Vintage apparel and NFT collectibles are very different products, but both have fueled secondary markets with value defined in part by provenance, rarity, and unique traits. Those commonalities led to MNTGE (pronounced “Mintage”), a digital fashion startup that seeks to bridge the gap between vintage wear and the metaverse.
MNTGE was founded by Nick Adler—entrepreneur and Snoop Dogg’s brand manager—along with sneaker designer and streetwear store owner Sean Wotherspoon and former Adidas marketing manager Brennan Russo. Adler told Decrypt that he and Russo had the “aha moment” behind MNTGE while visiting Wotherspoon’s shop, Round Two.
“We just started to kind of really geek out over it,” said Adler of the parallels and potential mash-up between NFTs and vintage apparel.
A MNTGE digital wearable scanned from a physical jacket. Image: MNTGE
Launching on Wednesday with an Ethereum NFT pass called Day One, MNTGE aims to bring physical vintage fashion to the NFT world as digital wearables that can be used in metaverse platforms. But it also seeks to build a community amongst fashion and streetwear aficionados, providing priority access to real vintage finds.
MNTGE’s plans after launching the mint pass are varied, but they start with a drop of digital fashion curated by Wotherspoon himself in Q1 2023. The drop will showcase the kind of technology that the startup is playing with, using a high-end capture system—the same used to create digital doubles of actors for movies—to perfectly recreate physical vintage apparel.
Adler showed a video demo of the above jacket, which was stitched together via imagery captured by the rig and turned into a stitch-accurate digital wearable. It’s based on a real 1960s denim jacket that Wotherspoon won at auction, and Adler said that his co-founder wanted to be able to see the stitching on the scanned digital recreation.
Drop a 🌊 if you’re hype for our first drop with @seanwotherspoon !
Check https://t.co/HPpYB9r5PY for updates on our Mint Pass & insights on our first collection! pic.twitter.com/LQEn1BwKTl
— MNTGE (@mntge_io) November 23, 2022
Wotherspoon, who collects rare vintage apparel and has designed for brands like Nike, Adidas, and Porsche, told Decrypt that MNTGE aims to bring “a level of detail and imagination that you wouldn’t have expected in a Web3 garment before.”
While it would be possible for MNTGE to simply scan existing vintage apparel and sell those garments as NFTs, there’s an obvious legal hurdle to clear. Adler said that the startup has obtained “broad licenses” from as-yet-unannounced brands to bring their vintage fashion into the metaverse, but that it will first establish itself through pieces that aren’t tied to licenses.
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Each of the 1,500 Day One mint passes will sell for 0.5 ETH (about $640) and grant holders access to MNTGE’s token-gated Discord community, plus priority access to Wotherspoon’s drop and more ahead from other designers. There will also be NFTs airdropped to holders along the way—bonus “Easter eggs,” Adler said.
Beyond the digital drops, MNTGE is working on ways to offer holders access to the kind of vintage gems that Wotherspoon and his allies regularly source. Pass holders will be able to shop at the future MNTGE Market online store to purchase authenticated vintage apparel, which Adler said will be sold without the typically sizable markups seen at trendy shops.
MNTGE co-founders Adler, Wotherspoon, and Russo (from left), plus founding advisor Clarke Miyasaki. Image: MNTGE
MNTGE also aims to host future physical pop-up shops around art and fashion world events, such as Art Basel or New York Fashion Week, providing further benefits for holders. The firm is also working with popular NFT profile picture (PFP) projects, Adler said, to develop potential future collaborations around digital apparel.
Along with aiding Snoop in his many NFT endeavors, Adler has served as an advisor for an array of Web3 projects, including the Bored Ape Yacht Club and The Sandbox. He’s now creating for the metaverse at a time in which NFT land plots and avatars no longer command the kind of towering sums and fervent demand seen this time last year.
Instead, with MNTGE, he said he wanted to build something original from scratch that he believes will endure through the bear market. As hardware like VR headsets and AR glasses become more approachable and accessible in the future, Adler believes that digital apparel will be well poised to take off as an NFT-powered Web3 metaverse expands.
“Some of the hype has died, and you’re gonna see a lot of losers from the metaverse craze,” he said. “But there will be a handful that sustain and will come out as big winners. We’re going to go into a future where this metaverse exists.”