Ambush has launched its first non-fungible token collection. Yoon Ahn speaks with Zaneta Cheung about why she chose her brand’s iconic POW! jewellery to spearhead her foray into the metaverse and where she’s planning to go in the digital universe
Always one to punch above her weight, it was inevitable that Yoon Ahn, fashion’s coolest accessories designer, would take her fashion and jewellery brand Ambush into the metaverse. Launching 2,022 NFTs with the brand’s iconic POW! collection (“It’s the year 2022 so we kicked it off with 2,022 [NFTs],” she says), Ahn is revisiting the first collection Ambush produced in 2008.
Named the POW! “Reboot” NFT Collection, is the designer’s first foray into digital reality. Not only a digital token, the Ambush NFT also serves as a membership card that allows fans exclusive access to both online and offline events with bonuses and perks only available to holders of the brand’s token.
When did you start thinking that it might be a good moment for Ambush to launch its own NFT collection?
I got to learn more about NFTs last year. It’s a really awesome system for creatives as it exists on the blockchain and cannot be replicated. A token system that you can also build on opens up so much more freedom. I also felt that we have so much great IP [creative intellectual property] that can be realised in this space – so we launched it.
How did you envision the Ambush NFT such that it would be unique and speak to yourself and your brand?
It’s real storytelling. We called our first NFT launch the POW! “Reboot” because it’s about connecting to the genesis of the brand’s design as it symbolises the birth. We wanted to commemorate the beginning of our new journey in the Web3 space, so we started off with a homage to the design genesis of the brand. It was a perfect way to retell this story and have the POW! rings are immortalised. To us, this is how we want to connect in that space beyond just a picture or graphic. We want to bring our own past into the future in a new form.
What did you think about when you began working to make this NFT happen, in terms of its design and function?
Depends. What makes sense in the big picture should be the key here. The map is being drawn out and updated almost every day.
Why was it important for you to take Ambush into the metaverse?
We have witnessed Web1, and Web2 right now and Web3 is expected to radically transform society through technological development. Decentralisation will help us create a more direct connection with our customers and fans. Then it becomes our duty to provide a space where closer connections can be built.
What was your understanding and relationship with NFTs and the metaverse before deciding to work on your own collection?
I’ve always been interested in things such as VR and AR. In 2018, when we launched our first Nike collaboration, I actually worked on an AR page where people could go in and play with our collaboration sneakers and take photos to upload on social media. No one understood the need for this idea back then but look at what we do now on social media, with all these applications and skins on gaming platforms.
This virtual space is only going to expand more and more, and as humans living in this space, we’re going to have to invest more in how we “live” in that space – through curation. It’s the right time for us to get started and begin to learn about what we can bring as a brand in Web3.
You’ve worked and collaborated across a range of items including suitcases and make-up. Was working on an NFT different in terms of concept and execution than these physical products?
It was simple to me. Right now, we’re kicking off as a flat digital image but the possibility of what we can implement through the token system is more important. As a brand that sells products, we have to think about this in the big picture.
What were the challenges to creating an NFT?
We are bringing our own IP into it. As technology develops, I’m sure we’re going to see more advanced ways of presenting ideas.
How do you want to see this collection grow? Where do you want to take the brand in the metaverse next?
To me, jewellery, apparel, and collabs all co-exist and all make sense in the Ambush universe. The right kind of storytelling of how one piece of jewellery that started it all for us has now been immortalised as NFT and it will live in digital space. Everything will come in a full 360-degree circle. Everything we do will play out in digital form and connect to the physical. We’ll roll out our road map in more detail in the near future but for sure we will bring lots of activities for everyone to have fun and be a part of this community.
Have you bought NFTs yourself? What do you look for when you’re buying and how do you find this new space and its opportunities?
It’s really up to you. Go with what you like and appreciate. Some people go in to flip and make money. Some go in to collect, like art. Decide what you want to do so you don’t go wasting lots of money.
As a creator, I’m more interested in thinking in the bigger picture rather than the short-term. Time will tell what will happen in this space but it’s fun to create and build community through this digital art.
It’s interesting how NFT is being played out now. It’s very close to the streetwear scene at the beginning, which only proves that we humans like patterns – familiar patterns.
Where do you see the future for retail and brands like yours in digital reality?
We grew the brand organically through watching and listening to our customers. It will be the same in this NFT space. Just making the right step each time will lead us to the destination we dream of.