It was one of 21 brands shortlisted for the LVMH Innovation Award 2022, but what exactly is DressX?
In essence, DressX is the world’s largest retailer of digital fashion. Ukrainian founders Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova describe it as a ‘meta closet’ – a name they branded six months ago with ‘meta closet’.
The original idea included fashion-driven fashion pop-ups on social media in Los Angeles in 2019. “People paid for the dates they could come to and create content with the clothes on offer, instead of buying them. But then Covid started, ”says Modenova. “So we thought about how to give them that experience without visiting the store?”
““After the pandemic, we realized that fashion and retail would never be the same again, and we began to understand the true value of digital clothing,” says Shapovalova.
DressX was born in 2020 and sells digital looks tailored to photos submitted by users. These days it has expanded and offered augmented reality and an NFT look that can be ‘worn’ and shared on social media channels.
It sells only digital pieces both from its own home and from brand partners such as Printemps, American Eagle, Iris van Herpen and Dundas. The latest addition is Berkska, which was launched this week.
Earlier this year, DressX teamed up with the Roblox board game platform for avatar clothing, created wearable devices for Decentraland and launched a digital collection with French retailer Printemps along with physical pop-up selling digital fashion at Paris’ main retail chain. returning the full circle to its LA pop-up origins.
Wider projects include partnering with fashion media company L’Officiel on digital combinations of archival-looking L’Officiel – to be unveiled in September on The Sandbox metaverse – and a pre-order campaign with Farfetch 2021 featuring pieces from brands such as Off White, Nanushka, Balenciaga and Palm Angels sold models and influencers who wore digitized versions of their physical appearance.
To date, DressX has provided $ 3.3 million in initial rounds of financing with investors including the Artemis Fund and the Western NIS Enterprise Fund U.Ventures (WNISEF).
“We are now preparing to partner with other board game platforms that allow Ready Player Me avatars (transferable between different related metaverses) to wear clothes from our digital library,” Modenova says.
“People don’t just come to play, they hang out there just like on social networks. The metaverse is the 3D evolution of social media “, adds Shapovalova.
Non-disclosure agreements are currently in place, but the news will be released in July.
The afternoon before the Innovation Award ceremony, Shapovalova and Modenova took time away from Viva Tech and sat down with me in Paris to talk about how the turbo metaverse filled their business, why physical brands need digital fashion and their ambition to be Google Cloud digital wearables.
How has talking about the metaverse driven your business?
Natalia Modenova: When we started, we contacted every brand and retailer, but even though they listened to us, they said they had to think about it. But when Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook Meta in October last year, people realized that digital experiences also fall under the definition of the metaverse. It was a great incentive for them to come back to us.
Darija Shapovalova: The metaverse is the 3D evolution of social media. Investors are now telling us that DressX was their biggest failure, and brands say they would like to have started a partnership with us a year ago. For example, a pop-up with Printemps gave us the opportunity to do the first physical store in the world that sells digital fashion.
SUSTAINABILITY, INNOVATION AND CUSTOMER ATTRACTION
How does digital fashion add value to physical brands?
Modenova: First by doing something more sustainable because fashion already understands that this is a problem. Digital fashion pollutes 97% less than physical fashion. It also does not use water or chemicals. For the Farfetch campaign, we helped to facilitate the physical process, but also demonstrated the value of digital assets. Instead of sending hundreds of samples around the world, we gave digitized layouts to influencers who created their own content and sent pictures.
Second through innovation. If you look back, you can see how some brands have successfully adopted e-commerce, while some have not. So now is the time to learn lessons from the past and open up the digital economy.
Shapovalova: Digital fashion is a complement to existing physical reality. It allows brands to talk to new audiences and gain new customers. The average age of Roblox users is between 13 and 22 – people who are just beginning to experience luxury brands. So I can experience them for the first time on Roblox via digital fashion. People don’t just come to play, but they hang out there as well as on social networks. We believe that digital clothing will become a category for every fashion brand in the same way as beauty. For example, every luxury brand has a cosmetic line that is often the entry point.
THE FUTURE OF CLOUD-BASED DIGITAL FASHION
What are your ambitions for DressX as it evolves?
Shapovalova: Our ambition is to be Google for your digital wardrobe. A cloud where you can store all your items. DressX allows you to take your wardrobe with you wherever you go.
Modenova: If you accept a media call, you will be able to access your cloud clothing via the app on your phone. It will not matter whether your digital item is NFT or not in the same way as you can have luxury and mass items on the same shelf.
Shapovalova: We have been telling our investors from the very beginning that our goal is to sell a billion digital fashion items. So, if each person owns an average of 30 digital pieces, that means powering the meta closet for 200 million people.
This conversation has been edited and summarized for clarity.
Шаповалова she began her career as the host of a fashion show for Ukrainian TV. She traveled to the International Fashion Weeks where she met Modenova. The duo launched Fashion Week for Ukraine, which has become the largest in Eastern Europe. After the (first) war with Russia started in 2013, they opened the More Dash exhibition space in Paris, which introduced brands to the market, such as the Ukrainian brand Anna October. In 2018, they moved to California with the idea of combining fashion with experience.