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The Weekend Briefing: Luxury brands are still investing in web3

The Weekend Briefing is our newsletter offering original reports on the highlights of the past week. To receive it in your mailbox every Sunday, subscribe here.

The Glossy Weekend Briefing gives you all the news you may have missed throughout the past week. In this weekend’s edition, we take a look at all the Web3 moves that have been made by brands like Tiffany & Co., Gucci, and MHRS. We also spotlight Addison Rae’s deleted Adidas x Prayer campaign and ThredUp’s new CMO hire. On the beauty side, Ulta Beauty has entered the VC space and Revlon has received initial loan approval, following its bankruptcy filing last month.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Brilliant Podcast to hear weekly interviews with industry insiders and on Fridays Review of the week recap. Additionally, see the Brilliant Beauty Podcast for beauty-focused conversations. –Zofia Zwieglinska, fashion, sustainability and technology journalist


Fashion brands go further in the web3

On Monday, Tiffany & Co. announced that it would begin selling NFTs to gain access to physical goods. “NFTiffs”, as they are called, will allow NFT holders in a CryptoPunks collection to purchase a one-of-a-kind physical replica of their CryptoPunk, in the form of jewelry.

Each 18k rose or yellow gold pendant will feature at least 30 gemstones, which Tiffany jewelers will carefully match the color to the digital image. They will be sold for 30 Ethereum, currently around $51,000. This will be the first time that a luxury jewelry brand has featured the image of an NFT collection on a product. However, the new Tag Heuer Connected Caliber E4 watch also allows an NFT to be displayed on the digital watch face.

Neither CryptoPunks nor its parent company, Larva Labs, are directly involved in the collection. NFT holders own the intellectual property rights to their NFTs.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Gucci became the first luxury brand to include Apecoin among its payment options through cryptocurrency provider BitPay. Apecoin is the token of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Gucci currently accepts 10 cryptocurrencies in 70% of its own stores in the United States. The capability will roll out to all of its stores by the first week of August, according to an announcement.

In addition to Gucci, Balenciaga, Pacsun, Tag Heuer and Alo Yoga have started accepting cryptocurrencies. But at this stage, the demand for cryptocurrency payments is not high. A Federal Reserve May Report said 3% of adults have used cryptocurrency to make purchases or transfer funds.

As for web3 native brands, former designer of Vancouver menswear brand Private Stock Jonathan Koon launched the Mostly heard Rarely seen 8 bit collection on Monday. It includes twin NFT products that customers can wear into the metaverse world created by digital retail platform Highstreet.

Each item in the MHRS 8-Bit collection of hoodies, hats, and t-shirts comes with a QR code granting the consumer an NFT version of the item. The collection is one of the first metaverse-related streetwear collections to be offered by luxury retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Beymen, Bloomingdale’s and Farfetch.

The shift towards web3 native brands comes as NFT holders and web3 natives seek out more fashion novelties and innovations aimed at them. The 9dcc Web3 investor fashion brand Gmoney was announced last month as another brand that will cater to this demographic.

This means more competition for traditional luxury fashion brands as new entrants with more know-how in the space target their audience.

Gen Z influencer caught in Instagram profanity battle

Addison Rae has been criticized for profanity while taking part in a new Adidas campaign. The TikTok influencer and brand Praying uploaded images to their Instagram pages on August 3 to promote Praying’s upcoming Adidas collaboration. In the imagery, Rae wore Praying’s signature Holy Trinity bikini, with “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit” printed on the top and bottom of the bikini.

Created by Alex Haddad and Skylar Newman in 2020, Pray is a popular rising brand that uses basic typography, slogans and images of pop culture icons. After important backlash from the Christian community for Instagram posting, Rae and Praying removed Adidas ads from their Instagram pages. The influencer did not address the message or issue an apology.

The two old fashion brands like benetton and present as Christian Dior have been mired in controversy for their religious references in campaigns and collections. Less common are cases involving a Gen-Z mega-influencer on Instagram.

ThredUp appoints new CMO after five years

Resale platform company ThredUp announced the appointment of Noelle Sadler as chief marketing officer on Thursday, in a bid to convince more young consumers to buy second-hand.

Reporting to ThredUp President Anthony Marino, Sadler joins the company as its first CMO in nearly five years and will apply his expertise in e-commerce marketing and merchandising. Sadler’s previous role was at online fashion retailer Lulus, where she also served as CMO.

ThredUp primarily targeted an older demographic with its marketing. It is now looking to take on brands that are launching their own resale programs, as well as other peer-to-peer apps like Depop that have become popular with the Gen-Z age group.

According to a statement from Marino, Sadler will be able to help the company develop its customer experience. This may include updating the company’s website to be more interactive with the user, to stand out from the competition.


Ulta Beauty launches venture capital fund Prisma Ventures

On Wednesday, Ulta Beauty launched Prisma Ventures, a $20 million venture capital fund focused on digital innovation in beauty. The company plans to be a strategic partner for a number of startups, providing them with information, advice and testing opportunities.

The fund focuses on investing in early-stage beauty tech start-ups in four key areas, including “personalized and data-driven technology”, “AR, VR and the metaverse”, “personalized beauty products and technology-driven in-store services” and “social commerce”. Since October 2021, Prisma has invested in four beauty startups.

Ulta Beauty joins the L’Oréal Group to launch into VC financing. L’Oreal acquired Modiface in 2018. Its venture capital firm, Bold, has invested in a range of beauty tech startups, including Japan-based personalized beauty platform Sparty in May this year.

Revlon makes partial return after bankruptcy

Revlon received approval from a US bankruptcy judge on Thursday to proceed with a $1.4 billion loan. This is despite objections from junior creditors to the loan, arguing that the terms will deter recovering anything from the company’s bankruptcy.

Revlon Inc. filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of June, after battling a hefty $3.7 billion in debt, supply chain constraints and inflation. The loan will not cover the full amount of the debt.

Rumors of impending bankruptcy began floating around in early June as the cosmetics giant began talks with lenders ahead of a loan repayment in September 2023. Revlon narrowly escaped bankruptcy in 2020 when she faced another debt maturity during the cosmetics downturn. It appears the brand has gone into the red several times, suggesting a major overhaul is needed if the situation is not to repeat itself.

The company’s $3.5 billion in debt had delayed payments to critical suppliers in its supply chain. Part of the loan will be used to pay off existing debts to BrandCo lenders, which loaned Revlon $1.88 billion in the years before it filed for bankruptcy.

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