15:20 / 14 Oct 2020 / features / text: Valeriia Raskolnikova
Dress-X: Entirely Digital Alternative to Fast-Fashion
With all of the drastic changes taking place in society and collective consciousness in 2020, many of us were forced to reevaluate our relationship with values and morals. Being quarantined alone or with someone, a bunch of different concerns came to the surface. Consumption as an indispensable ingredient of modern existence has also greatly suffered - we were no longer able to easily wander through shopping streets, flaunt our newest outfits in real life, and be careless on what to spend money for. A significant number of people have suffered health-wise, psychologically, financially. To be precise - more than 29 000,000 people have been affected by the Covid-19 only. When collective death and collective rebirth is around a corner, there is no time to put energy into life's extravagancies like fashion. As a reflection of the spirit of times, fashion waved at us and placed itself in the darkest corner of our drawer. At least for some time.
"No surprise that fashion creates a desire, but at what price?"
Forest fires in Australia at the beginning of the year, the Covid-19 pandemic, BLM movement made us mighty conscious about the present tense we are living in. It hit us hard and made us vulnerable in both positive and negative ways, and for many, this year is a point of no return. Most issues have existed for decades now, but with the quite shocking and unbalancing effect they produced in 2020, we must no longer be ignorant. Society needs to change. Basta. Every action we are about to channel into the surrounding world now needs to be meaningful and showcase the evolution and adaption - for a better Planet Earth and better humanity. The simple gestures on your social media now make people reflect, updated, and, if necessary, make those who deserve accountable.
Courtesy of Dress-X
Lazily placed at my couch during yet another evening, watching some Youtube videos about early Jean-Paul Gaultier, I scroll through Instagram - 21-century human being routine. Being what they call Gaius Julius Caesar and try to place my attention at two places simultaneously, I come around Daria Shapovalova's new start-up. Its name is Dress-X. It does not seem to have a lot of Instagram posts, but they are filled with ladies dressed in rather magnetizing outfits. I forget about my Jean-Paul Gaultier in the background and switch my attention entirely to discern what they are wearing. Zooming the post, I realize - it is not the actual clothing. It is a VR adaptation of a designer piece being put directly on the uploaded image. I open my mouth, try to digest it for a sec, and realize that most influencers must choose it instead of the fast fashion option. The solution for the more sustainable self-positioning is right in front of me. I completely shut up my Jean-Paul Gaultier moment and try to research more about Dress-X.
To say my mind was utterly blown by the start-up, and its socially meaningful reason behind it is to say nothing. But let me first start with Daria Shapovalova and her start-up partner Natalia Modenova. Both are the fashion mothers of Ukraine. Both have immensely influenced the fashion market and worldwide representation of that country. Both are young and ambitious fighters for a conscious fashion world. The former is known as "Kyiv's Fashion Queen Bee," as Vogue UK put it. She is the former director of Kyiv Fashion Days and a showroom "More Dash" founder - a fierce promotion channel for Eastern European brands. The latter is her longtime professional partner and a co-founder of the international conference "Fashion Tech Summit." She is the person behind the Fashion Business Course at Kyiv Fashion Institute and is a proud expert of Google Woman Digital Academy. Needless to say, a lot of rising stars of the Ukrainian fashion arena are known because of the patriotic responsibility of those two ladies. Anton Belinskiy, Anna October, Mariana Senchina, and Chakshyn, to mention a few, are young designers who can sell their products to international retailers and establish Ukraine from a completely unknown angle. As a fellow Ukrainian, I do praise their work and their efforts in the past, but with Dress-X, it takes the fashion world to a completely different dimension quite literally.
"Hyper-connectedness that makes us climb to the peaks of our own imposed ideals"
Diving deeper into this start-up's business model, we conclude that their vision is not to shop less but to shop digitally and more socially responsible. Naturally, to create a far-reaching consumption behavior shift is challenging and must involve nations and governments. For the business that put itself on the map in 2019, the goal seems timely but definitely not unachievable. Quite reasonable to add that a lot of Instagram divas do not know how to shop less, and it shows - 1 out of 10 shoppers buy the merchandise to flaunt it on social media. With the hyper-connectedness that makes us climb to the peaks of our own imposed ideals, we can not afford the luxury of owning a simple capsule collection and make an Instagram wow-effect out of it. The modern human persona must hold multiple digital personalities to create a follower database out of it. How terrifying it is to realize in 2020 that if we give freedom to those epitomes of careless egoism in pursuing their influencer flaws, the planet would be almost impossible to save and third world countries would struggle the most. The garment factory workers would continue to die in horrifying occurrences like 2013 Dhaka's garment factory collapse. On April 24 in 2013, 1134 people lost their lives to the frivolity of world-renown fashion brands. No surprise that fashion creates a desire, but at what price?
Courtesy of Dress-X
Today, Dress-X seems like a breath of fresh air in the world doomed by overproduction, underutilization, and lack of proper recycling. With the range of 11 designers available on the company's website, fashionistas can create an incredible look, display it on their social media accounts and go to sleep sanely. No underpaid workers are involved, no plastic in the ocean, no undegradable textiles are thrown casually into the bin. Like an image from a futuristic film, I can clearly see days when a designer suit is as charmingly tailored as it is non-toxic to its owner habitat.
(All visuals used in the article are courtesy of Dress-X website and Instagram page)