Dior’s Foray Into Blockchain: Fashion and Digital Proof of Authenticity

Dior’s B33 Sneaker

In July 2023, Dior announced its first foray into blockchain when it released B33 sneakers for men, a further example of how brands are evolving how they interact, influence, and collaborate with consumers.

Each of the 470 pairs of trainers in this product line are linked to a corresponding NFT of the shoes minted on the Ethereum. This digital twin serves as a unique identifier, providing a layer of authenticity to each pair of trainers. Each of these exclusive pairs retail for £1,100.

Each pair includes an encrypted key that leads to a personal, secure platform offering dedicated services. Everyone can also access the shoes’ certificate of authenticity, additional information on the different stages of the manufacturing process and even announcements for future sneaker launches.

Dior’s dive into blockchain aligns with the enthusiasm shown by its parent company, LVMH, in exploring Web3 and NFT-related ventures. LVMH-owned brands such as Hennessy, TAG Heuer, and Louis Vuitton have already incorporated blockchain features into their product lines.

Opportunities and Risks of NFT-Related Ventures

Ownership Concerns

When buying an NFT you should carefully consider what you are getting under the terms of purchase, since ownership does not automatically give rise to ownership rights in the underlying asset. A limited edition print of an artwork is a good analogy. If a collector owns a physical limited edition print, the collector would own the physical print itself but would not usually own any proprietary rights in the original artwork. In the case of the B33 sneaker, the NFT is in fact sold together with the underlying asset, Dior has tokenised ownership of the shoes by linking an NFT to a physical trainer.

The Quiet Drop of Dior’s B33 Sneaker: Weary of Backlash, Yet Several Opportunities

In a world of carefully orchestrated product launches, the quiet drop is no accident. It reflects the current era of luxury’s relationship with Web3. Brands are excited for technology to re-invent loyalty and authentication, but they are weary of potential backlash from Web3 and traditional customers. Therefore, Dior in its communications avoided linking the products with previous NFT launches which had varying success, to limit the negative connotations towards blockchain-related terms, such as environmental impact, speculation, and fraud.

However, a real benefit of the sneaker’s authentication and verification features is the potential to prevent counterfeiting. The chip embedded in the shoe can be used to store a unique digital identity that can be verified by tapping the sneaker against a smartphone or a compatible device.

Final Observations

The integration of fashion and technology represents a step to combine style, authentication and digital innovation. Designer items will be distinguishable from unauthorised copies, which will enable brands to enhance their value and appeal.

However, before minting or buying a new NFT, brands should carry out proper due diligence to make the most of the crypo-investment.

By Simon Casinader and Sophie Levitt

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