This New Footwear Brand Merges NFTs With Luxury Italian Sneakers

A new luxury sneaker brand is merging crypto with footwear with the hopes of changing how consumers interact with the metaverse.

Founded by fashion veteran George Yang, Cult&Rain will launch its first limited edition NFT collection tied to a redeemable luxury fashion sneaker next month.

Described by Yang as the “first luxury fashion house born from crypto,” Cult&Rain’s first release on Feb. 7 comprises of 2,000 4K animated NFT’s matched with 2,000 sneakers. The collection of NFT’s comprise of four original sneaker designs with five colorways each, with only 100 pairs per colorway available. As part of the collection, Cult&Rain teamed up with four artists The Heart Project by Aidan Cullen, Sean Williams, Sophie Sturdevant, and Javier Arres to develop their own unique skins that will also be featured on the sneaker and NFT.

Yang, a fashion veteran who held design positions at John Varvatos and Theory among others, was originally going to merge his love of sneakers with the idea of using blockchain technology to track sneaker ownership from factory to consumer.

Cult&Rain NFT Sneaker Collection
Cult&Rain’s Atlas sneaker.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Cult&Rain

“As an avid sneakerhead myself, I have amassed a large collection of sneakers over the years,” Yang told FN. “Before my most recent move from Paris to New York, my wife encouraged me to sell some pairs. When I went to resell them, I found out many pairs were fake. This sparked the idea of creating a shoe brand that could be tracked from the factory to consumer, with the option to transfer ownership when it comes time to resell the sneaker.”

But when Yang approached investors about the idea, they encouraged him to take the concept a step further into the metaverse by making NFTs along with actual pairs, essentially allowing Yang to self-fund the project without investor help. “While my wife was not happy with me using my savings to start Cult&Rain, it has always been my dream to create my own world class brand,” Yang said.

With the goal of being the most luxurious NFT experience in the market, Yang has invested heavily in creative assets while also utilizing his sourcing connections for his physical redeemables, which will be made in Italy.

Now with this launch in full view, Yang is already looking ahead at more collaborations as well as adding more physical product to Cult&Rain’s offering this year. “We are looking into making more physical units for future drops that we can sell on our own e-commerce site,” Yang told FN. “These will be base colorways that would not be tied to any specific collaboration or NFT, at least at first. And I would also like to open a physical pop-up at some point.”

Asked about when he expects the metaverse to be widely adopted by consumers, Yang said he believes 2022 will be the year of mass adoption. “I believe that once more types of payment options are enabled on the metaverse, more consumers will be participating,” Yang declared. “We are seeing some companies starting to accept credit card payments, and we are going to launch this option this year as well. More companies can now convert credit card currency into crypto for the consumers on the front end without the consumer doing any work. This move will open up more Web3 and metaverse usage by the end of the year.”

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