Sean Wotherspoon is a renowned streetwear designer, as well as a curator and purveyor of rare vintage. He is noted for embracing both the past and the future. Why therefore shouldn’t his commercial efforts succeed?
Mntge is his latest venture with cofounders Nick Adler, best known as the brand manager for Snoop Dogg, and Brennan Russo, a former marketing manager for Adidas.
The group is currently riding high on the success of their inaugural release last week, a two-stage offering for Mntge passes that grants early access to real and digital fashion. Now, the team is focusing on the first actual fashion drops for the first quarter of 2023, which will include four pieces from Wotherspoon’s personal vintage collection. But there’s more.
Beyond the vintage denim jacket and digital doppelganger that Wotherspoon previewed on social media days prior, Mntge provided WWD with an exclusive sneak peek of what’s to come. Indeed, there is an additional surprise — their first one-of-one NFT will come with a “ink” bottle in the virtual trunk, which, according to the partners, may be enough to blow fans away.
As Russo explained, “The trunk opens up and you receive two items: There’s the piece of Sean’s wardrobe and an ‘ink’ bottle, and these two things essentially sit in your wallet as two separate NFTs.”
The crypto natives may feel comfortable with the mechanism. It resembles “serums” that, when applied to Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, generate “mutant apes” as variants of the original artwork. Here, mixing the ink bottle transports the owner to a world filled with flowers.
Social media platforms collaborate with brands such as Gucci and others to transport users into immersive, stylized environments — from lush gardens to labyrinths — through the use of smartphone cameras and augmented reality. The same spirit of experimentation that drives these campaigns frequently places innovative fashion houses such as Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, etc. at the forefront of Web 3.0.
Owners are not required to mix the ink and the NFT. However, if they choose to, it is simple to accomplish. “You’ll get a notification to blend, and that’s when you’ll go to a new site and submit both of those [the NFT and the ink],” Russo continued. “You submit a wallet, it will read that and burn those two, giving you this brand-new, more dynamic, futuristic NFT.”
Currently, the immersive world of Mntge ink is kind of a lean-back experience. However, the team continues to develop application cases and explore the technological limits. It hopes to provide some degree of control over the secondary environment in the future, and may even connect it to one or more metaverse platforms.
“We don’t own any proprietary software to do this,” he added. “But I think we’re the first to think of clothing, in terms of how to take it from an existing original piece to a more dynamic, futuristic piece.”
According to Adler, the original two-stage offering of 1,400 Mntge passes was sold out last week. The first phase, which was exclusive to partner communities, sold 1,290 passes, while the second phase, a public raffle, sold 110 passes within minutes the following day.
“We saw a crazy amount of entries, 300,000 entries, that came in, and we sold out within four minutes,” Adler added. “And that propelled us on OpenSea. I think as of right now, we did 480 ETH in total trading volume, which if you look up the ETH to USD conversion, it’s around half a million dollars.”
In other words, the business is doing well even before Mntge releases any fashion, whether it’s real or virtual. With 1,065 owners, it’s clear that some people bought more than one pass, which is why some of them are already on OpenSea’s secondary market.
Mntge, a portmanteau of “mint” and “vintage,” is an attempt to connect the worlds of vintage and NFTs. According to Adler and Wotherspoon, there is a natural relationship, and the firm was founded by recognizing this.
“In Round Two [Wotherspoon’s L.A. vintage boutique], I just saw kids coming in all day long buying vintage T-shirts. It’s the middle of COVID-19, everyone’s masked up, and it struck something with me,” Adler went on. “I looked at Sean and asked him about it, and everything he told me a year-and-a-half ago has come true — from the size of the vintage market, to how fast it was growing, to what was on trend and from things like Double Knee Carhartt pants or specific band Ts, and why one was more valuable than the other.”