A collaborative digital wearables brand built around vintage clothing, MNTGE is garnering serious buzz and it hasn’t even launched yet.
Brainchild of cofounders Nick Adler, Sean Wotherspoon and Brennan Russo, the outfit marries heritage and cutting-edge technology. “We really think brand first and feel like we’ve built a really strong brand that harnesses the creative potential of digital fashion,” says Adler.
The base involves digitized replicas from Wotherspoon’s vintage archive of over 4000 garments from retro jackets to tour Tees plus ‘inspired by’ pieces from the collections of fellow cultural leaders and industry aficionados. “People who lend themselves to hype beast culture” says Adler. “Because they are the trend setters,” adds Russo.
Then the fun starts. Said artists and fashion designers will put their own creative stamp on the digital pieces via ‘INKS,’ additional layers on top that will bring the garments to life.
The line up of collaborators is still under wraps but if you’re looking for clues, the co-founders’ pedigrees and various affiliations may provide a hint or two.
Adler puts together major deals between artists and brands in the entertainment industry, has Snoop Dogg as a business partner and is also both investor and advisor for The Sandbox, Yuga Labs and Non-Fungible Labs. Aside from his vintage archive collection, Wotherspoon is a designer and creative director on projects with adidas, Nike, Porsche and more, Russo is the brand experience guy and former manager of music and sport collaborations at adidas.
The outfit is supremely well connected with web3 and fashion credentials galore. Today, to celebrate the release of its alpha series mint passes (designed like garment tags), the MNTGE team is hosting a MNTGE Twitter Space, with Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Gordon Goner and Gucci’s Robert Triefus who is both CEO of Gucci Vault and Gucci Metaverse Ventures and the Italian powerhouse’s executive vice president for corporate and brand strategy.
Going forward, there will also be real world extensions, AR filters plus likely integrations with Snapchat and a variety of PFP projects as interoperability increases. See above for potential partnerships. Ultimately the goal is pairing one-of-one IRL pieces with their digital twins, says Adler.
Currently the mark up on physical vintage pieces can range from 100% to 300%. “The idea is that the mint pass can give you access to a pick at what we think are much fairer prices.”
MNTGE had its genesis 18 months ago during a visit to Wotherspoon’s Round Two vintage store. “When he told me one T-shirt was worth $2000 my jaw dropped,” said Adler. It bore a Hanes tag as opposed to a Gildan (vintage fans will understand this), had faded just so and was a bootleg to boot!
“All that made it more valuable,” he explained. “I realized he was telling me about traits and provenance and rarity. There was so much similarity to NFTs.” The next question was how to put it on chain and make the representation as unique and detailed as possible.
The digitized looks are impressive — achieved via an elaborate camera rig taking upwards of one hundred 360 degree photos of each garment. “Then we have Pixar level designers stitching them all together,” Adler reveals.
The 1500 MNTGE mint passes confer access to collections alongside planned experiences and air drops. Following today’s allow list release, the remainder will go to public raffle tomorrow December 15.
Aside from the hype, MNTGE is also a strong business proposition. With a market value of more than $96 billion in 2021 — expected to more than double by 2026 — vintage clothing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the fashion industry. Couple that with the $81.5 million projected web3 market size by 2030 and you get the point.
The endgame, Adler concludes is “to innovate fashion and to build a sustainable future first brand.”
The weekly Twitter spaces have been up and running for a while. They’ve been featuring members of MNTGE’s advisory and investor panel such as Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoroso, Colette co-founder Sarah Andelman, Cordell Broadus aka Champ Medici son of Snoop Dogg and adidas alumnus Jon Wexler, and accruing between 2000 and 10,000 listeners per episode.