Have you ever seen those crazy, smiling eyeballs of the Mishka crew? The Brooklyn-based streetwear collective has kept the weird alive since 2003, working with a collection of artists and designers on unmistakable, eye-popping apparel that takes inspiration from ‘80s punk, rock and metal as well as b-movie horror and the skate community.
Founded by illustrator Mike Jones and Greg Rivera, Mishka and it’s “Keep Watch Crew” stay at the edge of culture, so of course they’re entering the world of NFTs.
The brand first flirted with NFT technology in February of this year, but today’s launch takes a serious deep dive into the growing scene. The “Keep Watch Crew” collection features 6,969 unique Keep Watch eyeball NFTs, available to purchase now through the NTWRK NFT marketplace.
“Mishka has done hundreds, if not thousands, of collaborations with all types of artists over the years, and moving to the NFT space seemed like the natural progression as we watch musicians, illustrators, and both digital and traditional artists go into the space,” Rivera says. “Many of these artists were friends of ours and people we have collaborated with in the past. We also reached out to artists that we are currently working with or have worked with, but that havent found themselves in the NFT space, and realized that we can be a springboard to introduce new artists into the NFT community.”
The 6,969 eyeballs vary in their traits as well as their background, the latter of which is based on a pattern or image used by Mishka during its 18-year history. Among the collection, fans will find six one-of-one especially-rare NFTs designed by artists Buff Monster, LAmour Supreme, Mark Dean Veca, Mumbot, Johnny Ryan, and Frank Kozik. There’s also one rare trait out there, designed by Andy Milonakis.
The move to NFTs follows Mishka's decision to close all physical locations, focusing not on wholesale but on web-based commerce as a means to become a direct-to-consumer brand.
“Not only will this move the brand forward in the direction that we have already been heading but will allow us to reach more people, old fans and new, even people that may not have worn our brand for 10 years but have always loved our art. Maybe they have matured to the point where they don’t want to wear a giant cartoon eyeball on their shirt or hat, but that doesn’t mean that their online identity isn't still deeply rooted in that youthful irreverence! Art is what has driven this brand for the past 18 years, and it's what's driving the NFT community today.”
Some of the NFTs will be paired with physical items, and there are plans to launch digital wearables with physical counterparts.
“I think there has a been a struggle for a lot of streetwear brands on how to create products that engage or excite their fan base,” Rivera says, “and I think with the NFT market, this is something that is now only bound by technology and how far you want to push the envelope. Just like every season we decide to come up with the freshest and newest design or printing technique, fabric manipulation, whatever it may be, the NFT space is really allowing us to push these ideas and boundaries even further.”
The Mishka “Keep Watch Crew” drops on NTWRK NFT today, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m. ET. Learn more and catch one of the eyeball pals for yourself at nft.thentwrk.com.