Alice Delahunt believes the future of fashion is in web3 and created Syky (pronounced “psy-key”) to put the wheels in motion.
She launched the company in November after a career in marketing at luxury fashion houses, serving in roles including chief digital and content officer at Ralph Lauren and digital and social marketing director at Burberry.
In 2017, Delahunt was at Ralph Lauren and had her first look at the blockchain, but it wasn’t until years later while working to pioneer some digital wardrobe projects with companies, like Snap, Bitmoji and Roblox, that she had an opportunity to see that web3 was going to be “more than a niche community” for luxury fashion.
“It felt like there was potential for virtual fashion and digital fashion to really take off,” she told TechCrunch. “I believe that the luxury fashion houses of tomorrow are being built today.”
That’s when Delahunt left Ralph Lauren and started developing Syky, which she said will serve as an incubator, marketplace and social community for the next generation of fashion designers and consumers.
As my colleague, Dominic-Madori Davis recently noted, “if there is one industry that could use web3, that industry is fashion,” especially when it comes to taking the industry in a new direction or helping it become more sustainable.
This is much of Delahunt’s focus. Her company’s name was inspired by the mythological Greek goddess of soul, Psyche, who she said personified “how designers use fashion to express the intangible parts of ourselves and themselves.”
“Designers inspire us to dream through fashion,” Delahunt added. “And those dreams come from the innermost parts of our psyche, so it was important for me for the name to reflect that.”
The company is kicking off the community part of its platform by releasing its first NFT, called The Keystone, of which 987 will be available on January 20. Fifty Keystones will be reserved for and granted to aspiring designers, Delahunt said.
The Keystone is a membership pass that provides exclusive access to Syky’s membership space, where they can network and collaborate with other creators and be able to attend digital and in-person fashion events. Keystone holders will also be the first to hear about designer collection drops, company alpha and beta feature releases and partner projects. In addition, they will receive periodic insights and reports on fashion and technology.
Syky is still very much in its early stages, but is buoyed by a $9 million Series A investment, led by Seven Seven Six, which also included Brevan Howard Digital, Leadout Capital, First Light Capital Group and Polygon Ventures.
The investment marks Seven Seven Six’s foray into web3 fashion, and Alexis Ohanian told TechCrunch via email that the attraction to Syky came from his obsession with the intersection of technology and culture.
“Creating and growing Reddit gave me a front-row seat to the power of culture creation through technology, even if it’s internet culture, and fashion is one more core element to that,” Ohanian added.
Meanwhile, Delahunt intends to deploy the new capital into building up the Syky team, incubating the designers into the community and on product and technology development.
She plans for the future marketplace to be a revenue driver for the company. It will be a place for emerging designers and unestablished designers to sell and trade their collections with consumers. It will also be a place where designers and consumers can curate spaces to showcase their fashion passions.
Delahunt was secretive about some of the next steps of the company, which includes an announcement for designers in February, and another part of the platform launching in the second quarter of this year.
“We’re going to build the luxury space environment in the digital world and then in the physical world,” Delahunt added.