Lebanese fashion designer, Rami Kadi dives into the world of NFTs and reveals more about his very first digital collection, Lucid Algorithms at the 10th edition of Step Conference.
Since starting his career in 2011, Rami Kadi has been known to become one of the most versatile Lebanese designers globally. Dolling celebrities from across the world in his astounding dresses, Kadi has managed to represent the region in the world significantly by blending eastern craftsmanship with the western world of haute couture.
During his panel at the 10th edition of the Step Conference, Kadi discussed the inevitable digital evolution of art with NFTs and how creatives from across the globe are increasingly hopping onto the trend.
In an exclusive interview, we ask Kadi how he decided to blend NFTs with couture and what his fans can expect next from this new venture?
What exactly is your NFT collection? What does it constitute? How can your consumers interact with it?
The collection, Lucid Algorithms SS22 is an exquisite collection of digital art pieces which are curated with the vision of finding beauty in machinery. They combine my designs with certain colors and patterns which can be used by NFT owners in a physical dress or even to create their own 2D avatars.
You’re the first couture designer in the region to venture into the world of crypto and digital art? How do you see this venture and its growth affecting your physical collections?
This venture is no deviation from my work at Maison De Couture. The work that my team and I put into every dress, from the embroidery to the intricate craftsmanship remains the same. The NFT collection is an extension of my brand and both the worlds run parallel to each other. A separate team works on the digital collection, and we’ve only doubled the efforts in raising the bar altogether. In couture, the market is very niche, most of our clients are women looking to customize pieces for special occasions like their engagement or weddings. The digital world invites people from all backgrounds to explore the collection, there are no set boundaries. Therefore, we’re not limiting ourselves to one market, we’re experimenting with everything that’s new.
Do you plan on expanding couture to the Metaverse as well in the coming future?
Of course, it’s a part of our plan. However, as a couture designer, I cannot have everything ready at the moment and even the Metaverse is still vague. There are a lot of platforms, and everyone is still figuring out where to start. But we’re here experimenting with existing ones. For me, in a lot of ways, we’re already in the Metaverse, like when we build our avatars on Snapchat or in games. As it gets more definite, brands and creatives will be able to drive business out of it.
What sort of response have you been receiving from your existing and potential customers on the NFT collection?
The response has been great. But it’s something new, for instance when we launched the collection with an event here in Dubai, clients were excited but weren’t fully aware of what I was up to. I’ve had clients come up to me with cash wanting to buy an NFT! Which I can relate to because a year ago, even I wasn’t aware of the know-how of buying crypto. Today, I’m the first couture designer on the Cardano blockchain and in the coming years, my pieces will be extremely valuable, because they’re unique.
All in all, there is still a lot of doubt and people are still trying to find their way around it and it will take time. Today, I’m here at Step to educate as many existing and potential consumers on investing in NFTs, because I see a lot of growth in this realm in the coming years.
Do you think that NFTs are just a trend or are they here to stay?
I don’t think it's a trend. I think it's cool and is here to stay. Although, there is a drawback and a high possibility for scams, but isn’t that like anything else in life? With every project we invest in there is a risk. However, with the growing buzz around the Metaverse, I strongly believe that the NFTs will survive. Many tokens won’t do as well, but those here to stay will stay.
How are your NFTs priced?
This collection has a total of 120 NFTs and one token starts from 1025 ADA. I am not applying any royalty fees on them, because I want people to buy them only if they believe in my collections and are not looking to resell them further.
The NFTs are being minted on Cardano, a public blockchain platform that is open-source and decentralized, and uses Ouroboros, the first peer-reviewed, verifiably secure blockchain protocol.
What were some of the challenges you faced in launching this NFT collection?
The customer experience is very different. When designing physical pieces, we are directly interacting with the customer on a one-on-one basis. Getting to know them, how they look, and their taste is a part of the process. While selling NFTs, its restrained to the transaction. We don’t have to engage in too much conversation or even get to know each other. So, that’s something we’re getting used to now. I love that we’ve always been challenging ourselves and learning how to do things differently across different platforms, launching this collection comes with its share.