Editor’s note: March is celebrated as Women’s History Month in the US. At Google, we’re proud to celebrate women from all backgrounds and are committed to increasing the number of women in the technology industry. Over the next few weeks, we will showcase women-led startups and how they use Google Cloud to grow their businesses. Today’s feature highlights digital fashion company DRESSX and its co-founder, Daria Shapovalova.
Wouldn’t it be great if your digital wardrobe was just as exciting and stylish — or perhaps even more so — as your physical outfits? Imagine putting on different clothes for social media or your dating profile, or dressing your avatar in the latest high fashions. That’s what we offer atDRESSX. Along with our designer partners we create thousands of digital outfits from the craziest trainers and cat suits to a top that would be perfect for a business meeting.
Buying one of our digital outfits is simple. You upload your photo to the website, make a payment, and DRESSX returns your photo wearing your desired outfit. The fit is amazing, just as if you were wearing the digital clothes in real life. We will also dress your avatar for the metaverse and gaming environments, and our augmented reality range is expanding fast.
We launched in 2020, initially targeting Gen-X and millennial customers. Today, we are the world’s largest retailer of digital-only clothing with more than 50,000 items sold across our website, app, and partner channels. Our partners include Meta, which offers digital clothing to customers and their avatars in the metaverse. Google has collaborated with us on a range of clothing inspired by the Google Pixel phone and we offer a really vibrant clothing range inspired by Coca-Cola and its Dreamworld drink.
Our NFT collection is also expanding. This includes a limited collection of outfits forAdidas Originals andReady Player Me. NFT garments can be worn through AR technology on our app, on metaverse platforms such asDecentraland, or even as game skins. Instead of just storing their NFT asset on a digital wallet, customers get to display their gear to an audience of thousands or even millions.
Sustainability is also one of our core values. The fashion industry generates 10 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent of wastewater1. By releasing digital collections, brands can cut carbon emissions and reduce water from the manufacturing supply chain. When we complete a project for fashion brand that also offers real-life clothing, we calculate for them the amount of CO2 and water that they save. We also collaborated withBCG to provide insights for itsMetaverse and Sustainability in Fashion report.
Supporting women entrepreneurs
Our journey offers lessons for other women entrepreneurs who still make up a small percentage of the startup economy. This is something that needs to change if we are going to promote diversity and drive innovation in fashion and other industries.
My advice for aspiring founders is to start as soon as possible. If you can only spare a few hours per week, then focus on engaging with individuals and support groups who can guide you on your journey. That’s how I discoveredGoogle Cloud and its programs for startups and women entrepreneurs. Successful applicants get access to many hours of business and technology training. You are also eligible for credits to invest in Google Cloud tools.
The Google Cloud team also put me in touch withZazmic, a Google Cloud Premier Partner with 400 architects who work with businesses from start-ups to global brands. Zazmic saw the potential of our business and understood our specific challenges in the startup space. They also helped us maximize the value of credits that we received through the Google Cloud in 2020.
As a fast-growing business that needs to scale, Zazmic advised us to deploy onCompute Engine, a highly secure service that enables us to create and run virtual machines on Google Cloud infrastructure. We have also deployedApp Engine, a development environment for our website and mobile applications. The team at Zazmic also guided us to unlock more resources from Google Cloud, including credits, in 2022 to continue to grow our business. This gave us a solid platform when attracting investors and we have now raised a total of $3M in funding.
Living in a ‘phygital’ world
Looking to the future, our partnership with Zazmic and Google Cloud will help us innovate and maintain our leadership in digital fashion. In the next ten years we believe that everyone will have a digital and a physical wardrobe and that our audience will greatly expand to engage shoppers of all ages. This rapidly growing market is estimated to be worth $50B by 20302.
We are also exploring the potential of ‘phygital’ NFTs underpinned by our sustainability values. We collaborated with a designer who creates outfits from 100% natural materials that can be decomposed even at home. In this instance, he designed a necklace and dress made of dried moss. These pieces will be custom-made for a person who buys the corresponding NFT.
Digital fashion will also support a huge ecosystem of designers, stylists, and models. If fashion is your profession or something you do on the side, we see plenty of opportunities to explore a career in this industry.
When we started DRESSX, no one knew about digital fashion, and everyone thought we were crazy for selling “just air” for $30. Today, everyone from big brands to a growing number of independent designers are putting themselves in the digital fashion storefront. We hope that our journey can inspire female entrepreneurs and founders to start their journey in the retail space.
If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our pagehere to get more information about our program, andsign up for our communications to get a look at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.
1. ActNow for Zero-Waste Fashion
2. Metaverse: A $50 Billion Revenue Opportunity for Luxury
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