Like many other parts of society, fashion is moving online, and quickly. The news that luxury fashion brand Karl Largerfield was releasing a collection of 777 NFT’s for the price of €77 each came as little surprise to the retail world.
Fashion is quickly become digitalised in a number of ways which may seem confusing to traditionalists. Phrases like “non-fungible tokens” and “gamification” are increasingly being thrown around the meeting rooms of some of fashion’s largest brands.
Both phrases relate two of the hottest topics in digital fashion at the moment, with a number of brands releasing a number of NFT collections in order to hop onto the craze early, including Louis Vuitton.
Fashion games are also catching the eyes of both consumers and retailers alike. Fashion house Balenciaga recently announced a collaboration with Epic Games’ Fortnite and many other retailers are finding similar ways to integrate the two markets.
One app, created by digital fashion pioneer and ex-Net-a-Porter magazine editor Lucy Yeomans, encompasses this phenomenon in a one-of-a-kind platform whereby fashion and gaming come together.
The app, coined Drest, is a fashion styling app which uses the latest products from popular designer labels like Cartier and Gucci letting users style them in-app to their taste.
“I think what fashion does brilliantly is tell stories,” Yeomans told Charged.
“I think that the digital world has opened up a number of new different ways not only for the brands themselves to do their story telling in a new, innovative way, but also to allow their audiences to participate in that story telling.”
Drest gives users the chance to dress and style avatars with a plethora of items including shoes, bags, hairstyles and jewellery.
Users go on a journey which reflects the one they would go on if they were to work as a stylist in real life, starting out with limited access to items and locations, building them up the further they progress through the game.
Drest also maintains a partnership with ecommerce platform Farfetch, which is accessible through shoppable links in-app.
The app also contains a news feed which is connected to real world events which users can undertake challenges from, and are written by the platform’s fashion editors to remain authentic.
Players have access to brand new collections which they must use in their styling challenges, this gives brands the opportunity to showcase certain items.
Yeomans hopes that this feature will lead to more conversions from in-game.
“For example, when we did our first partnership with Cartier, 74 per cent of our players wanted to know more about Cartier afterwards,” she said.
“Over 50 per cent of them said if I’m going to make a jewellery purchase in the future, its much more likely that it’s going to be from Cartier now.”
The pandemic accelerated a new wave of mobile gamers in the west, while conventional shopping was virtually impossible, online shopping became the norm.
Yeomans managed to tap into a new, growing demographic of mobile gamers to market her app to during this period.
“So in gaming, you’ve got this incredible audience and since gaming moved on to mobile, its totally revolutionised, as I say, the profile of the gamer,” she said.
“I was excited about this because of the audience. And interestingly, we find that the, you know, the fashion audiences a massive audience, the gaming audience has a big audience, we’re excited about the overlap.”
Yeomans believes that the bringing fashion and gaming together means that users are engaged for longer.
“We’ve created this environment where AI allows people to be creative and get close to the brand.
“The average time that someone spends on a challenge [in game] is six minutes and they they play six challenges a day.
“So that’s more than I would have hoped for on a content site to get that regular daily engagement.”
Why do we need this new digital dimension to fashion? Yeomans believes that brands must do more to engage their audiences and thinks that gaming one of the best ways to do so.
“I think that any brand today wants to be where the most engaged and happy audience is, and that was what gaming for me did.”
Normally games are targeted at Gen-Z and people who have got the most time on their hands, however Yeomans claims that Drest pulls in a slightly older audience.
“We’ve got a really interesting spread of ages, but 35 is the magic number at the moment.
Different cohorts behave in different ways, which we are still getting our heads around, but 35 year-old females seems to be our sweet spot at the moment.”
As the industry further catches the limelight, Yeomans predicts that brand collaborations will be a big part of the future of digital fashion.
“We see the power already, we’ve scratched the surface of the power of ours as this very exciting global marketing platform, both for brands and the talent involved” she said.