Two digital entrepreneurs are giving new meaning to occasion dressing, offering myriad wardrobe choices for special moments in the real — and virtual — worlds.
The cofounders of DressX, Natalia Modenova and Daria Shapovalova, believe that demand for digital clothing, accessories and jewelry is poised for explosive growth, with the digital fashion market set to be worth $10 billion in the next five years.
DressX wants to offer an “infinite digital closet” with items for people to wear on their social feeds or video calls, and to dress their online avatars. As they talked expansion plans, sustainability and the future of NFTs in digital fashion, Modenova and Shapovalova also modeled some of the merchandise currently for sale on the site.
During the Q&A with WWD executive editor Booth Moore, Modenova wore a sparkly, bejeweled headdress that made her look like an ancient Egyptian queen, while Shapovalova donned a mint green bucket hat with purple flowers that blossomed — and then disappeared — every few seconds.
In addition to offering digital merchandise on the DressX site, the two have collaborated with Farfetch on an influencer campaign with the talent dressed in digital fashion. The cofounders also alluded to a project with Farfetch and Burberry that will drop in the coming days.
They talked with ease about taking fashion collections, and turning them into content.
“We’ve built a bridge between fashion and the metaverse, and we think that growth in the sector can go beyond $10 billion,” said Shapovalova, who also believes that brands will soon have “digital fashion categories” on their websites. “It’s a question of perception, and time.”
The cofounders, both of whom are from Ukraine, have a background in fashion: They were both involved in the Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days showcase and ran a Paris showroom that represented Ukrainian designers. Modenova said the experience of running that showroom led them to found DressX.
“We saw how much effort, work, production and marketing went into selling the collections, and we were also able to gather data. It made us think about ways to consume more sustainably,” she said. Indeed, the motto on the brand’s website is “Don’t shop less, shop digital fashion.”
They launched DressX a year ago, and have just released a mobile app. The next step is NFTs, which the cofounders said will be crucial to preserving the value of digital pieces, and allow them to be bought and sold on the secondary market.
Among the duo’s upcoming plans is to open an NFT marketplace for digital fashion.
The cofounders said they are already working with designers who want to do limited runs of “couture” items and NFT technology offers proof of ownership for those who want to buy and trade.
Modenova believes that digital wardrobe items are attractive for myriad reasons: They’re inherently sustainable as they don’t need to be sampled, manufactured, packaged or mailed by post. They also offer instant gratification to the wearer (no waiting around for the delivery truck to arrive) and can be personalized, customized. Plus, they never, ever wear out.
Clients at DressX are 55 percent female and 45 percent male. Modenova described them as “tech and blockchain-savvy early adopters. They also care about their digital persona.” The average order value on the site is $55, a figure that has grown steadily since launch.
The cofounders added that Millennials, Gen Z and Generation Alpha will make up the bulk of their customer base, and that the future will be about buying digital — and physical — iterations of a garment.