Gamifying your wardrobe
As lockdown continues we are seeing more innovative ways to keep fashion in our lives. From the #dressupfriday movement which flips the traditional “dress down” Friday to bringing the physical store experience online new ideas are flourishing. One method that should not go overlooked is the gamification of fashion. Not only is this a great source of revenue whilst shops are shut it looks to be a well of opportunity for the mature market that is the luxury fashion industry.
Those growing up in the nineties may remember the heady thrill of becoming personal stylist to avatars and celebs on sites like Stardoll (the online version of a paper doll for the uninitiated). Well now, the brands themselves have got in on the act; utilising the concept of dressing avatars to drive sales, cashing in on the escapism of apps like Drest and Roblox.
The gamified model works for both appmakers which cash in on the sale of virtual coins for use in-app and for brands which can not only drive customers to their sites to buy products they like but who can also gain valuable insight into their customers and their interests through gamified app interactions. Data concerning what products a customer will try on and which of those actually translate into sales is crucial to brands. This is especially pertinent for luxury brands which are in the tricky position of having to balance dreamlike products that fuel the imagination of their customers with the practical pieces that keep sales consistent. Protecting that data to ensure that other brands cannot utilise it will be a significant concern for brands in a highly competitive market like luxury fashion.
Another way for brands to stay in sight of their consumers is to work with gaming companies which are seeing a boom over this lockdown period. Take for example 100 Thieves, a brand whose apparel drops are notoriously hard to get hold of. The brand has decided to make their products more widely accessible, not by creating more physical products but by duplicating their range digitally and making it available through Animal Crossing – the game that has taken the top spot during lockdown.
The cost of these approaches is reduced as the designs used in the digital game already exist; they merely need to be transposed. However, the risk of copying is increased tenfold by use in this scenario so it becomes increasingly important that brands continue to protect their intellectual property rights.
The next step of this digital gamification is the creation of avatars of real-life supermodels. This will further blur the lines between the virtual and physical worlds beyond the blurring caused by developments such as the creation of purely digital models (like Shudu). Purely digital models have been extremely successful and are currently advantaged because advertising campaigns that they feature in can be created completely remotely and often more cost-effectively.
Whilst models have been involved in controlling photoshoots in their own home during lockdown, talk abounds of the creation of virtual versions of them that can be used in future campaigns if lockdown restrictions continue to impact on travel. This will add an extra layer of complication to the ownership of the rights in such an avatar which might make some models reluctant to be involved. Yet, such a move would enable models to work in more campaigns than they would ever have been able to physically. The change also has significant benefits in terms of sustainability; not least in the reduction of airmiles.
This brings into question whether the average consumer will want their own avatar – this is already in play for those using AR fitting rooms such as Wannaby (used by Gucci). The next step is to make such an avatar outward facing. Lucy Yeomans of Drest has said that dressing photo-realistic avatars for social media could be a new path to circumvent the issue that women do not want to be seen in the same outfit twice on social media. This way consumers wouldn’t need to buy new outfits every day, rather they could buy hosts of outfits for their avatars and post those instead. Consumers may then be more mindful about the outfits that they do buy reducing wastage and brands could use these avatars to develop relationships with consumers and improve their image on sustainability.
As a young market there is potential for significant growth in the meeting of gaming and fashion which is crucial for a mature industry like luxury fashion. For those that question how profitable digital clothing can be see Dapper Labs’ auction of an item of digital clothing that went for $9,500. And that’s without considering the value of data tracking, the potential to build customer relationships and reduced travel and materials costs that come with digital products.
Belief in the value of digital fashion is demonstrated by the existence of brands like The Fabricant, which is a digital only fashion house. The house trades on its sustainability and inclusivity. Not only does it minimise waste of resources it is also able to more inclusive at a lower cost because issues like the cost of stocking size inclusive clothing are not an issue – virtual clothes can be re-sized at the push of a (few) button(s). For an industry that is often criticised for its snobbery this approach could be truly beneficial for luxury fashion’s image.
Another interesting detail from the Dapper Labs sale was that the product was shared via blockchain which helped to ensure that the product was a true exclusive. When considering the difficulty of protecting intellectual property in digital only products, blockchain should not be ignored. Blockchain is still relatively uncharted territory and the potential benefits should be given due consideration in an industry where exclusivity is a cornerstone.
For a look at the future of e-commerce including gaming and beyond and how we can help you see our article.
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