Online-Talk mit Olga Chernysheva Chief Sustainability Officer bei DRESSX
22.02.22, 17 Uhr via Zoom
Ist digitale Mode automatisch nachhaltige Mode? Können nicht real existierende Kleidungsstücke die Alternative zu Fast Fashion sein? Was macht eine Nachhaltigkeits-Managerin bei einem der größten Anbieter für Pixelmode? Und wer gibt überhaupt Geld für Kleidung aus, die man nicht anziehen kann?
Über diese und zahlreiche weitere Fragen rund um das Thema Nachhaltigkeit und digitale Mode im Metaverse diskutieren wir beim AFA Community Online-Talk am 22. Februar mit Olga Chernysheva.
Online-Talk mit Olga Chernysheva Chief Sustainability Officer bei DRESSX
Olga hat einen Abschluss als Maschinenbauingenieurin und einen Master-Abschluss in Finanzen und verfügt als angesehene Führungskraft über langjährige Erfahrung in Projektmanagement und nachhaltiger Entwicklung. Sie unterstützt Unternehmen, die innovative Lösungen zur Wiederherstellung unseres Planeten entwickeln, sowie visionäre Unternehmer.
Vor dem Ausbruch von COVID-19 verbrachte Chernysheva drei Jahre in Zentralafrika, wo sie eine gemeinnützige Organisation gründete, um das Bewusstsein lokaler Gemeinschaften für Umweltprobleme und Abfall- und Kunststoffmanagement zu schärfen.
Please introduce yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do, what did you study?
My name is Olga Chernysheva. I am Chief Sustainability Officer at DRESSX. I am from Moscow, Russia, but since 2009 I have lived in Paris, France.
I studied mechanical engineering at Bauman University in Moscow and I have a master degree in finance. For more than ten years I have been working as a project manager on industrial projects. From 2017 till March 2020 I had an opportunity to live in Central Africa (Gabon and Congo). This is when I started my career in sustainability. While living there, I created my non-profit organization to bring awareness about plastic pollution and find solutions to fight it.
I graduated from Cambridge Business Sustainability Management Program in 2020 and I am a certified B-corp leader.
What exactly is DRESSX? How long has it existed, why, how does it work and who is it for? Who spends money on clothes that aren't real?
DRESSX is a Metacloset of digital-only clothes, NFT fashion items and AR looks. DRESSX is a female-led, female-founded metafashion company. Understanding the scale of the negative environmental footprint produced by the fashion industry, DRESSX was created by Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova in July 2020 as the first ever platform for digital garments that generate zero waste, carbon footprints, and chemicals during their production.
A year after its launch, the company became the world's largest digital fashion store targeting Gen Z and Millennials who demand a new shopping solution - digital, sustainable, and inclusive.
DRESSX has collaborated with a number of companies, including Google UK, H&M, and Farfetch, featuring collections from Burberry, Balenciaga, Off-White, Dolce & Gabbana, Khaite, Palm Angels and more.
DRESSX digital fashion has been featured in Vogue Singapore, Vogue Business, WWD, HighSnobiety, Forbes, Financial Times and more high-profile media, with print issue covers for Vogue Czechoslovakia, Haute Living, L’Officiel Vietnam, L’Officiel Ukraine and Glamour Hungary.
In August 2021, DRESSX launched its first app on the App Store, where the content creation with new outfits became even easier: digital looks can be applied in Augmented Reality (AR) on the real-time videos and photos. DRESSX’s signature AR digital hat was worn over 1 million times on the app and social media platforms.
After multiple successful NFT drops on public marketplaces, in the beginning of 2022 DRESSX will open its own NFT marketplace, dedicated to the future of digital fashion and NFT wearables.
At DRESSX we do not limit our audience. Everyone can use the service! We see a huge potential here. Digital clothes are something Millennials and Gen Z are craving for. The market size of the traditional fashion industry is 1.3 trillion dollars, and digital fashion will ultimately take a chunk of this huge market.
We already see more specific cohorts: digital clothing is especially useful for micro influencers of all kinds - from language coaches to financial advisors (more than 100 million images are uploaded in social media every day), active travellers, tech people, who see the value in digital assets.
Micro influencers share content in their social media at least once a week - this way they interact with other people, document their life, and share some important information with their audience. Obviously, for each ‘public appearance’ like this they would need new clothes that could be easily replaced with the digital clothes.
For the travelers shopping digital fashion means saving a huge amount of space in their luggage. Instead of packing outfits for every special occasion, they can now travel with the most comfortable and practical basics, make pictures in the most incredible places, and then elevate their photos with fashionable digital clothes.
Digital assets were in place in gaming for a while, but the game is actually changing and we already became “the avatars of ourselves” in the multiple social media channels, messaging and streaming services. Digital fashion is designed to dress our digital selves. People from tech and gaming backgrounds get it fast and a mass audience is starting to actively follow - this is a common pattern when innovative products are launched.
For the clients who care about our planet and are striving to decrease the level of pollution created due to overproduction and excessive consumption of the clothes, shopping digital fashion can become a great way to reduce their negative environmental footprint without giving up the thrill of buying new clothes.
What do you do as Chief Sustainability Officer?
First of all, I calculated the environmental impact from digital fashion and put that in the Digital Fashion Sustainability Report. Because digital fashion is a new and young sector, not so many stakeholders know about its advantages. On average, a production of digital garment emits 97% less CO2 in comparison to the production of a physical garment. Also, the production of a physical garment requires, on average, 3300 liters of water. During the production of a digital garment we don’t use any water, except the water our designers drink during the day.
We still have those 3% of CO2 emission on the production of digital garments. I calculate and analyze all DRESSX carbon emissions, including the carbon footprint from NFT drops. In order to keep our operations as sustainable as possible, I keep DRESSX carbon neutral. That means, I organize the carbon offset of DRESSX footprint and for that I work closely with the Flow Carbon team.
Another way one can measure the company's sustainability impact is the contribution in the achievements in UN SDGs. I defined our major focus in SDGs, set the annual targets and report on the process. You can find our annual digital fashion Sustainability reports 2020 and 2021 here.
One of the important SDGs we put as a major priority for DRESSX is SDG17 - partnerships to reach and promote sustainability and achieving of SDGs. So as a Chief Sustainability Officer I work to contribute in achieving this SDG 17. That means that I lead partnerships to promote digital fashion. We work a lot with academics and universities to help students to understand the advantages of digital fashion. We collaborate with IFM, ModArt, EISA, ESMOD, University of Vienna, Kiev, etc. We work with The Digital Fashion Group to support their digital fashion certificates.
Another collaboration I lead is with Ellen MacArthur Foundation. As a result of it, in November 2021 DRESSX was showcased in Ellen MacArthur Circular Economy Report as a circular solution for the fashion industry.
The next big step for DRESSX is to apply for B-corp certification. Our aim is to set up a blueprint of the digital fashion industry, including sustainability practices. So this will be an important step for us.
Is digital fashion automatically sustainable fashion?
The short answer is no. Any human’s activity which requires energy is not sustainable. To create digital garments we use our computers and they need energy.
However, changing the composition and production patterns in the fashion industry with digital fashion, showing the stakeholders the advantages of producing some part of the garments digitally, thus decreasing the environmental impact - that makes it a sustainable alternative.
Understating the impact of digital fashion, tracing it and reporting it openly. Working with stakeholders to bring awareness about the environmental impact benefits of digital fashion and showing that with use cases makes digital fashion a sustainable solution.
What are the advantages of digital fashion for labels/designers?
For the young designers, digital fashion is a great opportunity to start a career and then make an entrance in the fashion world. Just because with digital collections they don’t need to invest in the fabric, etc. Moreover, digital fashion gives the opportunity to think beyond the physicality of the garments and let designers experiment with their creativity.
For the brands, it’s an opportunity to decrease their environmental impact of the production of samples and marketing campaigns. These steps can be done purely digital. Which brings us to a new production model - pre-order production. Thus, we avoid overproduction in the industry. At DRESSX, we have a use case with Farfetch.
“The digitally dressed campaign aims at promoting the FARFETCH pre-order collection without any physical materials, unnecessary shipments, or damages for the environment. By going digital we were able to save 346 698 liters of water, that is enough for 20 people to drink for 24 years. We also saved 2515 kg CO2 eq, which accounts for 97.86% of CO2 emissions produced by a similar campaign in the physical space and equals 29 years of using a smartphone for 10 hours a day. Making the Farfetch pre-order campaign the first carbon-neutral fashion campaign in the world.”
Are the designers represented at DRESSX fashion designers or 3D/animation designers?
We have both - physical brands who would like to enter into the digital space with a line of digital clothes, or to add another layer of engagement with the clients' thorough digital solutions.
Also we work a lot with 3D designers - famous and young. DRESSX is the destination for young 3D designers to start their career or launch their first collection.
What are the differences between a digital fashion online shop and a traditional one?
The main difference between both is that when you buy something in the traditional shop, you receive a physical garment as a result of your purchase.
With digital fashion, you have to attach your photo to the order. Because we are delivering the result - the fitted photo look - on the client’s photo. The photo should follow the recommendation we provide on our website to ensure the best experience with the order. When we deliver the order, the client gets their photo back within 24 hours with the new look on the photo, the one the client purchased.
How can one imagine the selection of items offered at DRESSX? What is the role of the "buyer"? Does such a position even exist? Do designers / labels apply to DRESSX?
Our aim is to be the biggest platform of digital fashion, so we welcome every 3D designer who wants to be presented on our platform.
However, for our NFT marketplace the applications are open. The designers can find more details about the process on our discord channel. The DRESSX team will make the decision who will be featured on the market place.
How is the price of a digital fashion item calculated? How much of the selling price does the designer get?
The price depends on multiple factors. The clients should understand that behind each digital garment there is knowledge and experience of designing software. The designer spends time creating the garment. The more sophisticated and detailed the garment, the more experience and time the designer puts in it. So the clients pay for the knowledge and time.
Since the digital fashion industry is very new, there are no precise rules about revenue share. We discuss the conditions with each designer. The revenue share depends on how famous the designer is, the size of the collection, the influencer´s community which comes with the designer, so on and so forth.
Which role do limited pieces / NFTs play at DRESSX? What´s the difference between DRESSX and e.g. The Dematerialized?
We did 12 NFT drops during 2021 on different NFT marketplaces to test and come up with our own NFT marketplace. We are opening our own NFT marketplace, dedicated to the future of Digital Fashion and NFT wearables.
Thanks to NFTs, digital fashion now comes with provable ownership and scarcity. Digital fashion items registered on the blockchain are an investment. Each has provable ownership and rarity, and can therefore be attributed economic value. NFTs provide the next layer to the industry, maximizing its opportunities, solving some of its issues and opening up the new realms for self expression and creativity. We compare NFTs to high fashion or Haute Couture, because it provides a sense of belonging, scarcity effect and a luxury feel, which would otherwise not be achieved in the digital world. DRESSX is the first digital fashion company to provide dressing utility for the NFT assets both on photos and videos in AR, with more wearable use cases to be announced with the launch of DRESSX NFT marketplace nft.dressx.com - the ultimate destination for discovering, buying, re-selling and, most important, wearing NFTs.
In addition to the arguments of sustainability and size inclusiveness, DRESSX emphasizes that digital fashion is cheaper than real fashion. Nevertheless, you can also find items of clothing in the shop that cost over $1,000. For what reason? And who can afford that?
The price refers to the production process and the sophistication of the garments. Also about the positioning of the designers. Some of them position themselves as luxury digital fashion designers and this is how they set their prices.
What does the future of fashion look like and of digital fashion in particular? Will we all have digital wardrobes soon or is it just a Gen Z and millennial thing?
We believe that in the future every fashion brand - luxury, haute couture, streetwear, etc. - will own a digital fashion line, same as high-fashion luxury brands have perfumes or accessories. With its different from the physical items price point yet high precision, digital fashion will become a new way for customers to enter the high fashion world, discovering the new way to shop luxury, reducing their environmental footprint, receiving the same sense of belonging and excitement from wearing designer pieces in digital.
As people live and display more of their lives online coupled with growing concerns about sustainability, digital clothing has the potential to expand well beyond gaming. In lieu of physical events and runway shows, fashion collections made their way into the digital world. Gen Zs and young Millennials grew up in the digital era, blurring reality and fantasy, and developing key characteristics of a digital fashion customer. They evolve in a fluid digital world in which the boundaries between their physical and online lives have converged. When it comes to fashion, they not only need physical items to express themselves, but also digital clothes to dress up their virtual identities.
Creating a true metaverse will also unlock the full potential of digital fashion. The metaverse will allow users to digitally recreate their wardrobe, and wear personal items within new and existing social contexts and platforms. The main challenge in creating a true metaverse is universal cross-platform compatibility. Once this is achieved, on-chain digital fashion items collected on one platform, will be available to the collector on all platforms, allowing users to wear their wardrobe across the entire metaverse.