LONDON — Drest’s fleet of online fashion stylists will now be able to experiment with some of the most exclusive fine jewelry and watches.
On Tuesday, the fashion gaming app will introduce a new fine jewelry and watch mode, and has joined with Cartier to mark the launch. Cartier has created an exclusive virtual styling challenge that highlights its Clash range.
The new mode will offer gamers the opportunity to style jewelry and watches on a new set of close-up, portrait shots of the game’s 2D hyper-realistic model avatars. In other words, they’ll get to act like jewelry editors and navigate the styling of a shoot — minus the real-life set and security checks.
As part of the Cartier launch, gamers will receive a styling brief, be able to read about the Clash collection, and can style their avatar with baubles. The new mode allows gamers to stack several bracelets and rings together, pick fashion items to match, and create a background using parts of Cartier’s campaign imagery with Lily Collins.
At the end, they’ll submit their finished looks, receive a score and a virtual jewelry gift packaged inside a signature red Cartier box to keep in their Drest collections.
For Lucy Yeomans, the real opportunity of the exercise — which she describes as “finishing school, but for fashion” — is to open up the world of fine jewelry to a broader audience that’s eager to learn more and discover the jewelry up close.
“As an editor, I’ve worked with Cartier many times throughout my career, but how often do we actually get the opportunity to try on a ring or try on a bracelet? Even the most confident shopper walking into the Cartier store, or any fine jewelry store, might not have the opportunity to try everything on. So what we thought was that we can actually revolutionize the discovery around jewelry,” said Yeomans, who edited Porter and Harper’s Bazaar magazines before founding Drest.
Since then she has lured fashion brands including Gucci, Christian Louboutin, and Oscar de la Renta into the world of gaming — and now she is turning her attention to fine jewelry and watches.
After a two-week exclusive, where Cartier will be the only fine jewelry brand featured on the app, more brand partnerships are set to follow. Later this year, Drest will also introduce fashion jewelry brands.
“The premise of Drest was very much to open up the world of luxury to a much broader, fashion-loving audience. For me fine jewelry and watches have always been that pinnacle of luxury,” said Yeomans, adding that there was a real demand from the app’s stylish gamers to make jewelry more readily available.
Through a previous partnership with Cartier, Drest gamers where able to add the brand’s jewelry onto their mood boards, but not their avatars. The exposure to the brand resulted in more than 70 percent of players searching the label on Google to find out out more, and more than 50 percent saying that they wanted to go on to buy something from Cartier.
“There’s this real appetite to understand the storytelling around jewelry as well as around fashion,” Yeomans added.
Creating the new mode involved challenges from a tech perspective, including developing new, close-up shots of the avatars; different kinds of poses ideal for showing off the jewelry; new features that enable players to stack different pieces, and recreating certain bracelets’ reversible features for the virtual world.
Using technology this way creates an array of opportunities for brands to create a bespoke experience: Drest can turn the models from their campaigns into avatars, they can create styling challenges featuring specific pieces they wish to promote, or present the jewelry next to all the high-fashion labels on the app.
“We really talk to the brands about their commercial and strategic goals and work with each in such a bespoke way. It’s not just picking up the latest ad campaign and putting in your book. It’s a very different, very creative experience and I think they all really enjoy it,” said Yeomans, adding that with the pandemic accelerating digital trends, there’s a lot more openness to the world of gaming and all things virtual.
“We’ve seen an accelerated change in thinking, a change in approach about how brands reach audiences. And what we want to do is respect the luxury codes and create a safe space for brands to experiment within. You’re giving the player agency, but you’re also controlling the environment in which they have the agency,” Yeomans said.
She added that players can spend up to eight minutes on a brand’s styling challenge, and more than 80 percent of them watch the branded videos on the app through to the end. All of that leads to high engagement rates, increased brand awareness, and plenty of storytelling opportunities.
“With luxury brands there can be a barrier, it could be a price barrier, it could be the glass window, the security guards on the door. On Drest, we invite everybody in and allow a new, broader audience to understand the beauty of a brand, its storytelling and product. For me, it’s very much a communication platform,” Yeomans said.
Next up for the company is the launch of a beauty mode, with Gucci Beauty as the exclusive partner for the launch which is slated for Oct. 1.