‘Yellow Trip Road’ Experience Offers NFTs, Mental Health Guidance

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  • Soo Joo Park
    South Korean model

LONDON — Simon Whitehouse, the fashion executive and founder of a creative collective called EBIT, will on Wednesday unveil a digital and NFT project that’s close to his heart, and his head.

Called “Yellow Trip Road,” it’s a gaming-style journey that’s meant to help users tune into the mental health challenges that many will face as they move through life.

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Designed as an immersive extended reality experience, it asks viewers to follow a yellow brick road through bright and lovely landscapes, and bleak and deserted ones, too.

After winding through the surreal landscapes, the road leads into outer space where everything appears to be detached, senseless and out of reach. The journey eventually improves, ending with a blue ocean and sky.

The virtual trip is meant to engender empathy and offer “a metaphor for those suffering from mental health issues,” Whitehouse told WWD.

EBIT stands for Enjoy Being in Transition, and Whitehouse said he wants to tap into the creativity of designers, musicians and artists and provoke conversations around mental health.

In accounting lingo, EBIT stands for earnings before interest and taxes, but Whitehouse wanted to subvert that meaning and build a thriving business that does not rely on “extreme capitalism.” He said he wants the collective to put “purpose before profit.”

Whitehouse said he created EBIT in “explicit homage” to the legacy of Factory Records. “There is artistic freedom, no limitations — and that breeds creativity.”

One of the “Bumper Jumpers” on sale as part of the “Yellow Trip Road” experience.
One of the “Bumper Jumpers” on sale as part of the “Yellow Trip Road” experience.

Until now, EBIT has been working on under-the-radar culture and music projects, all of which focused on addressing mental health issues. Collaborators so far have included M/M (Paris), Glen Luchford, Michel Gaubert, Soo Joo Park, DJ John Digweed and Wilson Oryema.

Yellow Trip Road marks EBIT’s first foray into the digital world, and NFT merchandise.

It will offer 300 limited-edition “Bumper Jumpers,” or NFT sweatshirts, which Whitehouse describes as “a symbol of safety as we evolve through this tricky new world.”

There are three different styles, and they’ll be available to purchase via The Dematerialised, a market for digital fashion and NFTs on the Lukso blockchain.

The sweatshirts cost 150 euros each, and come with a variety of file versions to enhance utility in the physical world and online. They include a 3D Bumper Jumper; a game engine optimized one; an exclusive 2D piece of digital art from the Yellow Trip Road, and an AR experience.

Some 10 percent of all sales will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Early next year, people will be able to purchase physical Bumper Jumpers as well. Made in Italy, they’ll be sold through local dealers “on the streets of Paris and New York,” rather than through e-commerce. Whitehouse said he envisions buyers contacting vendors via SMS or DM, and meeting in person to make the transaction.

Whitehouse said the audience for the digital experience, and the products, is “anybody interested in street fashion, the metaverse, and what’s coming next. This project does not follow the regular retail path.”

The Yellow Trip Road experience was created by the Los Angeles-based AnamXR, a cloud-based platform that develops virtual worlds. AnamXR launched in December 2020, and since then has partnered with companies including Farfetch and Burberry.

EBIT also worked with the designer Dominic Laurelli and with Soo Joo Park, the model and singer, on the jumpers and creative aspects of the journey. Johnny Jewel of the Italians Do It Better record label created a “multisensory experience” and audio backdrop.

Yellow Trip Road will open on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. CET on yellowtriproad.com, and be available until Dec. 15.

EBIT is Whitehouse’s personal business, and a passion project. Earlier this year, he was named chief executive officer of Eco-Age, the consultancy, marketing and communications firm that looks to promote sustainability and the circular economy.

Whitehouse was previously CEO of the creative agency Art Partner. Prior to that, he held the same role at JW Anderson from 2014 to the end of 2017.

He has also worked with labels including Matthew Williamson, Diesel Black Gold and DKNY. Whitehouse was global sales and brand director of Diesel Black Gold for three years, and global commercial director of Matthew Williamson for two years.

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