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Metaverse Fashion Still in the ‘iPod Era’, MNTGE Founders Say

In the future, the degree to which fashion will still matter in the physical world remains to be seen. That’s why there’s no time like the present to start thinking about investing in a digital wardrobe.

No wardrobe of the future would be complete without an homage to the past, and to that end, the new NFT digital fashion brand MNTGE is getting ahead of the metaverse with its maiden drop this week on Web3.

The company name gets its name from “mint”, the word describing how a coin, or in this case cryptocurrency, is made into legal tender; and “vintage” because its clothing designs are taken from actual throwback clothing shops.

The brainchild of talent manager and Snoop Dogg whisperer Nick Adler, fashion design prodigy Sean Wotherspoon and brand experience expert Brennan Russo, MNTGE aspires to “marry the real-word heritage of vintage apparel with blockchain technology, digital collectibles and wearables.”

In other words, it’s clothing that avatars wear when traveling through the metaverse.

“All of us are spending more of our time in digital spaces—social media, video games or other kinds of layered technology. We want to represent ourselves in these places through traditional clothing in our daily lives,” Adler said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old; everyone wants a vintage piece. Vintage is, overall, something we celebrate, maybe as a response to fast fashion—it’s more sustainable, better quality.”

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In the metaverse, MNTGE was born somewhere at the crossroads of time where the old concert T-shirts that filled time-tested thrift shops skyrocketed in value when placed into carefully curated and newly trendy ‘vintage shops.’

It was at one of those shops in the Southern California of the physical world when Adler and Wotherspoon were hanging out and Adler noticed some simple old black T-shirts and hoodies hung up high on the wall.

“The price tags were for like $2,000 and $3,000 for these T-shirts and I was like, ‘what? Who’s buying that?’” Adler recalled. “Sean said, ‘they’ll be gone by the end of the day.’”

Sean Wotherspoon. Photo courtesy of MNTGE

That moment spawned in Adler’s mind the three pillars that would become the MNTGE core concept.

“Traits, rarities and provenance,” Adler said. “That really resonated with the digital collectibles. We put two and two together—take the pieces, archive them and think about where you can wear them in digital space and attach it to real-world products.”

Provenance refers to the non-fungible token, or NFT, which makes that old Grateful Dead or Motley Crüe concert shirt unique to whoever purchases the reciprocating token.

Owning the NFT allows the buyer to wear the associated garment in the metaverse. This is what was for sale this week during MNTGE’s maiden drop on the company website. Users signed up for a raffle to win a MNTGE Pass of which there were 1,500 in total, all but 100 of which were raffled while the remainder was sold to the public on Thursday afternoon.

One MNTGE Pass.

The cost of winning the raffle and getting a Pass and trunk filled with a new virtual wardrobe is 0.5 Ethereum, which translates to approximately $547 as of Friday morning.

“It was really overwhelming. We were [the] No. 1 trending drop on OpenSea, which is the ultimate place you want to be situated as a digital collective and No. 3 overall in volume the last 24 hours,” Adler said Thursday. “All 1,290 sold out and we’re selling [100] to the public today and I suspect those will be gone in five to 10 minutes depending on how quickly we let people in.” Consumers did scoop up all available passes, MNTGE confirmed Friday.

Naturally, owners of the trademarks of these pieces of clothing that have value on corporeal bodies will also want their cut of their value in the virtual universe. Getting everything “clear” in that regard was a Herculean task for the MNTGE team.

“A lot of it was the old story of, if we knew how hard it was going to be we might not have done it,” Adler said. “Rock tees means bands, photographers, logo designers, all these people and we have to solve that problem… Even though it’s vintage you’ve gotta clearly get the rights.”

With his background as an expert vintage collector, Wotherspoon recently returned from Japan where he got a sense for the sizzling-hot brandless vintage scene, scouring thrift shops and flea markets and anywhere else to curate his personal line to be released in early 2023.

MNTGE x Sean Wotherspoon Vintage Denim Jacket Rendering early ’70s Lee Denim Jacket, customization work was done through a 10-year period.

If it all sounds too futuristic and unreal, this is the mere infancy of the Web3 world. Russo says just wait until the hardware improves.

“We’re at the iPod era of hardware right now and until the hardware catches up, we’re in the early explorer period,” Russo said. “When Apple releases a new headset or some new company with new technology comes along, we’ll see adoption sort of spike… You see what Meta is doing with headsets, they are attacking the PC.”

Russo believes those technologies could come as early as the next 24 months.

“From talking with my friends in the Silicon Valley world, PCs will slowly start to dip away. You’ll put a bracelet on your hands, some visual goggles and you’ll move away from the PC. Your hands will be free and you’ll see [a keyboard] front of you. You’ll be typing, but it’s all not there,” he said. “I think that will be a really fun thing. None of us have seen a huge hardware innovation since the iPhone.”

But when it comes to Web3, blockchain, crypto and NFTs, the public is overwhelmingly skeptical.

Adler says some of that skepticism is a good thing.

“This is new terrain, the Wild West,” he said. “It’s accessible to a lot of scammers and a lot of people do [bad] things, like we saw with FTX. But these are good things, the decline and coming back to level set is important. It is at a builder’s moment and we’re seeing engineers shaking out the cash grabs. All of this discovery is important, and regulation is important.”

Russo says he’s seen real-world reasons to believe the skeptics will be proven wrong.

“I just spoke at a class at [the University of Southern California] and afterward there [was] a line of kids coming up to me. And what was eye-opening about that was I had spoken to that same class the year before and now they were all lining up,” Russo said. “All of them are in Web3 now and loving it. They all have little bespoke projects and that, to me, is a super-telltale sign of what’s to come.”