Vogue US March2020

(Ben Green) #1


Scott styling avatars for a game that sold
over 200 million copies worldwide,
and way back in 2012 DKNY launched
a Facebook game that allowed players
to win digital DKNY clothes. But luxury
brands are noticing that outfits for avatars
are selling for big (and very real) bucks—
last spring, a blockchain security expert
bought his wife a $9,500 virtual dress—
and Instagram users who were content with
free dog-face filters are now debating
PayPal-ing for virtual Air Jordans that their
Fortnite avatars can wear, or “wear.”
Drest is like paper dolls on algorithms:
The user experiences clothes in the virtual
world while brands peek at players’
experiences—though what Yeomans hopes
distinguishes Drest is the philanthropy
wrapped around its
tech core: You can
donate from within
the game to Elbi, the
charity platform
Natalia Vodianova
launched in 2018 with a former Google exec.
(Via Elbi, Drest clicks will also contribute
to the Elephant Crisis Fund that Doutzen
Kroes supports or to She’s the First, the
Imaan Hammam–supported organization
that fights for gender equality for girls
around the world.) “Drest is not just what
you wear—it’s what you stand for,” says
Yeomans. “We wanted to make something
that showcases the best of fashion—the
creativity, the philanthropy, the inclusivity.”
Vodianova is more than just a Drest
avatar—she’s a fan. “I’ll have my avatar and
pick whatever dress I like and style it,” she
says, “but then I can scroll down into
discovery mode and see other looks that have
been created with this dress or this jewelry,
and maybe find something even better with
community-generated content.”
“We’re looking to take it to where we can
try out the bag in three colorways—before it’s
going to production,” says Yeomans, “which
I think will help to solve overproduction.”
For the moment, though, she is reveling in all
the gamers now revealing themselves to
her—from Tabitha Simmons to Kate Moss
and “this very chic global marketing
director.” She’s also hoping that Drest will
counteract the tendency of young women to,
according to a psychologist she spoke with,
be less likely to wear clothing again after they
have posted themselves in it. “Let’s see,”
says Yeomans, “if they can express themselves
first virtually, rather than always through
that hyper-turnover.”—robert sullivan

Almost a decade ago, while
making a pitch for what would
become Drest—“the world’s first interactive
luxury styling game,” launching this month—
Lucy Yeomans, then editor in chief of Harper’s
Bazaar UK, got the kind of reaction that
makes sense only when you remember that in
2010, smartphones were young, apps were
just catching on as shopping tools, and games
were primarily the provenance of teenage
boys. “They were like, ‘Oh, this is a wonderful
idea—why don’t you do it with Mr. Porter?’
And I said, ‘No—this is for women!’ ”
Yeomans, whose own gaming experience
is mostly limited to Scrabble, had watched
FarmVille, the agriculture-simulation social
network, rack up 38 million likes. “I saw
people I respected playing this game where
they had to grow strawberry patches and
herd chicks and cows, and I thought, This
is crazy. And then I thought, What if you
were doing that with something you cared
about—like shoes and bags and fashion?”
Cut to 2020, when the typical American
spends half their day online and 63 percent of
mobile gamers are women—many of them,
Yeomans is guessing, ready to move beyond
colored fruits and solitaire—and we have
Drest, the object of which is to style like a
fashion editor. There are several daily
challenges with a selection of fashion and
accessories, with your edit graded by Drest-
playing peers—it’s Chopped but with, say,
Manolo Blahnik pumps and a Christopher
Kane feather dress. The higher your peers
rate your curation, the higher your score, with
the reward a payment allowing you to buy
more virtual clothes—though you will have
IRL purchasing power, too, with more than
160 brands onboard, including Prada, Stella
McCartney, Burberry, Valentino, and Gucci,
all buyable through Farfetch, Drest’s partner.
For Yeomans, gaming and fashion are
synergistic. “They’re both all about entering
a fantastical universe, assuming a personality,
and using pieces, whether it’s a potion
or a Chanel jacket, to make you invisible—
or invincible,” she says. One new thing they
have in common: models. Drest has brought
on a crew of 10 that includes Irina
Shayk, Imaan Hammam, Doutzen Kroes,
and Natalia Vodianova, each of whom
players can choose as an avatar, along with
non-model avatars that Yeomans hopes
are representative of the shapes and sizes
and ages of the real human world.
This certainly isn’t fashion’s first gaming
foray—as recently as spring 2019 The Sims
collaborated with Moschino, with Jeremy

Fashion styling is now a virtual,
shoppable game—one that
provides a glimpse at how we’ll
browse and buy in the future.

Best Drest









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