by Anabella Pacheco. Cover Image: Isabelle Boemeke in Nuclear Power Dress. Courtesy: DRESSX.
DRESSX is an international multi-brand retailer that exclusively carries digital clothing; it is a “Meta closet” of digital-only clothes that customers can wear using AR. When a customer buys a dress, they must attach a photo they want that piece of clothing to be tailored to; after a few days, they will receive the same picture of them wearing the purchased garments.
Digital fashion is the newest frontier to be conquered by the fashion world. However, the world of digital clothing remains a big unknown for most people, and the benefits this innovation can bring are still unclear to some.
I’M Firenze Digest got the opportunity to talk to executives from DRESSX, Natalia Modenova and Daria Shapovalova, cofounders of the company, to clear up some doubts about digital fashion and their views on competitions like the one they held for Istituto Marangoni Firenze students.
I’MF: How do you see the future of digital fashion?
NM: The transformation of traditional fashion into its Metaverse counterpart, which we call “Metafashion”, happened and continues to happen very naturally, supporting the overall change in how we live and explore the world around us. Digital assets were in place in gaming for a while. Still, the game is changing, and we have become “the avatars of ourselves” in multiple social media channels, messaging and streaming services. Digital fashion is designed to dress our digital selves. People from tech and gaming backgrounds get it fast, and a mass audience is starting to actively follow – a common pattern when innovative products are launched. Wearables are the most natural extension of the metaverse and the most critical pillar of the metaverse economy.
DS: We believe that, in the future, every fashion brand will own a digital fashion line. Same as high-fashion luxury brands with perfumes or accessories. With its difference from the physical items’ price point yet high precision, digital fashion will become a new way for customers to enter the high fashion world. They will discover a new way to shop luxury, reducing their environmental footprint and receiving the same sense of belonging and excitement from wearing designer pieces digitally.
I’MF: What do you think are the greatest benefits that digital fashion can contribute to our society?
DS: Coming from a 15-year background in the traditional fashion industry, we know that fashion needed this shift, signalling it with all its sustainability, diversity, and accessibility issues. Barclays Bank research has shown that 9% of customers in some developed countries only buy new clothes to take a picture for their social media, only to return them later. While we genuinely share the beauty and excitement that physical fashion creates, we believe that technology can become a solution to producing less, enhancing creativity, and solving the numerous problems that traditional fashion has been facilitating over the years. Our big aim is to provide an endless digital closet to every person in the world for their digital presence with no boundaries to express themselves creatively. Same with the creators – 3D and fashion designers, we want to empower talents and provide them with a safe place to create and grow professionally.
NM: We built DRESSX as a “Metacloset” – an ultimate destination for both consumers and digital and traditional fashion brands to enter the Metaverse. DRESSX not only sells virtual clothing but also offers the whole spectrum of services, from digitising physical collections or creating digital clothes from scratch to adding another layer (utility) to fashion NFTs, allowing collectors to wear those in augmented reality through the DRESSX app, in Roblox, Decentraland or other virtual realities.
There are already numerous Digital Fashion Weeks emerging in the Metaverse to address the new trends and ways of self-expression. We expect only more of them to appear in the next couple of years, reflecting the overall growth and development of the digital fashion industry.
I’MF: What is the impact of these contests on digital fashion development, especially for Fashion Design students?
DS: Digital fashion expands beyond the limitations of the traditional fashion industry, opening an endless room for self-exploration and creative expression for both digital fashion creators and consumers. By engaging in these contests and providing young and prospective students with an opportunity to sell their items at dressx.com, we encourage the growth of a new generation that will eventually make a huge impact on the whole industry and its problematic issues by absorbing the knowledge and standards we endorse at DRESSX: innovation, responsible consumption, and production, sustainability.
NM: Metafashion creates an excellent opportunity for the industry to get to the next level, open new opportunities, develop new markets, and enter a digital creative economy.
I’MF: What did you look for in the projects that were submitted to the contest? What sets students apart?
NM: With DRESSX, we aim to give equal opportunities for creators all around the globe to showcase their designs and make their creative voices heard in the industry. While we have our vision for digital fashion, with more complicated and bold 3D assets exceeding the boundaries of physical reality, we are trying to keep a fair balance by featuring different styles and aesthetics, celebrating creativity and building a diverse community of future fashion creators.
DS: When checking the submissions, we were looking for creative ideas and the ability to think outside the box and utilize the endless possibilities of digital tools for fashion creation. Knowing what performs best on DRESSX, we considered the future digital dressing processes and how easy or versatile the designs would be for the DRESSX users when wearing them in their photos in the Metaverse.
Natalia Modenova and Daria Shapovalova are the cofounders of DRESSX.
Anabella C. Pacheco is a Fashion Business and Digital Marketing student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.