MetaLoot is MetaFactory’s mintable merch for Loot and Synthetic Loot holders, craftable with $AGLD and redeemable for a full set of custom embroidered raiments. This post dives deep into the whats, whys, and hows behind our first redemption drop, and also reveals what it takes to create these pieces in our new Berlin Werkstatt.
Our MetaLoot drop started with a tweet, led to a late night highly noxious and totally unscalable experiment (see vid in post), and shaped up into a full physical set of loungewear-armor.
It was the impetus to:
- Purchase our own 10-needle embroidery machine
- Create an NFT-OR-physical-goods redemption pipeline, which has very positive micro-production implications (touched on here)
- Push the conceptual boundaries of what NFT-inspired merch can be
- Implement a working model that keeps us agile and aligned with our core values
At the time of writing, minting is still available at loot.metafactory.ai, and redemptions are now open.
The MetaLoot bag contains:
1 x cotton jacquard knit socks with reinforced terry sole and footbed
1 x 95% silk 5% spandex snood with custom embroidery
1 x 100% silk liner gloves with custom embroidered ribbon tag
1 x 80% cotton 20% polyester hoodie with custom embroidery
1 x 100% heavy duty brushed cotton 6-panel cap with custom embroidery
1 x 80% cotton 20% polyester joggers with custom embroidery
Yeah, you read that right. Silk gloves and snood! Someone here (cough Weseeclearly cough) has an allergy to all things polyester, so it was a happy discovery finding black, brandless, super well made real silk gloves and snoods in place of the typical polyester/microfiber/fleece getup.
- The animated NFT (still image at left) was created by Fraemwerk.
- The entire front and back end crafting and redemption process was developed and deployed by METADREAMER.
- The concept of the physical drop, as well as the execution of design, testing, and production, is Weseeclearly’s doing.
- The photoshoot and teaser video were under Franchesko’s creative direction.
MetaLoot occupies that sweet intersectional space where Customization, Sustainability, Cultural Relevance, and Community commingle, framed within the meta-warp of a “Spooky” Scalability—because we would never be able to accomplish this rather large drop of
5 x 420 = 2100 individually embroidered items in a reasonable timeframe if all MetaLoot NFTs had been immediately redeemed. We assume the following reasons to be intangibly entangled:
- Preference for digital only. Some people just want the NFT!
- Speculation on the value of the NFT going up as redemptions burn them up (see $SOCKS, redeemable for a pair of Uniswap Socks, with a token value hovering around USD $1 million at the time of writing)
- Crafters may be unaware that redemptions are open
Whatever it is, we’ll take it. With redemptions coming in on a rolling basis, we’re able to produce to demand [sustainable, customizable], and explore the positive sum creative synergy of NFTs and physical products interacting on both technological and conceptual levels. Digi-physical releases offer multiple convergent and divergent avenues of artistic exploration and engagement, too, for the creators and contributors involved. This is a powerful approach that we will certainly be taking for subsequent drops.
Cue in MetaFactory’s Berlin workshop. We’re still writing up a dedicated post to introduce the team, the space, the machines, and the vision. For now, let’s talk MetaLoot and how we’re doing it.
Four months ago when we came up with the MetaLoot concept, we landed on embroidery as the ideal embellishment over printing. But when it came to execution, local embroidery shops either outright refused or highly advised against it, citing hoop size limitations and the (surprising to us) tedious process of manually re-drawing fonts so that they would look halfway decent.
So, we bought our own machine.
And then we realized, fuck, this rig ain’t plug and play.
Research was done, but nothing could’ve prepared us digital-natives for the violent interaction between thread, needle, and fabric, motorized to about 1000 stitches per minute. The thing about machine embroidery is it’s highly dependent upon correct setup. The machine executes its programming perfectly, but at such an insensitive velocity that the material has to be fixed in place with an arrangement of ingeniously complex contraptions and temporary+permanent materials called “stabilizers,” which we iron, tape, and stick on (up to 4 layers thick) for every design.
Add to that, the closed door culture around embroidery software and specific tutorial scarcity, and you start to see why “Divine Robe” emblazoned readably and in real EB Garamond on a hoodie really is of a higher-than-mere-mortal order.
But you didn’t come here for a lesson in embroidery... Or did you? Just like I didn’t join MetaFactory to embroider... or did I?
Maker culture is a cornerstone of our community, so it’s only fitting that we’d approach merch design and manufacturing like a hackathon: learn the tools well enough to push past the expected and build new possibilities. Simultaneous to producing wearable, dope gear, is the evergreen and creatively compounding benefit of skill-acquisition through iterative discovery.
So, if you find yourself looking at that embroidered logo on your jacket differently, or hey if you have some embroidery tips or ideas for us, hit a robot up—and consider yourself already a member of this network of maker space nodes, which will come online in 2022 and beyond.
This last section is to provide some updates on where production currently stands.
Because each garment requires a different frame size and attachment mechanism, some of which are quite complicated to mount, we’re combining orders into production blocks of at least 20 - which means orders on the early side of that block will wait longer to receive their MetaLoot bags.
For all orders placed on or before 24 December 2021
- We’ve completed all helms (caps), necklaces (silk snoods), chest slots (hoodies), socks
- We’re working on gloves, pants, and bags. Trousers encountered a quality control issue so we’re sourcing a better trouser base!
- We will start to ship out on a rolling basis probably mid-January.
Testing font size, stitch density, and stabilizers on two weights of jersey
Some of the completed MetaLoot items
As for why it takes 4+ hrs to embroider some sets... The longer item names require three separate mountings on the same garment base, which means a lot of manual alignment and adjustment to make it look like a single machine pass. Luckily we’re all on the spectrum here and enjoy tweaking out on challenging details like this. +100 hearts if you now notice 😚
As we level up, production time will go down. That’s to be expected. In addition I want a peek into industrial-level embroidery. There must be a more automatic way to apply stabilizers and mount garments. Youtube embroiderers swoon over magnetic hoops and mounting stations, so we’ll be ordering a set of those. But I feel like the real secrets are still very much occulted.
Things that could improve our flow:
Well, that’s all for now. Stay tuned for more updates from the MetaFactory Floor i.e. Berlin Werkstatt i.e. Full-Spectrum Playground.
This blog is built on Notion.so, and as such doesn’t have typical RSS or subscribe features. Instead, I’ll announce all new entries on my twitter, and will also repost select entries to the MetaFactory Forums.