Historical NFT collaboration starring valentina Sampaio launches to benefit LGBTQ+ community
While high fashion has historically been lauded for its boundary-pushing approach to garment design, the industry as a whole has largely not been receptive to fully embracing the modern-day technological revolution, preferring needles and thread to coding and keyboards. As new tech continues to emerge and the fashion industry lags behind, those who embrace the change and adapt to the times will ultimately become the tastemakers of this new frontier. This crucial intersection between fashion and technology can be represented by newly-launched NFT project between supermodel Valentina Sampaio, blockchain company LUKSO, co-creative agency The Lions Management, and a bevy of other international creatives, which at the time of this article is on auction with the latest bid of $300,000.
With the ultimate objective of benefitting LGBTQ+ charities, the venture tapped into some of the best talents from across the world to accomplish this goal, including The Lions represented Brazilian transgender supermodel Sampaio, Russian digital artist NERI (Gia Djahaia), and LUKSO’s experienced team headquartered out of Berlin.
The cause-focused NFT was launched alongside a short film starring Sampaio, harnessing technological elements such as CGI and 3D design, conceptualized, created and directed by Branislav Jankic and Jesse Ball. In the film, Sampaio recites the names of trans lives lost this past year in America, while a dress made of blood designed by NERI forms on her body as a symbolic memory of their lives, bringing attention to the harrowing statistics of violence against the transgender community in the United States.
In a move unfortunately representative of the issues facing trans folk today, the short film’s confirmed Monday night premiere at the Nasdaq Tower in Times Square was stopped by Nasdaq’s top management just minutes ahead of its scheduled release, citing internally-driven red tape as the reason for pulling the plug. The creatives and trans cast involved in the film’s making, who had gathered beneath the tower in anticipation, then played the film on a laptop and speakers in their own make-shift premiere, undeniably disappointed in Nasdaq’s sudden move but reinvigorated by the project’s clear-cut importance and cultural relevance.
“Our existence and visibility matter,” said Sampaio. “Branislav Jankic and Jesse Ball’s new film begins with the beautiful diversity and joy of the transgender community and quickly moves to spotlight the urgent epidemic of violence facing transgender people, especially transgender women of color. Together with partners at The Lions and LUKSO, we hope our film and NERI’s striking NFT raise visibility for the trans community and create an urgent call to action for the world to proudly and strongly stand with trans people”.
“There is a true chance, I think, to show America that the trans community need not be controversial, need not be something to fear, that it is a strength and a comfort,” added Ball. “These loving people are our neighbors and friends.”
The project quickly gained plentiful attention on social media, as V Magazine launched a digital cover featuring Sampaio and the CGI dress the very next day and high-profile celebrities, influencers and activists shared Sampaio’s Instagram post and message.
“LAMBADA DYED RED WHITE BLUE represents a cultural moment and a convergence of creative technologies, blockchain, the creative power of the authors, and the true spirit of our time,” said LUKSO’s co-founder Marjorie Hernandez de Vogelsteller. “A truly collaborative effort, in which some of the best talents of our time have come together to share a powerful and meaningful message of what it means to be still today one of us, who don’t fall inside the conservative conforms of society.”
After its Monday night debut, the NFT version of NERI’s one-of-a-kind CGI keeps gaining momentum with profits from the high-figure purchase going to three LGBTQ+ charities – GLAAD, The Ali Forney Center, and The Lions’ longtime philanthropic partner Pride Live.
The collaborative effort accomplished its goal, utilizing each member of the global creative team’s unique perspectives to create a work of tech-driven art that is now secured in history as the highest valued NFT diving trans issues, bringing fashion forward along with it.