Prada expands Web3 offer with product-linked NFT drop and Discord launch

Words by Lyric | May 19th 2022

Following a “successful first foray” into NFTs with Adidas Originals in January, Prada is introducing NFTs to its own limited-edition Time Capsule product drop collection, the Italian luxury house says.

The Timecapsule initiative, which debuted in December 2019, drops on Prada’s e-commerce site on the first Thursday of every month, available for 24 hours only. This Thursday’s launch on 2 June will be a gender-neutral shirt designed in collaboration with artist Cassius Hirst, son of artist Damien Hirst, this time with a free NFT to go along with their physical product, a growing preference for the luxury industry.

The black or white shirt, featuring Hirst’s signature mask and brain scan designs, and corresponding NFTs of a GIF of a black or white time capsule, will feature a unique serial number corresponding with the physical item. Prada will disclose the price of the shirt on the day of launch. One hundred shirts and NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain are planned, double the usual number.

Loyalty and rewards play a key role in Prada’s NFT strategy. Anyone who previously bought Prada’s physical Time Capsule pieces will also be gifted corresponding NFTs, giving access to exclusive benefits and experiences, to be revealed on the brand’s new Discord community server “Prada Crypted” and their website. Trading, a part of the open access and entrepreneurial mantra of Web3, means owners of the gifted NFT can sell them on the secondary market.

“There is a synergy between the Prada Timecapsule and the scarcity and desirability of NFTs,” Prada said in a statement.

The Timecapsule launch comes five months after Prada created its first NFT in collaboration with Adidas Originals, released in January on Polygon, the platform favoured for its lower electricity use. Prada’s latest NFTs are issued on Ethereum blockchain, which offers “a secure and user-friendly experience”, according to the brand, and is facilitated by the Aura Blockchain Consortium, a non-profit founded by LVMH, Prada and Cartier.

“Many people in luxury made the mistake in the past thinking that it was not so relevant. Like social media, I don’t think that NFTs are good or bad, but they are a digital tool and it depends on how you use them,” Lorenzo Bertelli, the son of Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, who oversees marketing and corporate social responsibility at Prada Group, previously told Vogue Business.

Prada is among a growing list of luxury brands to tie digital items with physical products. Last week, Gucci revealed that digital versions of its archive-inspired Blondie bag are on offer at its new Gucci Town destination on gaming platform Roblox. Looking ahead, a natural extension for Prada could be to connect physical products to an NFT via RFID (radio frequency identification) microchips, which it has already begun adding to its bags. Using RFIDs, each product receives a unique digital identity, similar to a passport, which the company can use in the creation and distribution of products to authenticate and track items.

The Hirst family is no stranger to NFTs either: Damien Hirst’s first NFT art collection “The Currency”, minted in July 2021, asked buyers to choose between owning a digital token or a physical piece of work. For Prada’s NFT drop with Cassius Hirst, buyers will get both.