Today’s understanding of outlet clothing is very different from its definition 10 years ago. The minute you wear clothes online, they lose their unique value and become obsolete offline. A logic question occurs – if you didn’t take a photo with your newest clothes, did you really wear them?
Unfortunately, huge fashion brands are realizing this and trying to compete with the times by producing new clothes every minute. DressX came up with a solution – clothes that exist only in the digital space. But why? Keep on reading.
DressX in a new brand for digital fashion. Yep, you’ve read that right. Their clothes exist only in the online space. The revolutionary brand focuses on important issues such as the Influencer culture and the waste of limited resources and materials.
About Natalia and Daria
Daria Shapovalova – founder of DressX, 15+ years of experience in fashion, famous for putting Ukraine on the world’s fashion map, featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe and BOF 500 Most Influential People lists.
Natalia Modenova – founder of DressX, 10+ years of experience in fashion, Women Google Digital Academy speaker, co-founded showroom in Paris and established the first Fashion Tech Conference in Ukraine alongside Daria.
When was DressX invented and how did you start your business?
Daria Shapovalova: Being based in California and closely communicating with companies in Silicon Valley, we explored opportunities in AR since 2019.
We did our research and discovered that 9% of customers in developed countries only buy new clothes to make pictures for their social media.
Although we genuinely share the beauty and excitement that physical fashion creates, we believe that there are ways to produce less, produce more ethically, or not produce at all. We decided to modernize the existing processes in the industry to all those who want to play with fashion, to have fun and have an easy solution to wear new clothes.
Quarantine activated DressX launch and once again proved that we are moving in the right direction.
Natalia Modenova: We launched a series of content driven pop-up stores in Los Angeles to test our idea and came to the conclusion that people enjoy creating fashion content for their social media presence.
So as a lot of fashion items are used only for the content creation, these clothes don’t need to be produced – they can only exist in digital.
It is important to understand, however, that fashion is a high paced industry with intensive consumption, which drives growth and development of the whole sector. We don’t want to stop the economy.
We don’t want people to shop less. With digital fashion consumption can keep growing (this behavioral pattern is likely to stay in fashion, where newness and uniqueness are the important factors), but the environmental cost of such consumption will be significantly reduced.
Digital fashion will be a crucial part of the creative economy and then – digital economy – inevitably.
What makes DressX unique?
DressX is the first and the biggest international digital fashion multi-brand retailer that carries digital fashion collections from the most well-known contemporary brands and 3D designers.
Every year, the fashion industry produces over 100 billion items of clothing worldwide, three out of five pieces ending up in landfills within the same 12 months. At DressX we find this number to be really concerning, and we believe that some clothes don’t need to be produced at all.
On our platform we only sell digital clothes – those which eliminate waste, reduce carbon footprint and the usage of chemicals during their production compared to traditional fashion. At a current stage of DressX development, we aim to show that
some clothes can exist only in their digital versions.
Natalia Modenova: In order to democratize fashion for the final consumer, DressX gives the clients an opportunity to digitally dress in the clothing they always wanted to wear and get instant verification from their followers on social media. Users choose digital items from various designers on the website, provide their photos to the DressX team, and in up to 24 hours they receive their DressXed assets with the digital clothes.
This is just the first step in building the digital wardrobes that we will all have soon.
We make the first step towards it with dressing up people on their images and the next step will be launched in DressX app this spring.
What’s important for us is to create a blueprint for the entire industry of what are the emissions in digital fashion clothing vs physical production, how to calculate those and how to understand the notion of sustainability in digital fashion.
We have a Chief Sustainability Officer in our team who is researching this matter, and we already published our first sustainability report with several others coming up this year once we have more data from our customers.
What technology tools do you use for the development of your clothing?
Natalia: At DressX we work with both 3D designers and traditional fashion designers, which is why the process of making digital garments differs by the occasion. For 3D designers we provide a unique platform to sell their ready digital garments, giving them an extra revenue stream and allowing them to securely explore the possibilities of digital fashion design.
While working with traditional fashion designers we often use pre-existing physical clothes and create their digital copies giving the designs a second life in a digital space. This process depends on the complexity of the item, its style and availability of the digital prints, which our tech team has to recreate.
This way we digitized the garments for Paskal, Sun Woo, Gasanova, Gyurin Na, Ksenia Schnaider and others.
Alternatively traditional designers can also produce their 3D collections themselves in-house and just submit their digitized items for sale at DressX. This way we worked, for example, with a famous Russian designer Alena Akhmadullina.
Daria: We also support local artists all over the world, digitizing their artworks and giving them a chance to express themselves through digital fashion, and collaborate with influencers whose missions align with a sustainability mission of ours. For example, recently we’ve launched a digital capsule collection with a nuclear power activist Isabelle Boemeke, who uses her platform to educate people on the clean sources of energy.
We open up the opportunities for creative communities from different backgrounds to express themselves using a new set of skills and a cutting-edge vision of fashion. What’s great is that creators from all over the world are joining the initiative.
What’s your bestseller and what are the prices?
Daria: We have several bestselling categories currently performing the best at DressX – digital couture pieces, lower-priced basic collections, and our in-house created art collections.
With digital couture pieces we give an opportunity to our customers to digitally wear garments that they would never wear in real life, such as a runway piece or a couture outfit.
The cost of such outfits can go up to thousands of dollars. And even speaking about ready-to-wear collections that we digitized, we have designers (for example LVMH-nominee designer Paskal) whose outfits usually cost around $700-900, while in digital you can wear the same dresses for less than $50.
Natalia: On the other hand, basic collections, which are priced significantly lower, can allow users to try their first digital outfit for less, getting a unique and innovative digital experience without spending too much money. And the art collections, including our recent cosmic-themed collections inspired by SpaceX and NASA, allow people to express themselves by showing their interest and supporting their favorite artists or topics by wearing the statement digital pieces on their pictures.
Fashion is a language and clothing is a media – so digital items of the wardrobe are the perfect media for users to convey the message, identify and express themselves.
What’s the biggest challenge for a such innovative company in “Digital Fashion”?
Natalia: Perhaps, the biggest challenge is that there are no examples, no “playbook” or instructions on how the digital fashion industry operates. Being one of the pioneers of the digital fashion movement we have to explore the field ourselves from scratch.
At the same time, this is also the most exciting challenge to create something completely new, which never existed in real life before, but only lived in our imagination.
What will be the future of fashion?
Daria: We see the future of fashion in its digitalization.
In 5-years period digitalization of fashion will definitely bring a lot of possibilities for making the industry more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.
Digitalization can be applied to all the stages of traditional clothing production, like, for example, moving all the fitting processes of the production samples into digital to avoid the unnecessary fabric waste, changing traditional influencer gifting practices to digital influencer dressing to eliminate carbon footprint from deliveries, and of course substituting some part of the clothes, and especially fast fashion, with digital garments to avoid overproduction, water, soil, and air pollution.
In the nearest future digital fashion will not be surprising as it is now and the experience will be seamless. And of course, sustainability will stop being treated as yet another marketing buzzword – in order to grow and succeed in the industry fashion brands will have to have sustainability in the core of their business models.
Is fashion going fully digital?
Natalia: Of course, we will still be wearing the material clothing, but there will be more and more use cases for digital fashion and more people will embrace the value of it. The experience of wearing digital clothing will be more seamless than it is today – our team is working hard to make it happen sooner, then later.
Also, speaking specifically about DressX, while preparing our recent sustainability report, we have found that production of a digital garment emits 97% less of CO2 than production of a physical garment. In addition, production of a digital garment, on average, saves 3300 liters of water per item, which is enough for one person to drink 2 liters per day for 3,5 years.
We assume that in 10 years the TAM for digital clothing will account for $10 billion which also equals to 1% of the fashion industry market. With just 1% displacement rate we will eliminate the annual carbon footprint of the fashion industry by 35 mln tons, which is equal to total carbon emission of Denmark in 2017. Thus, we can potentially save 5 trillion liters of water, equal to annual global consumption of fresh water for agriculture and domestic use.
Natalia: Only during the first month of 2021 we were able to:
- Launch a collaboration with the iconic Buffalo London footwear brand with their classic sneakers digitized by the pioneering digital fashion house The Fabricant and made available for the customers exclusively at DressX
- Digitize and launch the accessories collection of the cult A-list celebrity-endorsed brand Object & Dawn
- Become the biggest digital fashion platform with almost 800 digital looks currently available on DressX
- Get DressX digital looks appearing on the cover of the print fashion magazine L’Officiel Ukraine in partnership with the award-winning photographers duo Synchrodogs
- Secure a great new partnership that we will announce soon.
Daria: We have lots of ambitious plans for 2021 with the DressX app to be released in spring of this year, more exciting collaborations to be revealed soon and more amazing tech to be developed to support the growth of the digital fashion industry.
Stay tuned for more and don’t shop less – shop digital fashion.