What's KNXT for Kering?
How Kering is staying one step ahead in the race for the metaverse
Since its inception, the metaverse has polarized the fashion industry. Much the same as Bitcoin, the metaverse was initially deemed a fad by analysts—a trendy extension of virtual reality gaming, inhabited by techies and niche, atypical consumers traditionally ignored by luxury fashion companies. However, just like cryptocurrency, the metaverse has defied its projections, quickly transforming from a figment of the imagination into a fixture of forward-looking reports. For many companies, from banking to fashion, the virtual world’s importance now rivals that of the physical world.
While many luxury conglomerates are just beginning to wade into the uncharted waters of the metaverse, Kering is diving in headfirst. Unlike its competitors, most notably LVMH and Richemont, Kering has created an entire branch dedicated to innovation—aptly named the “Innovator”—with a specific eye toward developing a uniquely creative and aggressively impactful presence in the burgeoning metaverse. It is this avant-garde division of the French powerhouse that is responsible for the group’s most mysterious and highly-anticipated project to date: KNXT.
Described as “a space to test the future of fashion,” KNXT, pronounced “next,” is a first-of-its-kind innovation hub designed to explore and craft luxury fashion’s Web3 future. While many brands are still attempting to navigate the basics of the virtual landscape, like NFTs and cryptocurrency, Kering is far ahead, having built a strong digital presence during the metaverse’s initial rise back in 2020, when house-favorite Gucci created the Gucci Garden in Roblox, selling NFT versions of iconic bags like the Gucci Dionysus for over $4,000—nearly $600 more than the physical bag.
With this confidence, the French conglomerate is further raising the bar and disrupting the luxury space with KNXT. Rather than simply developing NFTs of shoes, bags, and accessories to be sold in the metaverse, Kering is creating an entirely new virtual experience that will transform the fashion industry as we know it.
With three testable drops already live on the site and more rumored to be in the works, KNXT gives a glimpse into the future of e-commerce. Its first drop, WSPRD, allows shoppers to explore pieces auditorily. For each handbag, jacket, belt, or shoe featured on the site, a 15-20 second recorded description—usually in a low, sultry whisper, as the name indicates—accompanies it.
WSPRD also offers recorded stories centered around events, such as "The First Date," with the goal of helping consumers build outfits related to that story. Though subtly sexual and undoubtedly strange, having a recorded description of an item could be useful in discussing other pieces the item would pair well with, how it should be worn, or its material makeup.
The second drop, WYHIWYW, allows you to connect your Spotify account in order to “get an outfit to match your music.” Though I don’t feel the need to dress according to my widely varied and somewhat embarrassing music choices, it was fun and interesting to see what WYHIWYW’s algorithm came up with. And, upon downloading my outfit, I was pleasantly surprised by the combo that 54% jazz, 12% rock, and 10% vocal created.
The final drop, MFDF, or “marketplace for digital fashion” remains a mystery. Despite launching in late 2021, the site is currently down. However, given the name, it seems likely that MFDF is a full-service digital marketplace for the sale of digital designer goods. Essentially, it’s like a Web3 Saks Fifth Avenue. It will be interesting to see if Kering keeps MFDF to Kering-owned brands or if it expands to include designers outside of the French fashion conglomerate’s umbrella. Regardless, having a digital marketplace specifically for the sale of fashion pieces will be groundbreaking and will completely redefine the current e-commerce model.
Ultimately, not only is Kering’s KNXT one of the most advanced and exciting projects ever undertaken by a luxury fashion company, but it stands to revolutionize the fashion industry. From creating NFTs tailored to consumer music taste, to building a digital fashion marketplace from the ground up, KNXT is unquestionably the future of fashion. And, with the seemingly limitless potential that the unmapped digital landscape provides, there’s no telling what’s next for KNXT.
Follow KNXT on Instagram for upcoming launches and to see the future of fashion in action.