There are many iterations about what the future of beauty entails – be that plastic free products, technology-first innovations, or seasonless trends. Until recently ‘NFT’ was an acronym known by few, however in recent months it has entered the minds and mouths of people across the world. Will beauty and technology collide once more, and move the industry into a new digital dimension?
What is an NFT?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a non-fungible token (NFT) as “a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership (as of a specific digital asset and specific rights relating to it)”. But what does this really mean?
An NFT is unique digital image which can be bought and sold. The rise in the presence of NFTs in the mainstream is attributed to the sale of a piece by Digital Artist Beeple, at British auction house Christies, for $69mn in March 2021. If you had been the one to by this NFT by Beeple, you would now, exclusively, own the rights to it.
The world of NFTs provides authentication of ownership through Blockchain. Forbes explain that “The emergence of NFTs is allowing artists to register their digital works through blockchain technology and convert them into a secure sellable asset. With the original digital piece of art locked into the blockchain, the digital asset gets a unique cryptographic serial number that affords the original a form of provenance”. In short, the use of Blockchain allows a record of transactions linked to each NFT and allows authentication of ownership to take place easily, something which previously didn’t exist for digital artwork.
But what does this have to do with the beauty industry?
As digital and physical worlds continue to collide, the beauty industry – much like many others – is adopting new technologies. If you can’t imagine how beauty could use NFTs, you don’t have to – it’s already happening.
Earlier this month Ciaté London collaborated with Selling Sunset’s Christine Quinn on a physical collection of products. What many might not know is that alongside the launch of their physical collaboration, Ciaté London released a series of four NFT artworks, which have all sold out.
Another example of the adoption of NFTs is by above & beyond, who are a ‘Planet Respecting’ British beauty brand, which has just launched. This Direct to Community brand has launched this month with the world’s first lifetime-use refillable micro-plastic free lip balm, and will debut a series of products over the next two years. In October 2021, renowned Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn collaborated with above & beyond to design a unique physical performance artwork to celebrate the launch of the ‘Unscrew The Planet’ #GreenGobs NFT collection which will be exclusively revealed at Frieze London.
On the #GreenGobs NFTs, above & beyond explain it is a 5,000 piece NFT collection designed by British brand anarchists and creative activists, Zed Trafficker and Tiger Savage. Each one is individually linked to a laser engraved QR coded lip balm and minted on the Ethereum blockchain at opensea.io. “Yes, there are rare ones. Yes, the distribution is randomised. Yes, this is a world first.”
The #GreenGobs NFT’s can only be bought through buying a lip balm and 3 refills for £30 at www.nft.unscrewtheplanet.com. You then enter a 7-digit code and scan the unique QR code on the lip balm container, which then moves the #GreenGobs’ NFT piece from the private to public collection on the above & beyond opensea page. The piece can then be resold by the owner, with 15% of the resale price donated to earth focused charities chosen by the #GreenGob community, which is to be hosted on Discord.
In December 2021, the Lions Barber NFT will launch – a collaboration which looks to combine NFT technology with mental health support. 20% from the sale of the Lions Barber NFT will go to the Lions Barber Collective, which was founded by British Beauty Council Advisory Board Member Tom Chapman.
So will the future of beauty be with NFTs? We will have to wait and see.