The future of digital retail has arrived in Paris, naturally.
Today, SPIN by lablaco, launched its first digitized retail experience called Web3 Fashion: The Origin Story at the famed Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées. The plan is to host a three-week takeover with Crypto.com, showing consumers how digitized fashion could lay the path toward a zero-waste and more sustainable future. The highlight of the exhibition will be the official launch of SPIN, a marketplace that allows consumers to buy and rent clothes, artwork and physical spaces using virtual and augmented reality.
Speaking to TechCrunch, SPIN’s founders Lorenzo Albrighi and Eliana Kuo said this is one massive step in their hopes to digitize retail to promote the circular economy. The partnership with Crypto.com is for payments rather than trading, Albrighi said, adding that fashion probably will not be impacted by the current crypto winter, as it’s still new to adapt much of the technology.
SPIN’s focus is on high-end fashion, which typically has a long post-purchase and secondary lifestyle. Fashion is one of the top-polluting industries in the world and is responsible for 20% of water pollution and up to 10% of all CO2 emissions. Even reducing the carbon emission it takes to travel via car to a store is progress. And so much of fashion — especially fast fashion — ends up in landfills. It’s estimated that 64% of the 32 billion garments produced each year in fashion will end up in a landfill.
Gone are the days when one must head to a physical store, for example, to try and buy clothes. With SPIN, users can enter the VR version of their favorite store and speak to avatar customer service agents to buy clothes. There is no need for a headset; anyone with an internet connection can use the app. It’s simple, chic and the future of shopping. SPIN projects high-quality digital images of products into homes to allow consumers to see how a Murakami might look on their walls or how a dress might look for the evening.
At the exhibition, visitors can use cryptocurrency to buy items on SPIN from their favorite independent designers and try on “phygital” — physical-digital — clothes using virtual avatars. Each physical garment purchased will have QR-code labels sewn in so consumers can easily scan, see and track the lifecycle of a product.
Minted on the more sustainable blockchain Flow, the SPIN app helps track the ownership of an item, so consumers always know where their product is coming from and where it is going. This feature is one easy and accessible start in helping consumers become more conscious about the lifecycle of their clothes and perhaps become more aware of how fast their shopping habits can turn into waste. Or in other words, no one wants to be the person listed on the blockchain who threw their turtleneck into the bin.
“The final piece of the puzzle is to reduce friction for anybody to access virtual spaces beyond virtual reality headsets,” Albrighi said. “We’re excited to see how VR experiences on mobile phones and desktop computers reduce that barrier and give access to any user around the world.”
Kuo added to that, saying she hopes the exhibition and app helps consumers understand how the digital world can help create a better in-person world.
“We are building the web3 commerce and marketplace to add value to the physical world,” she said. “Physical fashion products are almost like an art piece, which registers the time we lived in, the humanity and the culture. This is not something we can invent with AI in a few seconds. On the contrary, AI learns from our history to become knowledge.”
SPIN’s first investor was Arnaud Massenet, the co-founder of Net-a-Porter, and it has since received funding from Dapper Labs with plans to fundraise throughout the year. The goal was always to raise as little money as possible from strategic investors who wouldn’t pressure them to grow too fast, too soon. That strategy proved fruitful with last year’s venture slowdown.
Right now, SPIN is focused on luxury consumers, though it’s not hard to ponder what an app such as this could do for a market in desperate need of a transfix, such as fast fashion. With these exhibitions and support from investors and partners, Kuo says the company has had the opportunity to show what it envisions the next generation of fashion to be regarding manufacturing, business models, communication, retail and even customer service experience.
“Technology is the key to making fashion more sustainable and circular in the long run,” she said. “We want culture and humanity to be the entrance to the conversation.”