David Cash: Hello everybody! Welcome back to NFTS.WTF! My name is David Cash, editor in chief. We’re joined today by two very special ladies, co-founders of DRESSX. Natalia and Daria. Thank you so much for joining us today. Such a pleasure. Welcome to Denver. We’re here in Denver, Colorado, for ETH Denver. You guys got in a couple of days ago. How has it been this week? What’s been exciting, or what are you excited about here in Denver?
Natalia: Well, we just got here from New York, where New York Fashion Week was happening. There were many things to do in terms of fashion, digital fashion and right after there, we are here at ETH Denver. That describes what we do pretty well. It’s jumping between the fashion week with designers and models to the conference with many developers. So we are merging these two worlds. That’s exactly what’s happening.
David Cash: Awesome! Daria, are you enjoying yourself here?
Daria: Yes! Here to meet new people! We arrived yesterday and we’re flying back tomorrow. Would love to stay longer, but definitely, for the next time, we’ll book more time here. It’s exciting to meet all of the people. That’s the most important part – the community.
David Cash: It’s interesting. This year, many more communities have collided with this event. Before, it was all DeFi people, all crypto people, but now NFTs, virtual fashion, and the metaverse. All of this has become so popular, and you see a shift this year in terms of what people are talking about because there are so many NFT people here. How has it been for you guys? Because obviously, you’ve been around since before this became so popular. How has it been seeing this popularity since Meta and NFTs? How has that been for you?
Natalia: Well, of course, the NFT craze and the rise of the market and when the market emerged, I would say in 2020-2021, it was a great time when people learned about it and got interested. Maybe it hasn’t translated into mass adoption yet. So many people entered the space, but still, it’s kind of a niche space, and there is still so much to do, and it’s very exciting that we already had this, like the speed of growth of interest and adoption. It’s amazing, and there is still so much to do in the space – that’s what we should do all together here.
Daria: And as we know, there are only 400,000 people who own an NFT on the planet, maybe a little bit more after the conference. So, we’re still at the start, and it’s so amazing to be at the beginning. But as you’ve mentioned, we’ve been in a digital fashion space as one of the first companies, and it felt really exciting when the entire world started to pay attention. And from the very beginning, we mentioned that digital fashion and digital assets would be your future. Then seeing everyone getting interested in it is amazing because if you understood that something would be trendy in the future, you should keep sharing that with people because that’s how it will continue to evolve, and that’s how everyone can be successful. And that’s the entire blockchain world, that it’s decentralized and shared with everyone, which is so exciting. So it’s the new world that is being built.
David Cash: Totally! And like the ethos that we’re creating is being perpetuated through all these different mediums. And I think it must be cool for you guys as well. You create fashion in all different mediums. Let’s maybe take a step back and give people more info about DressX just in case they don’t know. You create fashion, virtual fashion and all different mediums from off-chain AR filters and wearables, superimposing on photos, all the way to chain NFTs and really like tokenizing virtual fashion. Can you guys explain a little bit about how you started and maybe also how you got into the NFT space specifically since you guys are doing so much cool stuff now?
Natalia: Well, DressX is your meta closet, it is your wardrobe for the metaverse that you can wear. And for us, it was always about how you use your wardrobe, how you use your digital assets, and how you use your digital wearables. We understand that gaming has been around for a long time. It was not an NFTM, it was just a digital good without any blockchain element to it. That amazing part of this kind of whole ecosystem proves that digital assets matter and that they have utility. You can get superpowers or you can look in a certain way and like communicate that you belong to this alliance and not do that as a team. That’s a great part of this use case and another part is the communication aspect where people on social media can use fashion to communicate that they like a certain brand or they understand a certain trend – their physical clothes became just this language of communication. We saw a lot of influencers emerging from that space and we saw the disruption of retail fashion because people would buy something and then they would return it solely to communicate that, “okay, I get this trend, but the trends are evolving so fast that I cannot keep up and buying, buying and buying all this stuff.” It’s not reasonable. And that’s another part that is important here. Blockchain NFTs is something that gives you an opportunity to actually own your assets in a digital sense, not to have a game company own it, but you can own it, you can sell it, you can do whatever you want with it.
So merging those three, it’s your new meta closet. You made a wardrobe and we understand that the kind of adoption of web3 worlds and the metaverse is still quite low. But we want to give this digital wardrobe to every person in the world. That’s why we started from the utility for social media because the daily active users of social media are so much higher than any of the virtual worlds. And of course, games also have a high engagement, but it’s like a completely closed world. So merging those kinds of elements is something that we do address DressX, and we started from like, yes, we’re given an opportunity to wear digital fashion on your pictures and share it on social media. It’s actually very, very similar to PSP trends. We saw people buying these off-chain items, but they would buy their outfit and they would use it as a profile picture. And this is a use case that’s amazing. We didn’t want to launch a Fashion NFT, which is just a picture of a beautiful dress. You should be able to actually wear it. That’s the value of that
David Cash: Especially if you own it.
Natalia: Exactly! So that’s why kind of the next interface, besides the mobile app that we have where you can wear your digital fashion in augmented reality. So you can buy this NFT, and you can immediately wear it in your app. You don’t have to do any additional steps. The proof of ownership will be already there. So there’s a whole ecosystem connected to it.
David Cash: That’s cool!
Natalia: Yeah! Daria, maybe you had more?
Daria: Absolutely. That’s where we are right now and transitioning into this notion of the fashion world because we do understand that digital fashion will become a currency on a person on its own, which is an amazing transition because in fashion it was like a commonplace that everything that you own is kind of your status symbol. Right? And like a Birkin bag, it means something. You can trade it. And the same is happening in the digital fashion world. So that’s why especially with all the adoption of cryptocurrencies, digital fashion is becoming a currency on its own. As I mentioned, that’s an important transition. But actually, I wanted to also take a step back and mention that we’ve been in the traditional fashion industry for 15 years and have done a lot of things. So we basically did not start from out of the blue or something. We did our research for 15 years on what’s important for consumers. And I remember the fashion industry without Facebook, without Instagram, because I was already attending shows like you do now as a journalist and interviewing people. And I remember that unbelievable switch that happened from like a very non-digital fashion industry when all the shows were visited like by 100 people. And then everything changed when Facebook and Instagram emerged and other social media. People started to watch fashion shows through their mobile devices.
So that’s the same shift that is happening right now. I feel the same type of energy, the same amount of new conversations and everything. And it’s great to be one of the companies that’s kind of defines this future. And obviously, it’s important for us to move together with and create feedback from the client. But yes, we’ve been in the fashion industry for a long time. It is a huge industry that is consumer-based. It was not disrupted yet. Yes, it’s happening right now. It was not disrupted for like 200 years, maybe just with online shopping. And that’s like the latest revolution in e-commerce. But since then, there were no big shifts and changes. But maybe in renting – that’s how it was changed because we understood that it’s not necessarily you should own the item, you should rent the item instead, and now it’s not necessarily that the item should be produced, it can just exist in a digital sense. And then you can own it, you can rent it, and you can do so much stuff with it.
David Cash: Especially for like single uses and all these things. I mean, it’s so interesting when you take the traditional fashion world and you try to resolve problems that we’ve tried to find solutions for. Like really clunky, ineffective solutions like let’s ship this dress, 3000 miles, ship it to China, and let’s pay a plane ticket for this dress. It doesn’t really make any logical sense.
Daria: Well, fashion stories, for example, right? Just to shoot this dress for one night and ship it back, like imagine how many resources were taken.
David Cash: And when they say that certain things are bad for the environment, it’s always interesting when you take it back to these traditional industries that haven’t changed in so long. That’s really what’s bad for the environment, you know when you’re looking at that. But I love taking a step back when you’re thinking about this because also for me, you know, I minted my first NFT in 2017, but you know, I didn’t know what an NFT was really and I didn’t fully understand it. But then when I was researching it and specifically talking to some people in the fashion industry and talking about really valuable goods, you know, that really clicked for me. And if you’re going to buy a $1000 or $5000 handbag, you need a certification. Even now, they give you physical certification or card, a document, all these papers. But that’s also terrible. You know, what are you going to do with all this stuff? So, you know, tokenizing fashion with one of the first NFT use cases just made perfect sense to me because it’s less clunky and boom. Also, you have a digital wearable of it. I mean, it’s more valuable and it’s certified forever and you don’t need to carry anything around to prove it. So, I mean, it just makes perfect sense, but I think you guys have taken it so much further. I love the conversation around digital fashion because I know you guys are doing a little bit of that now too, maybe for some of the first time. So I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on that. But, you know, if you have a physical object, all of the things that you can do with it. You can take that physical object and then bring it into the metaverse, bring it into AR, bring it into all these other contexts that were previously impossible by just taking that further step. So, yeah, I’d love to hear some thoughts from you guys on how that’s really affecting major brands.
Natalia: Well, speaking of digital, it’s a bridge that is very important to kind of bring the fashion industry into digital completely. It will exist. And I believe that this is something that bigger brands will adopt first because they can afford it. It’s like an easier kind of justification of the physical product as well and kind of giving digital as an added value to the physical product. But from the very beginning for us, there was a notion that digital-only is as valuable as physical. You need to have a physical element to have value, and you didn’t need to have this like supply chain production and everything to create value. There are so many other ways digital-only to create this value for people. That’s why the utility is very important for us. So of course we will see adoption from bigger brands and conglomerates already work on like it’s their own blockchain where they do all the certification and all the things that will be the kind of adoption going from that way. But at the same time, like all revolutions start from below, not from the top. So we should not expect that the biggest brands will just drop it itself. So there will be a lot of players who kind of create these use cases, create these pipelines, create these case studies and of course brands will be adopting them.
Daria: We also like to imagine this use case when let’s say a Chanel dress or Dior dress is sold together with an NFT and I own this Dior dress physically, right? And I can actually pass it to the new generation, the digital file. That is incredible, right? Because previously it was only possible to pass your outfit to the museum if you wanted to keep it for generations. Even in the museum, they spend so much money to preserve all those archives. So basically there are so many great dresses and outfits created, but nobody can see them because even in the walls, it takes so much money to kind of keep them and to maintain them. We can’t see everything that was produced, all that beauty. And moreover, we can’t wear it. But in augmented reality, in digital, it’s possible, we can still wear any item that was created if we digitize it and imagine like the ownership forever. And we’ll continue to own them and we will continue to wear them. Imagine, like all these museum archives can be digitized and we can all continue wearing some items from the past that are amazing.
So like everything from the 20th century and 21st century. So that’s eventually when fashion history will be reinvented and that’s so important. It happens right now because that’s exactly the time when people are ready for that, more or less Gen-Z is definitely ready. They’re like playing Roblox on a daily basis and changing their digital outfits and their digital wardrobes are way more important for them than the physical wardrobe. That is the case with my nine-year-old son, he is more concerned about what he has in Roblox than what he has in his physical world. He knows everything that he owns in Roblox. It’s like it’s a lot of it makes a lot of sense for him.
David Cash: That’s awesome. We talk about this a lot, but, you know, the younger generation, it’s so obvious to them because they grew up in digital spaces experiencing this. But what I think is happening right now, this shift and you guys are definitely some of the people at the forefront of this, but by pushing and perpetuating amazing, crazy out of this world, digital silhouettes, digital outfits in virtual worlds, in AR, we’re expanding people’s horizons and their idea of what’s possible. And when they see somebody else wearing this, something that’s not possible in reality, you immediately have this FOMO. Like, how is that? How can I get that? So I feel like that’s known, I’m talking about this little bit of my in my talk here, but I feel like that’s really one of the things that are going to allow this shift, especially as everybody’s now trying to figure out what the metaverse is. And that’s actually one of the next things I want to talk to you guys about. But while everybody’s trying to figure out what the metaverse is, you know, people are actually going to discover what on-chain ownership means, you know, so they’re going to experience something. They’re going to buy something off-chain, they’re going to buy something on-chain and they’re going to own both. And they’re going to be like, “Wait a second, I only own one of these things.” So I think it’s going to be an amazing phenomenon that’s happening over the next year, and that all kind of fits under the umbrella of what I’m calling, you know, we have e-commerce, but now we’re having meta-commerce and you know, all of the work that you guys are already doing with apps like Boson Protocol and other people trying to push forwards and make buying clothing on-chain in the metaverse easier. So I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on what you’re working on right now and maybe some things you’re excited about in the future.
Natalia: Well, making and buying clothes on-chain is actually something that will bring this adoption where you see people would buy some items like a year ago from us. And when this NFT craze started, they would say, “Oh my God, I’m so happy I bought my first NFT.” And I’d say, “Well, not exactly.” And right now, yes, adoption grew, but still, it will be a mass-market when it will be easier in terms of UX. And there are so many companies that are working on that just for the whole industry in general, same as when e-commerce disrupted all industries and was a good thing for all the industries. The same will be applicable to fashion. So when it’s frictionless, when you just do it easily. We don’t know yet. I think nobody knows yet whether it will be that like credit cards have the adoption and you just buy this credit card and NFT, which you can already do today or all the wallets will be so adopted that we don’t need credit cards anymore. We just sign all the transactions with our wallets.
Or they might be something else, but it must be a good UX. And I would say we solved this kind of problem on our level and what we do at DressX, we see different kinds of technologies and solutions and we kind of implement them to give the best user experience for the fashion-oriented community, right? So that’s something that we really focus on and watch for. I’m sure it will just come with a better UX and better experience and easier to use things. There is an article from Signal founder Moxie where he said “People don’t want to run servers, people don’t want to run protocols.” So there will be some kind of adoption or an understanding or I don’t want to say like centralization in a bad sense, but like the internet was possible when like TCP/IP protocol was adopted by everyone, right? So there might be something like that happening in a Web3and we are here to learn about it first.
David Cash: Absolutely! So many good points. You know, this space is developing right in front of us. The easiest solution will win ultimately. So we have to kind of have a look at all of the options right now and see, because if you have two options – what do you choose? Anything else, Daria? What are you excited about right now?
Daria: I’m super excited about mass adoption. I think everything can be mass adopted and to make sure that it’s doesnt stay as a small trend for 1000 people, which excites them. This is actually huge when you manage to do something innovative, but can empower billions of people. That’s what is exciting. Like the project that can be built that will be very simple, very straightforward, and that can explain all the advantages of the new economy and Web3, etc. In the same article that Natalia quoted, of course, obviously, Moxie mentions that so many things are still yet to be developed and even those people who are in the industry right now, they not necessarily understand it until the very end, but that’s a natural kind of development for everything that happens in the world. Right? We don’t understand at the beginning what exactly should be done, but then we’ll learn. Right? And that’s exactly what is happening. But how to make this gap shorter between learning and making it understandable for billions of people who are using that on a daily basis? This is definitely very exciting.
David Cash: I totally agree. I talk a lot about the idea of hyper-modernity, kind of what you’re talking about. Like we’ve reached this spot where we find it really difficult to comprehend what our future looks like because technology is moving way too fast. Like the Industrial Revolution – we could easily understand a car. Maybe if that car had wings, it would fly. But now you look at a computer, you don’t know what that computer is going to turn into. Like you look at the Internet, how is that going to be the metaverse? It’s not a logical next step. So I think that’s really important for people to understand. It’s okay to be worried and not understand everything but you know, one step at a time. And I think solutions such as your mobile app, for instance, are really required to let people kind of bridge that gap and ease that friction of what is this new thing? Can I use it easily and try to understand it? If so, maybe I’ll actually do it again. Because, you know, we see a lot of people try to buy into like an NFT project or something and then they have a bad experience and then they maybe don’t want to do it again.
Daria: That’s happened to so many friends of ours whom we actually suggested to buy certain NFTs and then they didn’t know how to take it further, or they messed up or something, or they lost access to the wallet and etc. Just because it’s so new and they’re not doing that on a daily basis, you know, they’re working at something.
David Cash: And then they somehow blame whoever told them.
Daria: Exactly. But then you kind of need to guide them every day or you need to build the project yourself.
David Cash: And it’s a lot of responsibility. You know, we’re all doing this.
Daria: Exactly. That’s why it takes sometimes more time for us maybe to release something because we want to make sure that something that we built has the infrastructure that can be understood by everyone who is not doing that with NFTs on a daily basis, which is absolutely normal. It’s like totally fine. Most people don’t do that.
Natalia: This is about inclusivity in the whole Web3 space. And we do it fashion because that’s how we can facilitate it. We can give fashion to more people in the world. We can make the entrance to this fashion world and become a designer, become a creator for more people. Because, again, it’s not that easy to start your fashion brand. It’s not that easy to start a fashion brand for the metaverse as well. But it’s more accessible, right?
And then you can succeed if you really work hard, work harder than like other people. Right? So you can actually make it. It’s power in your hands, right? So that’s something that we also kind of try to bring this notion and show that, you can start anywhere. It’s not too late yesterday, it’s not too late today, and it’s not too late tomorrow because it’s still in the early days and it’s all about inclusivity is a space for everyone and every voice will actually influence the result that we will all have.
David Cash: Absolutely. I think you guys are building the infrastructure or working to build the infrastructure to allow this onboarding to happen. And I have to shout it out and I’ve mentioned it very briefly, but I have to shout it out because I think it really is one of the best AR platforms right now on the market. The DressX app, please do check it out and go through the process. There are so many interesting resources. If you go to the DressX website, you’ll see a lot of the projects that these lovely ladies are working on. But maybe if there’s anything that you guys want to share that is currently going on or something you’re excited about when this is out, we’re probably going to be coming up very close to Metaverse Fashion Week and a whole bunch of other events. But you’re always up to more things than I can even keep track of. So maybe just to leave us off on an exciting note, what’s something that you’re excited about right now?
Natalia: You can wear digital fashion today, you don’t have to wait until something real happens. You can just start doing it.
Daria: Actually, releasing all these new things that we’ve planned is amazing because we’re working on bringing our vision of DressX, the digital fashion wardrobe and soon-to-be wallet. This is what excites us a lot – and starting to work with more people, doing more partnerships. That’s definitely what everyone is focused on.
Natalia: It’s so much more exciting to start wearing digital fashion. Then you will understand how to like make it. Or you just get ideas and inspiration. Or not, which is totally fine, but it’s so much more exciting to actually try it and wear it rather than listen about it or like, read about it. So I just encourage everyone to start earlier than later.
David Cash: It’s tangible and you can do it right now. So everybody go check out their app, check out their website. Daria, Natalia, always a pleasure. Thanks so much for taking the time. Lovely to be together IRL here in Denver. And I also want to say thank you to everybody for watching today. This has been awesome. Appreciate DressX for joining us and we’ll see you next time here on NFTS.WTF. Thanks so much for watching.