How fashion NFTs can spark eco-action

type - big idea
Big Idea
category - digital
category - sustainability
sector - fashion
Brad Morris, founder of digital fashion house MYAMI, discusses how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can become tools for promoting environmental action among consumers

Let’s start with MYAMI. Can you tell us about its background and why now felt like the right time to launch a digital fashion brand?

Digital fashion allows us to tell a deeper story beyond just fashion pieces themselves. We recognise digital fashion as a new medium – a new canvas for self-expression, what you believe in and what your values are.

That's what feels most scintillating about the space. We all project ourselves through fashion, so we saw a massive opportunity to facilitate this, alongside community belonging and the idea of being a force for good. MYAMI's brand logo – an X – is deliberately about collaboration, while the name MYAMI is very much about an ode to French fashion houses, with the word 'ami' translating as ‘friend’.

Tell us about MYAMI's approach to community in the virtual fashion world?

Our brand values centre on the idea of unlocking the borderless and boundless potential of digital fashion. With boundless, we mean we’re open, inclusive and celebrate the infinite possibilities that digital fashion offers in terms of creative freedom. Borderless is our second value, which refers to body and gender inclusivity.

If you think about digital fashion, it allows pretty much anyone to wear anything. In some parts of the world, digital fashion can be really liberating. We are talking to fashion stylists in Nigeria, for example, who are using digital fashion as part of the Alté (alternative) movement – and it’s allowing them to express themselves in an environment where they can feel quite suppressed.

MYAMI launched the Ice Runner NFT during COP26, which digitally ‘melts’ at the same rate as the polar ice caps. What's the aim of this project?

A core climate issue is keeping global warming under 1.5°C. With this in mind, we delved into the medium of dynamic NFTs to keep track of global temperatures. The sneaker is a barometer for climate change through a fashion lens. It can melt and warp, but if everyone starts to do the right thing, it has the potential to return to its original shape. The Ice Runner is putting a provocation – or challenge – to people. By creating an item that degrades, we’re also creating ongoing conversation. Proceeds from the project are also being donated to the DigitalArt4Climate charity.

Published by:

4 January 2022

Author: Abi Buller

Image: MYAMI



With this provocation in mind, who is the Ice Runner NFT aimed at?

We are trying to influence political figureheads and rally community. We're trying to get people to understand that the fashion industry is [a major] polluter. Digital fashion is not the silver bullet, but maybe it can solve part of it. When you look at the supply chain, it can help with the innovation process as well as research and development. The other aspect relates to why people are buying fashion at the moment. For us, we're very concerned by landfill. We're not anti-fast fashion, per se, we're anti-landfill.

Why is the metaverse an ideal space for experimenting with environmentally friendly fashion?

The metaverse uses the power of creativity to be disruptive and make people think. It can offer a new mode of expressing activism. For us, the hardest thing is how to create noise in this space and make it accessible. It meant we had to find the right platforms and find ways to make it a sustainable project.

Now, as MYAMI's community grows, we're exploring the idea of memberships and loyalty schemes. There are also opportunities for future partnerships with other brands or creators. Ultimately, we want to keep people constantly updated and aware of the changing form of the Ice Runner. It’s an icon, in a way, for everything that we do.

NFTs have been criticised for their heavy carbon footprint. How are you addressing this?

There is a misconception that all NFTs are bad. I’d like to use an analogy relating to cars here: with the blockchain, there’s the idea of Proof of Work (POW), which is like a petrol car, and Proof of Stake (POS), which is like a hybrid car. And then you have Proof of History (POH), which are new protocols that are low energy.

‘By creating an item that degrades, we’re creating an ongoing conversation. It’s putting a provocation – or challenge – to people’

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