Alan King, Founder of AKINGS Discusses Why Wear To Earn Is The Next Frontier For Fashion

May 17, 2022

Alan King, Founder of AKINGS, joined us in this episode of NEWFORUM.

AKINGS is a New York-Based Streetwear brand that has been around since 2017. The label seen on prominent celebrities such as Dwight Howard, Kyle Kuzma, Lil Baby, Steve Aoki, Tyga & Trippie Redd is a fashion brand moving into NFTs with a Wear To Earn Utility concept. You will be rewarded Tokens for wearing the items in the Metaverse, in-games, and eventually IRL. Most NFTs are avatars that need digital wearables. They are the Digital to Avatar items worn across multiple Metaverses.

Alan is expanding his vision for AKINGS into the Web3 space. In this episode of NewForum, we had an inspiring conversation about his journey and determination as a young successful Entrepreneur. He also described what he foresees to be the future of the Fashion Industry as the Industry begins to embrace new technologies.

We started, as usual, asking Alan to share a bit about his story as a young designer and his vision for AKINGS.

Alans began his fashion journey while in high school, reselling.

“I saw that there was something in fashion beyond fast fashion. I saw the hype of streetwear, like Supreme, Nikes, and Yeezy, growing up. I thought, wow, if I buy this Supreme t-shirt, then the resale value of the secondary market is more valuable than me buying from a fast-fashion brand. I was attracted to the community- to the secondary value of this long term. I was not only spending money on clothes and throwing it out…” — Alan

And these were the humble beginnings of AKINGS. Alan saw an opportunity to leverage here and started his fashion brand. He printed t-shirts, cut and sewn, and where the denim journey of AKINGs came into play was during his senior year of high school when they went viral on Reddit.

‘People were finding it from all over the internet. And from that attraction, I just figured if people are willing to buy clothes from me off the internet. Let me give it a shot and go all in…” — Alan

Alan decided to dedicate his time to building his brand over going to college, focusing on e-commerce, and social media.

Alan gives credit to his hard-working parents, who moved to the United States with barely anything but worked tirelessly to succeed. He expressed that they have been the greatest inspiration on his career path. He shared more about his inspiring story of becoming a successful Entrepreneur and Fashion Designer with humble beginnings.

So how was the process and experience like getting celebrities to collaborate with AKINGS Community and wear the Designs?

Alan expressed that this is what makes AKINGS unique from a fashion standpoint. But from the NFT, Web3 standpoint, they do not pay celebrities; the celebrities wearing the label are their customers or community members. They love the product and want to support it by wearing the product.

He added that the celebrities in their community are looking for something unique and are mostly musicians who wear the label on stage during performances to support the brand. AKINGS also works work with their stylists. Alan believes that celebrities are attracted to the fact that they make unique products.

We were curious to know how he managed to access those celebrities to get noticed amongst the crowd of other young designers. Hear all about how this process happened for him in his full interview.

Managing a Fashion Brand is never an easy task, so how did Alan meet his team? How does he keep them motivated?

“We run pretty much like a traditional Fashion Brand, but it is more like a startup-ish. We are still a small team, but in the Web3 space- we are now bringing in strategic advisors partners because I think it is a space that we need to make sure that we are growing properly. It is a lot when it comes to management. Also bringing in people that are accountable to themselves and the bigger goals of the company or like the project that we are working on and what we are trying to accomplish and allowing people to dream big as well…” — Alan

Alan shared more about his approach to managing his team, ensuring that values and goals are aligned. He has a community-oriented mindset. Do not miss out on hearing all about it in his full interview.

Alan also discussed his views on how Web3 tools can expand the vision of fashion and the new opportunities they bring designers.

Alan has been in Crypto since 2017. He was buying Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, MemeCoins, and a couple of others.

He explained that, about two years ago, he started seeing the rise of NFTs getting a lot more public attention. He added that friends who were previously heavily into Crypto began moving into NFTs. He was inspired to learn more about NFTs. He realized that NFTs were digital identities and communities; the profile photos represented something that spoke to the person who was either buying it or owned it.

It hit Alan that this person was theoretically going to be wearing this Avatar (NFT) in the Metaverse all the time.

“If humans wear one thing forever, some people can do that but may still want to wear five different variations of the same t-shirt. I just thought, who is going to dress these Avatars or this new identity, and I figured that we could be one of the first few Digital Avatar Fashion Brands…” — Alan

This idea led to the birth of a trading card that he pointed out to our community during his interview.

Alan explained how the trading card works in terms of wearing one’s Digital Avatar and how it is worn in real life because they are physically redeemable.

“I wanted to reward our customers or holders in some way. I was a bit frustrated by this idea of just creating this Shopify like the app- were just backed by this NFT, and maybe you can log in and get these things, so I thought, well, I want to reward our holders with Tokens…” — Alan

Why should you be rewarded for wearing your clothes? Hear Alan share some tips and suggestions while giving a thorough answer to the question.

Is the Play to Earn concept sustainable, and does it apply to the Wear To Earn?

“ I think if the game is sustainable and the game is great then the earning kind of comes naturally from it, so as long as the game is good, I think it’s sustainable…” — Alan

Alan discussed that different games or different Metaverses, different companies, there are definitely ways to make it sustainable as long as you are not counting on the trading volume of that project to be the only thing sustaining your rewards. Why? Alan believes that where most Play to Earn, Move to Earn concepts kind of failure is the main reason its sustainable.

AKINGS believes Wear to Earn is the next frontier for fashion. Alan spoke thoroughly about it and discussed how concepts like Play to Earn and Move to Earn could be sustainable. He also discussed what physical redemption is all about in the context of fashion and Web3 and how it works to get a physical item. We even discussed the similarity between physical redemption and Phygital. Alan also shared what he thinks about Digital Fashion, VR, and AR and his prediction on whether or not these new technologies will become a part of our daily lives. He finally shared what he thinks is the potential for Fashion Identity in the Metaverse, and if it will impact our community and the work AKINGS does.

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"I think if the game is sustainable and the game is great then the earning kind of comes naturally from it, so as long as the game is good, I think it's sustainable…"