers to pre-order custom parts with efficiency and durability, recently announced. that it would introduce an NFT sales model that allows brands to sell NFT designs, in addition to using them for “real world” product orders.

If everything seems confusing, you are in good company. Here, Julie L. Swan, CEO of REKA and AFAB, spoke to WWD about NFTs in Fashion, REKA’s unique vision of sustainable selling and what it means to exist in the Metaverse.

WWD: How did REKA come about? Why is this platform differentiated in the market and how is it designed to impact textile waste?

Julie L. Swan: REKA is the first and only global fashion shopping platform to seamlessly merge digital technology, metaverse apps and IRL fashion products featuring independent designers. REKA is a destination for consumers who want to experience unique, limited-edition fashion, while supporting sustainability and ethical production to protect the planet.

Traditionally, the fashion industry has worked on the model of design, production, sale. We aim to change the model so that it becomes design, sell, produce. This can be achieved through 3D design capabilities and REKA’s proprietary AI virtual tailoring technology. With photos taken from your phone, a designer can have immediate access to all of your body measurements, so they can create a one-of-a-kind garment that fits your body exactly, with no in-person interaction required. nor many fittings.

Using 3D designs rather than prototypes and samples to sell direct to the consumer dramatically reduces overall cycle turnaround times to get fresh produce into consumers’ hands much faster and at a lower initial cost. Designers improve their cash flow, eliminating the need to invest in inventory well in advance. Pre-sale also eliminates excess waste in finished products, as you only produce to meet demand, creating a path for achieving zero waste fashion in the future.

WWD: Tell us about REKA’s NFT sales model. What is the structure of this concept and how will it play out in the market?

JLS: REKA’s platform, together with our partner, OWNFT World, an end-to-end NFT solution, enables global freelance designers to turn a design sketch into a photorealistic 3D NFT within hours. Designers can sell the NFT on OWNFT World to consumers for immediate wear in the metaverse. Designers can then pre-sell the physical product on REKA and, upon sale, produce and ship the physical product to customers within four to eight weeks, eliminating the traditional 12-month plus fashion cycle and the waste of later mode.

We will post our first NFT drop in January.

WWD: Are wearable NFTs the next fashion frontier? How has this technology evolved in recent times?

JLS: NFTs are a great way for fashion to interact with consumers who have grown up in the digital world. Shopping and socializing are already moving into the digital realm and will sink deeper into the metaverse in the years to come. Fashion must be in the foreground as it is known for its innovation and inspiration for cultural change. Expressing your individuality through your digital footprint can become even more important than IRI.

Right now this mostly happens in games, but will quickly evolve into digital malls / stores, catwalks, mannequins and personal avatars where you can trade, sell or rent your digital fashion assets, thus creating passive income from your fashion purchases. Brands can choose to exist primarily in the Metaverse, producing only physical products as one-offs for special events and major milestones.

In the Metaverse, you can become a fashion influencer because of your gaming skills, art, or avatar popularity, not who you know or what you look like. This is an exciting opportunity for the fashion industry to embrace real inclusion and diversity. Creativity will flourish as a result, and we will see less and less of the same or the copying of designs across brands.

For designers, “wear to earn NFT” will really become “wear to save NFT” because designers who create through 3D NFTs can sell both the art and pre-order the physical fashion item, creating a dual source of income. In pre-order, the fashion item created will be tailor-made to fit or is already sold before production and therefore there is no wasted fashion in this model.

WWD: Are there any key trends or opportunities that REKA has considered in the NFT segment? What is the current climate for the NFT market?

JLS: REKA is disrupting the fashion industry with cutting edge innovation by moving NFT applications into the world of mainstream fashion. We are creating a new fashion community and a new business sensibility that does not exist today. Sustainability is becoming more and more valuable in the eyes of the consumer, and the value that fast fashion has brought so far will continue to become more limiting in the future.

What we know today is that fast fashion will suddenly appear as a very slow IRL, as consumers will get their dose of fast fashion through NFTs in the future. They can have a different digital fashion outfit for each metaverse event they attend, and a digital wallet full of fashion items to show off to their friends. They can buy a new NFT fashion in the morning and wear it that night in the Metaverse, without ever leaving their home.

Consumers will naturally reduce the ownership of IRL clothes, demanding better quality and clothes that last longer while remaining fashionable. Independent designers already create differently, designing with heart and with purpose, without trends dictating the details or meaning of their collections. They also design outside of seasonal calendars and produce on demand in many cases, typically with ethical practices built into their branding philosophy from day one.

REKA’s ability to produce a photorealistic 3D design from a sketch and immediately pre-sell it to consumers will allow global independent designers to scale much faster as a direct-to-consumer brand. Therefore, REKA only promotes independent designers on our platform, supporting their creativity and the growth of their brand while creating a thriving community who together can surpass fast fashion and achieve zero waste fashion.

WWD: What’s next for REKA?

JLS: we’ve just started. REKA recently launched a wishlist feature that allows a customer to share their wishlist with friends and family, bringing a more social experience to the concept than what exists on other platforms.

We’re also launching a ‘split the bill’ option in the first quarter of 2022, so a group of friends can buy something special together in one transaction to celebrate a friend’s milestone. We are also working on a local shopping feature that will bring a more personalized shopping experience to each customer. And, of course, REKA has many more exciting NFT to IRL collaborations in the works. Stay tuned.

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