Iddris Sandu is a 25-year-old technologist and founder of Spatial Labs, an impact-driven tech incubator backed by venture capital firm Marcy Ventures, founded by JayZ. Since launching LNQ Marketplace in May of this year with the Gen One Hardwear collection, the decentralized retail ecosystem is redefining the buying, owning, and selling experience with fashion via the first blockchain-enabled fashion line.
Sandu, a design philosopher, is the creator of The Wearable Internet, shifting the paradigm and reimagining the channel for products and fashion interacting between the digital and physical worlds. “Whereas companies such as Meta and Oculus are designing headsets to put you in a virtual world. We [Spatial Labs] are saying, ‘how can we take the power of the blockchain to enhance the physical products that you have in the real world, but would still allow you to convert that to the virtual world?’,” Sandu explains.
Selling out in a few days the LNQ and the Gen One Hardwear collection caught the attention of celebrity fashionistas, streetwear enthusiasts, and tech consumers. Each item at the LNQ Marketplace uses an embedded code with LNQ’s groundbreaking blockchain-enabled LNQ One Microchip. The embedded microchip then provides each buyer and seller authentication and complete transparency of product lifecycles.
Based in Los Angeles, California, the digital architect, Sandu, was born in Accra, Ghana, and raised in Compton, California. Sandu reminisces, “I grew up in Compton, from Ghana. My mom raised me as a single parent with nothing. I had a library that I went to for two years to learn how to program. I took that information, combining it with my understanding of hip-hop, fashion, and culture, and it gave me an insane amount of ability to think unlike anybody else in tech. I want to give that gift, privileged, and responsibility to the next generation.”
His interest in technology would initially catch the attention of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The two minds would team up to create the first smart-retail store experience, which laid the foundation for Spatial Labs or sLabs, to which JayZ has attached his likeness as a prominent investor in the company.
Sandu explains, “People ask ‘why fashion?’ I grew up on hip-hop – the freshest tech person in the room. Some of my friends have gone on to change the fashion space, like, Jerry Lorenzo. He created Essentials. And with Essentials, it’s impossible not to look cool. I think I’ve always been a fashion-forward person. My goal is not to be the creative director of Louis Vuitton or Balenciaga, my goal is to build infrastructure that can power fashion, to build the next Apple for this generation.”
“I’m 25 – considered Gen Z. The majority of the technology created was made by people older than me, for me to consume, but never contribute to. [They] are from the previous generation, and my generation hasn’t contributed to producing technology as much as we consume technology.”
LNQ Marketplace redefines how we can buy, own, and sell in the physical and digital worlds. There are also the engaging qualities of the platform, with a one size fits all model. LNQ offers custom-developed Pantone colors for consumers to get the exact hues of their liking, while LNQ acts as a gateway to the Metaverse when scanned with an iPhone. A first of its kind in the industry, each scanned item allows wearers to attend in-real-life and virtual events, with accessible social media profiles, Discords, and Spotify playlists, for example.
Following up on the LNQ’s Gen One Hardwear apparel launch in May at the first Spatial Labs Keynote event, the hero items of the novel LNQ Marketplace collection include the double-lined Gen One Sweater designed in partnership with color authority Pantone and available in six custom colors, the Cloud Gen One Clog, and an exclusive 1-of-1 smart-t-shirt.
“LNQ is built on the idea of creating real-world utility and creating products that provide a fully immersive experience,” says the sLabs founder, Iddris Sandu. “We were thrilled with the consumer response to our first Gen One Hardwear drop, and with the launch of the LNQ Marketplace, we are excited to give our community a decentralized space to connect further and bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds.”
Industries have been developing ideas around new ways to purchase items, whether fashion for yourself or your home, using 3D design and artificial intelligence, and finding avenues in Web3 to engage a growing consumer base. Items purchased can be worn in the real world but are embedded with blockchain-enabled technology, as the LNQ One Microchip enables consumers.
Sandu notes, “a universal law that I like to apply to everything is a game of iteration and efficiency. Education needs to be broken down for a new generation. The tools that are given are way too slow. We have the ability to google something and no longer have to sit in libraries and go thru 40 pages for a piece of information. But the education system has not embraced that.”
Similar to companies like W3AR, for example, which is a new web3-native platform for premium physical and digital apparel creation, LNQ Marketplace uses web3-native qualities to transport users to the Metaverse and access exclusive products one can own. The blockchain backing gives every item on the LNQ Marketplace a possibility for ownership through purchase history in the digital and physical worlds.
Considerably an unprecedented level of utility, traceability, and innovation, the future of e-commerce and the secondary marketplace will potentially open up web-3 and metaverse avenues for the average consumer. Sandu has an innate sense to find solutions that simplify learning curves. He describes his fashion sense to his tech aesthetic, “essentialism – I feel like – is my style. ‘Isms’ can put you in a box, but I think essentialism is the most coherent form because it means that I desire to live a life that is simplified.”
“You shouldn’t have to charge your clothes – that’s what I don’t like about the Apple watch. I have to charge it every day. You never have to charge the [LNQ Marketplace collection embedded chips]. It lasts your whole life.”
The LNQ Marketplace is available on desktop and mobile, making it accessible to tech users. Items like The Gen One Sweater ($499) are reversible and have hidden pockets, creating an all-utility crewneck sweater. The Cloud Gen One Clog ($250), designed in collaboration with sustainable footwear and foot-tech brand Ales Grey, is made in Italy. There is also the Orbs by Spatial Labs ($150), new Smart T-shirts that offer real-world access to sLabs events, all made from 100% recycled materials, made in the USA except for the clogs.
“With the technology that we are building, we are going to contribute to the highest learning curve and adaptability of a new generation. The same thing that TikTok understood is if you can consolidate and convince people to create introductions into topics in 15 seconds or less, you save 6 months of college to say you don’t like ‘this’ course. If you can minimize how long it takes to get access to quality information. You can program and de-program a new generation to understand things differently.”
LNQ’s ecosystem of blockchain-enabled ‘Orbs by Spatial Labs’ t-shirts is an exclusive drop offering of 1-of-1 collectibles. Each Orb corresponds to a garment with an identical, custom-designed Orb displayed on the front. Scanning of the Orb initiates an AR experience unique to their specific Orb, operating like the Gen One Hardwear drop. The purpose of decentralized fashion leans into the idea of new luxury and acts as a receipt for the next generation of streetwear consumers. LNQ Marketplace is harboring essential tech ahead of the curve and exploring ways to educate and empower a new generation of consumers.