In the fall of 2012, in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Robert Kalinkin fashion house launched an ad campaign featuring a man and a woman dressed as Jesus and the Virgin Mary, wearing jeans and dresses from the company’s then upcoming clothing line. “Oh my God, what pants!” One of the signs read “Dear Mary, what a dress!” and “Jesus, Mary, what are you wearing?” at the brand’s co-founders Robert Kalinkin and Ender. The event took place on the company’s website and on prominent billboards in the Lithuanian capital ahead of the fashion show that Lie Veltrakitt was organizing at the time. “It’s a game of words,” Robert Kalinkin co-founder and CEO Indre Viltrakyte said of the event in an interview with nft now. “We have models and the images are in a very serene setting. They are a very beautiful representation of our clothing. Everyone loves it.” However, a few days before the fashion show, Viltrakyte and Kalinkin received a message from a church in a nearby city complaints, claiming they violated public morals by insulting images of Jesus, God and Mary. Lithuania is one of the most devout Abrahamic countries on the planet, with more than 90 percent of residents identifying as Christians and three-quarters of adults identifying as Catholics. The complaint went to the Lithuanian State Consumer Rights Protection Agency (SCRPA) and the Lithuanian Advertising Agency (LAA), both of which ruled that the couple had offended the feelings of religious persons, which is an item contained in the country’s Code of Ethics in Advertising in principle.
From the Robert Kalinkin fashion house “They gave us a choice,” recalls Viltrakyte. “Either accept [the ruling] and a public apology for the ad, or they will go to court. They feel that we have angered the Lithuanian Catholic community. So, we said, ‘No, we can’t apologize for something we don’t think we did wrong. ‘” The choice to reject the ruling has led to years of litigation. In fighting the SCRPA ruling, the fashion house lost three separate court cases, with the final blow coming from the Lithuanian Supreme Court. “But we still feel that we It’s the right thing to do,” Viltrakyte said. “It’s a creative expression. Advertising is a form of creative expression. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) agreed. Lawyers accepted the couple’s case without compensation, arguing that the fines and rulings handed down by Lithuanian courts violated their right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. January 2018 On 30 March, after years of litigation and paperwork, the European Court of Human Rights declared the Lithuanian court’s ruling illegal, setting a precedent for the entire European Union.
“If you feel that what you create has a right to exist, no one should take it from you.” Indre Viltrakyte
“I read every line of the final [court judgment] Bringing the sweet taste of justice to creatives,” says Viltrakyte. “If you feel that what you create has a right to live, no one should take it from you. ”
Birth of the Rebels NFT project
For Spring/Summer 2021, Viltrakyte decided to take the same principles of creative expression and infuse them into NFT projects. She started buying and trading NFTs and was “totally obsessed” with Web3. “I thought we could immortalize our stories on the blockchain,” explained Viltrakyte. In September, Viltrakyte brought the idea to Kalinkin, and the pair decided to build on the project they’ve been working on for years on an ad campaign.By November, the Rebels NFT community is on Discord and Twitter, and released the series in January 2022. The Rebels team hopes that the 10,101 NFTs in the series will reflect the journey of Viltrakyte and Kalinkin. The project’s art director, Ernesta Vala (who also led the pair’s 2012 ad campaign), crafted the NFTs in the series based on the campaign’s portrayal of Mary. “When we created this project, we wanted to create this character, the mother of this mother – proud and independent,” explains Viltrakyte. “When we saw those traits in the character, we let Ernesta and the team do the rest.”
(Left) Mary and (right) Rebel #529 from the 2012 campaign, via The Rebels
Enter NFT Fashion
According to The Rebel’s website, the brand aims to be the first fashion house to fully transform into a blockchain brand. However, Viltrakyte doesn’t try to hide her traditional fashion roots and believes her perspective and experience will help her explore ways to connect physical and digital in the Web3 world. “We’re looking for ways to be the bridge between the physical and the digital,” Viltrakyte said. “We know how to make clothes, we know the business side of it – we’re not digital natives, and we don’t pretend to be.” The Viltrakyte and Rebels team will launch their first clothing line in late September, which will include Physical clothing and sneakers and digital NFT counterparts. Creating NFT-tagged clothing (making it traceable and verifiable) is a compelling possibility. Still, significant progress at the intersection of fashion and NFTs is currently limited by what Viltrakyte calls “interoperability issues.” What are interoperability issues? In short, it comes from the way the separate metaverse spaces are isolated from each other. For example, you may have a Metaverse-compatible digital asset in a project’s digital environment, but you cannot take that asset to another Metaverse. This lack of interoperability prevents projects and communities from interacting and Web3 cohesively developing on a larger scale. “We cannot have a fully functional [Web3] Fashion house,” laments Viltrakyte. “It may not come anytime soon. If you make a fashion collection for Decentraland, it’s just for Decentraland. If you make one for Sandbox, it’s just for them. We need to solve this problem. I’m a big believer in VR technology that can be used with wearables. We are doing something similar. ”
“There are no boundaries. No one tells us we can’t create what we want to create.” Indre Viltrakyte
The bigger picture, according to Viltrakyte, is to enable creators in the Web3 community to build, design and create their own clothing. “We’re trying to build a platform where people with minimal design knowledge can choose design elements that make the final garment look unique and custom,” explained Viltrakyte. “We can then open it up and convert it to whatever you want. any platform, Decentraland, some other metaverse or AR filter.”
The success and future of NFT fashion industry
Fashion brands like Gucci, Tiffany, Prada, and Nike have become Web3’s best friends. The success of these brands flirting with NFTs bodes well for the fashion industry, although Viltrakyte said she hopes the companies will deliver on their Web3 promises. “It is important that these brands continue [experiment] Using NFTs,” commented Viltrakyte. “If it’s just a drop or two, it’s bad for space because then there’s no consistency and you can take it as a cash grab. I usually think fashion is more visible than other industries because it’s a luxury and everyone wants a piece of it. Something like DeFi just isn’t as sexy. Viltrakyte believes fashion is a great fit for Web3, as people’s decision to wear what they wear has always been the most basic form of self-expression. If the identity-building focus of NFTs and blockchain technology is similar in anything, it’s fashion. No matter which brand The ones who are best able to identify and capitalize on this will pass the torch. Viltrakyte said of her predictions for the future of Web3 fashion: “There will be traditional luxury brands pointing this out. “Tiffany has done a great job of that.I bet they’ll be consistent [Web3]. Then, there are niche brands like us. Small, boutique, rather high-end brands from a small, unknown country have entered this huge Web3 world. There are no boundaries there. No one tells us we can’t create what we want to create. ”