London – Philip Plein has sent a shocker to Bond Street with a new lime green “crypto shop” that offers altcoin pricing, an NFT art gallery and a free metaverse art trading platform.
For anyone who has no idea or is confused about NFT in particular, Plein has the answers. He wants people to understand it — and have fun with them, too.
He is very passionate about pairing complementary NFTs with the store’s physical products, specifically the sparkly high-tops that are part of the revamped Plein Sport, the designer’s first “metavers-original” fashion line.
He even gifted NFTs to special guests at the store’s opening night Thursday night, where Stefflon Don, the British Jamaican rapper, performed.
Blaine said his dream was for people like his skeptical 67-year-old mother to say “yes” to the myriad possibilities of the irreplaceable symbol, rather than “huh?”
“My vision is to bring that to people like my mom, to the average consumer, in a way that is fun. We want to help people take advantage of this technology and we want to make it available,” said Blaine, who was brimming with energy as he wandered through space on Thursday afternoon. It’s from the consumer’s point of view.”
On the second floor of MoNA, its new NFT Art Museum, Blaine points out a pair of shimmering orange sneakers displayed inside a display case.
This is one of 10 sneaker styles, each of which comes with an analog from NFT. The latter can be enjoyed as a work of art or “burned” – a metaverse slang to swap – into a digital wearable device to equip the avatars that inhabit the Decentraland.
“It’s fun to buy a product — and get a free NFT with it,” Blaine said. Even if you don’t know anything about NFTs, you’ll say, ‘What do I do now? Maybe I’ll buy a digital wallet for that? Or hang it on the wall? Or replace and resell and make money? Then all of a sudden, you become a collector.
Blaine said he doesn’t expect to make any money from the NFTs he currently makes. “I make money off of clothes and I’m not a speculator. I want to give you, the customer, these NFTs, and I want to be a leader in the field,” he said. By September, Blaine added, about 30% of the physical products you sell with NFTs will come for free.
Crypto payments and the art of rewards NFTs are just the tip of the hypothetical iceberg for Plein, who is a metaverse evangelist. He believes that he has tremendous potential for his business, his clients, and consumers in general. In a few years, he believes, switching from the internet to the metaverse will be like switching from radio to television, or from radio to the Imax theater experience.
“You can’t even imagine what this will do. And it will become so powerful when brands start making money from it.”
For Blaine, it’s not yet about making a profit. He wants to learn more about the metaverse and take his customers and community with him. He also wants to put the brand in a position of success when the new virtual world takes off.
It recently spent $1.4 million to acquire Plein Plaza, a 176,528-square-foot plot in the Decentraland metaverse. One of the three skyscrapers he is “building” on the site will feature the MoNA platform where digital artists will be invited to showcase and sell their creative work without paying the usual 20% commission.
The new trading platform will allow users to view statistics related to the NFT market, while buyers will be able to bid on custom NFTs created by their favorite artists. Blaine said he will take care of marketing, contracts, sales platform analysis, and advise on royalties from original and secondary sales.
Digital visual artist Anthony Todesco will play a role in creating the comprehensive Plain Plaza project, which will include retail, leisure, hotel and luxury residences.
When asked why he was making this investment, Blaine said he is gaining knowledge and experience and learning to operate in a new world.
“I consider it an educational fee,” Blaine said. “The real value to me is not the land, but the knowledge we gain. We already had a modeling et al. [events] Where we have attracted thousands of people. It’s important to be there to experience it, to build and to learn. this is the beginning. You have to start somewhere.”
Plein also sees its investments in the metaverse as a necessary marketing tool in the 4.0 world.
“We need to get people into the stores, and give them a reason to feel passionate about the brand. It’s a communication tool. It’s important that the younger generation, the new investor and others come to us and enter the brand. I’m still independent and I have to survive. See through window. I’m the youngest kid in the building here—and I’m also the youngest,”
The store at 9 Bond Street, formerly a Michael Kors unit, is a work in progress. Blaine and his team temporarily renovated three of the five floors, with retail on the ground and first floors and MoNA on the second floor. And neighbors on the streets are Valentino, Stella McCartney and Cartier.
Blaine is keeping the shop open until the end of August to attract tourists from the Middle East who usually flock to London in the summer. In September, he’s planning a major revamp and will turn it into a flagship store, with crypto and metaverse franchises.
The store, with electric lime rugs, metallic gold palms, and sparkling crystal throughout, currently showcases men’s and women’s accessories. Each product carries a QR code that contains the price in EGP and 25 cryptocurrencies. Blaine said he’s proud to offer this kind of cutting-edge technology in a physical store.
Cryptocurrencies fluctuate every 10 minutes or so, so prices are hard to determine. With a QR code, customers who pay with cryptocurrency can see the latest prices and pay instantly. Blaine said that a large number of her clients are now using cryptocurrency: 3% of the brand’s online revenue of €100 million comes from cryptocurrency.
(Alternatively, Plein also allows customers who have no clue about crypto to pay cash for NFTs they make and sell.)
The MoNA floor of the Bond Street store is an actual art gallery of the creations of the metaverse and NFT. The walls are lined with eight rectangular screens displaying art from the Crypto Kings and ‘Lil Monster Capsule’.
There’s also a preview of the NFT Little Monster video game, which the brand plans to release in mid-May. Players will be invited to collect new, exclusive NFTs similar to the arcade treasure hunt, find, buy, trade and upgrade different NFTs. The game has an ’80s vibe, Blaine said, and will be available for a limited time.
At the end of the game, players will have the chance to win expensive items such as Philipp Plein Mercedes-AMG G63, Apple Watch or diamond jewelry.
In the spirit of merging the physical and contemporary worlds, Sculptures of Little Monsters are displayed in the MoNA Room on Bond Street. Full, colorful and utterly loving, they are ready to accompany their future owners in a mysterious new world, but not too scary.