The “phygital” phenomenon is hitting some of the world’s largest department stores, as Jonathan Koon’s 8-Bit launched Monday under his streetwear label, Mostly Heard Rarely Seen. Each item in the collection includes the physical garment and its NFT version.
The term, a portmanteau of “digital” and “physical,” is a fitting, albeit clunky way to refer to digital products, such as avatar wear or virtual art and collectibles, that come with a physical counterpart or vice versa. For Koon, that translates into athleisure and streetwear with QR codes that not only come with an NFT version of the item, but also fast-tracks luxury customers into the virtual world of Highstreet, a retail and gaming-oriented metaverse built on the blockchain.
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The collection will be carried by Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Beymen and Bloomingdale’s, among others.
Naturally, given the premium clientele, the experience was designed to reduce friction. Snip the security tag to reveal the bar code, scan it and the simplified process kicks in to quickly create an avatar — it can even use a selfie for a mirrored digital version of the real-world user — and adorn the character with the virtual purchased garment. Users receive $High tokens, Highstreet’s native currency, so they can immediately explore the environment and shop or sell other items.
If owners want to sell their new NFTs, that process is simple, too. It only takes a few steps to mint, or resell, it as a listing on OpenSea or LooksRare platforms.
When it comes to NFTs, rarity matters, so the products are produced in varying quantities across the spate of retail partners. The most limited run will likely yield the highest value. In that way, NFTs are similar to hyped-up real-world drops — so much so that Koon likens