What Are NFTs And Why Are Indian Artists And Designers Creating Them?

NFT Fashion (1)
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I understand technology. I know how it works, the nuances of it and what a particular platform can pull off. But throw the words cryptocurrency, NFT and others into the mix and I draw a complete blank.  Indian designers and artists are now investing and creating NFTs and our interest was piqued. We reached out to Sayali Rai and Niyati Thaker from FinCocktail (an Instagram page that breaks down important financial concepts) and asked them to explain NFT to us.

For starters, what really is NFT?

Sayali Rai and Niyati Thaker explain that “NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are a similar concept to a trademark or signature. You know how artists sign their own work and that signature is used to showcase originality? Or how designers make their dresses and use their label to brand it? NFTs are used to create digital assets. NFTs are a way for artists or creators to make digital pieces and identify them as original. They are stored digitally on a ledger called the blockchain. They are “non-fungible” meaning cannot be replicated and essentially give you proof of ownership.

You can create an NFT of anything that is digital, a photograph, a GIF, a piece of music or multiple pieces put together. Once created, these NFTs can even be traded online through some portals. Some NFTs have been bought and sold for millions! It’s like art, there is no upward limit to pricing these pieces.”

 

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Hmm, I see why artists and designers would be drawn to it…

I get why they would want to create or invest in NFTs but does it make sense in a market like India? It seems like we are in a very nascent stage.

Sayali and Niyati are quick to point out that “The NFT scene, just like cryptocurrencies, is exploding in India. There is a lot of curiosity around it, a lot of people are beginning to dabble in it and working around understanding it and creating their own NFTs. Since they cannot be replicated, it gives artists or creators a strong motive to be able to monetize their work digitally. They are still traded on some limited exchanges, but more avenues in the infrastructure are sure to come up. Even globally the market is nascent, but India has jumped on the crypto bandwagon quite quickly and have invested in them heavily, so we think that, the future of NFTs in India is quite bright!”

I mean, aren’t clothes already branded? Why would you need to create an NFT for it?

I am starting to get the hang of the concept but not entirely sold on it. Given that the brand name is already on the garment or the canvas, why would a designer or artist want to create branding for it?

The girls from Fincocktail explain that “Creating NFTs for artists means that they can digitally secure their pieces. NFTs can provide a different revenue stream altogether for the artists. It’s a great way of monetising their current/existing art by digitising it, or dabbling in creating some new digital pieces altogether! What’s peaking everyone’s interest is the securing bit of the NFT. No two NFTs can ever be alike, and no NFT can be replicated, this really gives artists a way to make sure their paid their due and their intellectual property is protected.”

Oh, this makes a lot of sense…

Creating an NFT provides an extra source of income (we could all use that) and it also makes sure no one copies your work. I could get behind that. The Indian fashion market has caught up on the concept (way faster than I did) and plenty of designers are creating NFTs for their brand.

Recently, Raghavendra Rathore became the first designer to take his personal art and convert it into NFTs via exclusive block-chain technology for art. Here’s what is interesting, these NFTs are being created to raise awareness for the initiatives of Raghavendra Rathore Foundation (RRF), and a portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to RRF. This is also a first.

About this Raghavendra Rathore said, “Art collectors, artists and designers alike face major copyright issues, their work can be reproduced endlessly and without permission, diminishing its value. But now, by linking their digital work to an NFT, which allows for it to be authenticated through the token’s unique code.”

NFTs are now the hottest fashion accessory…

Besides Raghavendra Rathore, there are many more Indian designers taking this route. Recently, FDCI and Lakmé Fashion Week created a ‘FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week Moments’ NFT, featuring iconic fashion week moments. From the 5 NFTs created, 4 are already sold out. Clearly, there’s a market for it and people are lapping it up.

As audiences around the world look to explore digital assets and monetise their art, NFTs seem the way forward. Maybe it’s time to unleash your inner artist. You never know who will love your work!

Cover image credits : Raghavendra Rathore, Maisontaskin

Thumbnail credit: Maisontaskin

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