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Rens and Biion Take on NFTs

Finnish footwear startup Rens commemorated its expansion into apparel with a complimentary NFT.

Each of eco-conscious label’s Elemental hoodies is made from a 40-percent viscose fiber, recycled polyester made from 43 cups of coffee grounds and more than 12 recycled plastic bottles. With anti-bacterial, anti-odor and quick drying properties, coffee grounds are mixed with melted polymer or plastic waste and extruded into yarn.

Viscose offers breathability and UV protection that is 42 times more effective than cotton, while absorbing moisture, Rens said. The vegan style, which is available for pre-order in five color ways and five unisex sizes, features multiple pockets for added storage.

The Elemental hoodie features multiple pockets for added storage.
The Elemental hoodie features multiple pockets for added storage. Rens

Founded in 2019 by Vietnam-born self-described sneakerheads Jesse Tran and Son Chu, Rens began with a mission to create footwear using materials destined for landfills. It followed its original coffee-and-RPET slip-on sneaker style with the Nomad lace-up and a premium active shoe. The pair decided on viscose for both its functionality and its regenerative supply chain when branching into apparel. Made from fast-growing bamboo, the material is less costly and requires less energy to produce than cotton.

Rens tapped Climate Partner, a climate strategy firm that helps enterprises measure their carbon impact, in creating a climate-neutral pathway for the Elemental hoodie. It plans to fund climate projects to offset all of the project’s emissions.

Rens will release its Elemental hoodie on April 14.
Rens released its Elemental hoodie on April 14. Rens

Rens is also aiming to gain a digital foothold. The first 2,022 shoppers to purchase the hoodie, now available for pre-order for $109 on its e-commerce site, were slated to receive a companion NFT garment designed for the metaverse on the official April 14 launch date. The NFTs will vary in value, from “regular” (2,000 pieces) to “rare” (20 pieces) to “epic” (two pieces). Tokens are available through April 21.

“The launch of our exclusive limited run of NFTs alongside our Elemental hoodie collection shows how we can drive innovation in both the physical and digital space simultaneously,” Tran said. As a part of its commitment to sustainability, Rens opted to use the Polygon blockchain to release its NFTs, citing the platform’s lower energy consumption, validated through a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. Polygon is said to be more than 99 percent carbon efficient—“in other words, creating an NFT in Polygon can be compared to sending less than 2.5 emails,” Tran said, and by comparison, one NFT created in Ethereum is equivalent to sending 20,750 emails.

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The purchase of the first 2,022 Elemental hoodies comes with a complementary NFT.

While the NFT’s energy usage is low, Tran said that Rens has decided to partner with traceability platform Aerial to measure and offset the power it consumes through the project.

“We wholeheartedly believe that this is just the beginning of a metaphysical revolution in sustainable fashion,” Tran added, noting that the founders “have ambitions to see Rens products in every single corner of the real world and the metaverse.”

Biion

Canadian footwear brand Biion also came to market with its first NFTs.

Known for its mono-material EVA slip-ons, Biion released two limited-edition styles in collaboration with Doodles, an NFT project ranked No. 11 on OpenSea and created by Evan KeastScott Martin, and Jordan Castro, featuring whimsical art by Burnt Toast.

The Biion x Doodles NFT limited Edition shoe.
The Biion x Doodles NFT limited Edition shoe. Courtesy

A collectible tokenized on the Polygon blockchain dropped on April 8. The company offered the Biion x NFT Doodles #2753 Paradise to just 222 shoppers at $166, alongside the $166 Classic Paradise limited-edition shoe.

Biion accepts both credit cards and cryptocurrency for the NFT purchase, with the shoes slated for delivery in early May.