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Conceptualized in 2020 by Ryan Wood, AES-256 is a fashion label exploring the undercurrent of design and technology. An initial focal point of this exploration is the relationship between brand and consumer. The fragility of this relationship has presented severe challenges — yet is still upheld by legacy institutions and systems. The opaqueness of the industry can be seen as a byproduct of technological inefficiencies. Recent advancements in the effort of decentralization have brought forth a new solution, one that is native to the Internet — building off its strengths of distribution, collaboration, and transparency.
AES-256's inaugural capsule collection, DRP-LTD-001, is available via a digital token model — which anyone can buy, sell, and redeem for a physical AES-256 product. The initial funding period utilizes a crowdfunding model, where the pricing is fixed until the target goal. This creates an initial onramp period that is more stable and equitable. Once the funding goal is reached, trading of the digital token is unlocked. Pricing is then determined via market discovery — where consumers drive the value in real-time based upon supply and demand.
Early acquirers of the token gain benefit, as they are rewarded if the price of the token increases. This model also unlocks the option to acquire fractional ownership of the goods — facilitating investment in limited-edition goods, without having to pay for the full product. On the brand side, AES-256 is able to utilize this capital injection to assist in production and invest in future releases. This fortifies a synergistic relationship between the brand and consumer.
Central to all of this, AES-256 is unveiling three limited-edition physical garments that will be redeemable. Redemption will be enabled throughout July and August and will be active for three months. Each garment features refined form, fit, and fabrication — providing a utilitarian and purposefully deconstructed aesthetic. A framework of system-based design philosophy with a focus on materiality guided the creative process. Manufacturing takes place in Japan with world-renowned factories, to further emphasize a relentless focus on quality, durability, and design.