L.A.-based digital fashion start-up DressX has launched an app to make it easier for customers to try and buy 3D digital clothing from its designer marketplace.
The multibrand retailer has also revealed an additional round of funding, led by The Artemis Fund and Alpha Edison, securing $2 million to invest in technology, marketing and partnerships. This is the company’s fourth raise.
“The main goal is to turn thousands of users to hundreds of millions,” cofounder Natalia Modenova told WWD.
Launched in August 2020, DressX claims to be the biggest retail platform for digital-only clothes, featuring more than 1,000 stock keeping units by 100 designers including Patrick McDowell, Gary James McQueen, the Fabricant and Paskal, as well as DressX private label pieces such as sweatshirts and blazers with galactic artwork inspired by SpaceX and NASA.
The new app, available now in its beta version in the App Store, lets shoppers use their camera phones to try for free in real time AR looks like a DressX logo floral bucket hat ($1) and a Clara Daguin-designed couture crinoline gown embroidered with glass beads and interactive LED constellation lights ($110).
As on the website, purchased digital looks can be custom fitted by DressX engineers to a digital photo in 24 hours. DressX also offers a subscription model.
Cofounders Modenova and Daria Shapovalova came to L.A. with 15 years of experience running fashion showrooms and events in Europe.
“We see a huge advantage being in the middle of the tech industry in California,” said Shapovalova, Zooming in from a WeWork. “We’re not creating hardware products, but for AR, this is a good hub because Snapchat is based here and so many celebrities are, too.”
Since DressX started outreach in March 2020, more 3D designers have joined the platform, though none with the name recognition of a Ralph Lauren or Michael Kors, for example — at least not yet. “We’ve also been talking to more traditional fashion brands, because we feel all brands will eventually have a new category of screen wear. That’s why we built this app,” said Modenova, adding that digital fashion will evolve beyond the fantasy and fairytale aesthetic that currently dominates.
DressX clients are looking for both affordability and luxury, the founders said, adding that exclusivity also drives purchasing of digital fashion. A one-of-a-kind dress from its NASA-inspired collection sold for $3,800, while the same dress in a different color but with unlimited availability sold for $35. The client base is 60/40 women to men, and mostly Millennial.
To be sure, digital-only goods are a burgeoning industry, between e-sports and gaming skins designed by Louis Vuitton, Moschino and more, to recent fashion players in the NFT game including Gucci, Burberry, Ben Sherman and Nick Graham. Marketplaces such as DressX, The Dematerialised, and 3DRobe have emerged to cater to customers who want to buy into the novelty of the digital wearable medium, and the sustainability angle.
DressX also offers several value-added opportunities for designer partners. For example, the founders have worked with Lunya activewear and Buffalo London footwear on marketing campaigns, creating digital clothing for influencers. “Instead of sending samples to 100 influencers, producing the samples, paying for delivery, not to mention the carbon footprint, the brands provided photos of influencers that we dressed digitally,” explained Shapovalova.
In April, DressX worked with designer Gary James McQueen, nephew of the late Alexander McQueen, to bring his “Guiding Light” runway collection to life digitally and to buy in real time on DressX.com, and the DressX virtual store in the Metajuku district of Decentraland, a 3D virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain.
“We don’t want to conquer physical fashion brands, we want to show them how we can help and how to monetize for the digital universe,” said Shapovalova, adding that DressX will be unveiling more partnerships with blockchain companies in the future.
“We want to make fashion affordable, inclusive and available to everyone,” she said, predicting that digital fashion will one day be a $1 billion industry. “You can wear one outfit on Google Meet, in a TikTok video, and in gaming — we just need to create that link and DressX is here to navigate how the fashion of future will look in all kinds of multiverses.”