Self-described “metafashion retailer” DressX and Italian lifestyle and fashion brand Diesel are bringing jeans to the virtual people.
In a new collaboration, the duo are channeling signature Diesel aesthetics and the fashion company’s latest styles for an exclusive collection landing in the Meta Avatars Store. Instead of bending to fantastical designs, the partners chose to hew more to product reality. The lineup features 10 looks mirroring physical Diesel products, as rendered in digital form by DressX, so fans can dress their avatars in virtual versions of Diesel’s denim jackets, jeans, contemporary streetwear and sneakers, and showcase them on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and Quest VR.
The first drop offers five looks by DressX x Diesel, with plans to launch another some time in the coming weeks.
The collaboration marks a first for the brand, as it wades into Meta’s store with its own digital denim, but Diesel is no stranger to digital goods having racked up various NFT projects to date. In addition, parent company OTB Group has been a major proponent of the fashion metaverse, even setting up a dedicated company called BVX, or Brave Virtual Xperience, two years ago to advance its virtual initiatives.
In June, Stefano Rosso, OTB Group board member, chairman of Maison Margiela and chief executive officer of BVX, told WWD at its annual Tech Symposium that the metaverse is still a major opportunity that can reinvent customer engagement.
“The Web3 crowd is still niche-y and it doesn’t necessarily know all of the luxury market, so for us it’s a great opportunity to talk and interact with consumers that may not know our brands,” Rosso said at the time.
The new Meta avatar collection looks like another step in his plan. “This collaboration with DressX represents an exciting chapter for Diesel and remarks its commitment to engaging technology with fashion,” he said in a statement. “We are thrilled to see Diesel’s timeless pieces reimagined in the digital realm, empowering users to express their individuality in unique and unprecedented ways.”
According to the statement, the companies “worked meticulously to ensure that every garment in the collection captures the essence of Diesel’s fashion identity,” with attention to detail extending from the distinct denim textures to the brand’s hallmark silhouettes.
Beyond the brand itself, the work seems to fit neatly into “the growing trend of digital expression,” as the statement phrased it. That may be a minor mention, but as a broader concept, this is more important than it seems. Digital identity has become a growing fascination for brands, tech-makers and others — even metaverse naysayers acknowledge that, regardless of whether the internet morphs into a massively connected virtual world or not, this concept will only grow to become more important, not less. It’s even happening at a municipal level in the real world, most recently in California, where last week the state adopted digital driver’s licenses.
The lines seem to be blurring between the real and virtual worlds, and that puts digital goods in uncharted territory. What’s obvious, however, is that even though the speculators and headlines may have moved on, at least from the “metaverse” buzzword, others — such as longer-term investors, tech platforms, brands, gamers and other consumers — haven’t. They continue to throw momentum behind avatar development, wearables and the like, and that matters for fashion, which tends to be a direct expression of identity in every realm.
Consider the trajectory of the global digital avatar market: According to Polaris Market Research’s latest analysis in August, the sector, already a $12.89 billion market as of last year, is expected to reach $506.46 billion by 2032, with a compound annual growth rate of roughly 44.4 percent expected between now and then.
DressX founders Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova, honorees in WWD x FN x Beauty Inc’s Women in Power 2022, put it this way: This collection is “a testament to our commitment to bringing the most renowned fashion brands to the metaverse and giving a world-class experience to the digitally native customers developing avatar-commerce.”