Can combining VR, 3D printing, and NFTs allow indie shoe companies to compete against the goliaths of the footwear industry? That's what MLLN is aiming to find out.
Graphic designers and footwear vets founded MLLN in 2022 as a digital design outfit with the goal of shaking up the footwear industry from the shoes up, starting with web3.
On November 14, MLLN launched its MLLNPass, minting 3,000 NFTs at .03 ETH. Each NFT includes both the MLLNPass, a lifetime digital membership to MLLN’s services (including priority printing, discounts, early access, exclusive products, and more), and a unique sneaker design.
MLLN will physically produce many of the 3,000 sneakers it minted NFTs with Zellerfeld’s cutting-edge 3D printing capabilities, which utilizes Zellerfeld’s custom foot scanner to mold the shoes out of skin-safe latex to perfectly match the wearer’s foot.
Rush-Taylor's resume includes adidas, Puma, and Vivobarefoot, for instance, highlighting a balance between form and function. Meanwhile, Khamis started out at Columbia Sportswear, moving along to Reebok where he designed Cardi B’s Classic Leather Cardio (among other things) before becoming a designer for YEEZY.
Though their history is predicated upon work for established brands, the future of MLLN is all about leveling the playing field between independent designers and industry mainstays alike, they tell Highsnobiety.
“Our Discord has around 1,200 people and there are so many footwear designers collaborating in there,” Khamis said. “Some of them have jobs in the industry, others are trying to get jobs. I think MLLN is going to help connect designers and show that there’s no right or wrong way to go.”
MLLN’s partnership with Zellerfeld puts it in a unique class of collaborators alongside the likes of Kidsuper, Heron Preston, and Ye. These relationships helped put Zellerfeld on the map, so it’s nice to see them leveraging that fame into a boost for independent designers like MLLN.