As an enthusiastic streetwear designer as well as a curator and premium vintage supplier, Sean Wotherspoon is known for embracing both the past and the future. So why not their commercial efforts?
Enter Mntge, his latest venture with co-founders Nick Adler, an entrepreneur best known as the brand manager of Snoop Dogg, and Brennan Russo, a former Adidas marketing manager.
The trio are still feeling the excitement of their hugely successful debut last week – the first two-stage offering for Mntge passes that offer exclusive early access to real and digital fashion. Now the team is focusing on their first real fashion sale for the first quarter of 2023, with four pieces from Wotherspoon’s personal vintage collection. But that’s not all.
Mntge gave WWD an exclusive preview of what was touched, and it goes beyond the old denim jacket and digital twin that Wotherspoon teased on social media days ago. There is indeed an extra surprise – their first one-on-one NFT will come with an “ink” bottle in virtual trunk, unlocking a whole new layer of experience that will blow the minds of fans, as partners hope.
As Russo explains, “The crate opens and you get two items: a piece of Sean’s wardrobe and an ‘ink’ bottle, and those two things actually sit in your wallet as two separate NFTs.” Apply the ink bottle and a designer skin for the virtual garment will appear. The jacket itself also opens, offering a gateway to another realm.
The mechanism may sound familiar to crypto natives. It is similar to “serums” that when applied to Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs create “mutant monkeys” as variations of the original artwork. Mixing the ink bottle here takes the owners into an immersive world full of flowers.
The concept is not entirely alien to Web 2.0 consumers either, as it works with brands like Gucci and others to bring users into immersive, stylized environments, from lush gardens to labyrinths, through social media platforms, smartphone cameras, and augmented reality. The same spirit of experimentation that drives these campaigns often puts innovative fashion houses like Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and more at the forefront of Web 3.0.
Of course, owners do not need to mix ink and NFT. But if they choose, it’s easy enough to do. “You’ll get a notification to mix it up and that’s when you’ll go to a new site and post both. [the NFT and the ink]Russo continued. “You send a wallet, it will read it and burn these two to give you this brand new, more dynamic, futuristic NFT.”
Currently, the immersive environment of Mntge ink is a kind of lean back experience. But the team continues to develop use cases, exploring how far the technology can take it. He hopes to one day offer an agency within the secondary environment, possibly even connecting it to one or more metaverse platforms.
“We don’t have any proprietary software to do this,” he added. “But I think we were the first to think about how to transform the garment from an existing original piece into a more dynamic, futuristic piece.”
So far, fans seem to be on board for the journey.
According to Adler, Mntge surpassed a total of 1,400 units sold in its first two-phase offering last week. Strictly offered to partner communities, 1,290 tickets were moved in the first stage, and the second group, a public lottery, carried 110 passes within minutes the next day.
“We saw an insane amount of entries, 300,000 entries came in, and we were out in four minutes,” Adler added. “And that got us into OpenSea. I think we’ve done 480 ETH in total transaction volume as of now, if you look at the conversion of ETH to USD that’s about half a million dollars. Now there are only 100 people left in the vault reserved for important people like collaborators.
In other words, even before Mntge launches real fashion – real or virtual – the startup is already proving popular. In fact, with 1,065 owners, it’s clear that some customers have purchased multiple passes, which explains why some are already showing up on OpenSea’s secondary market.
For Adler and his partners, traction confirms their original concept.
Mntge, which is a combination of the words “mint” and “vintage”, is exactly what it sounds like, an effort to bridge the vintage world with the NFT world. To hear Adler and Wotherspoon take up this subject, to understand that there is a natural connection between them and that is what gives birth to the business.
“In Round Two [Wotherspoon’s L.A. vintage boutique], I just saw kids coming in all day buying old-fashioned t-shirts. We are in the midst of COVID-19, everyone is masked and something has affected me,” Adler continued. “I looked at Sean and asked him, and everything he told me a year and a half ago came true – from the size of the vintage market, how fast it’s growing, what’s trending and things like Double Knee Carhartt pants or certain group T’s and why one is more valuable than the other. that it is.
He’s seen quality t-shirts featuring Madonna, Snoop Dogg, and others, bringing in thousands of dollars. “I asked why and he started to tell me. [about] The origin of this T, the fading, and how it came to be a green fading but a black T…how are these ’80s Hanes T’s more durable than the high-end boutique T’s of 2022,” he continued. I thought things had such stories to tell and had origins and rarities and characteristics. It was really similar to what was going on in the NFT world.”
It was a similar lightning moment for Wotherspoon.
“I was describing t-shirts – that’s something I’m very proud of, you know. The designer and collector said, “I pick them one by one,” he said. “I chose probably the busiest, 10,000 pounds of vintage items a week to pick the best things for our stores. And I like to explain the character of these t-shirts to people, whether it’s where I got it from and where that person got it, who did it or just material makeup.
“It’s an increased ability to use your senses to experience these elements,” Wotherspoon continued. “And as I was explaining it to Nick, I realized, ‘Oh, wow, these are features similar to the way you talk about Web 3.0 and the NFT world’.”
The vintage denim jacket, which will be released through Mntge as the first fashion sale, added that Wotherspoon has left a fashion brand behind to purchase. Soon in the hands of a new owner – and in his crypto wallet – he will get a taste of his second or perhaps third life with a field of flowers and veneers.