Lucy Yeomans Discusses Her Luxury Fashion Styling App, Drest

From editor-in-chief to styling app founder, Lucy Yeomans has a wealth of experience in the world of luxury fashion, and now she’s pivoted to the metaverse with her latest venture, DREST. Combing fantasy and reality, it’s a mobile gaming app that allows players, a.k.a. ‘stylists,’ to explore designer collections from Cartier to Fendi, dress up and shop in real-time. Lucy shares her insight on DREST.

DREST is an immersive mobile game and content platform that merges the creative worlds of luxury fashion, beauty and lifestyle with the infinite possibilities of the metaverse.

Combining a highly engaging gaming experience with real-time fashion and cultural news and a uniquely creative way to discover and interact with the latest luxury collections, DREST is a mobile styling game that democratizes and revolutionizes the luxury fashion experience. It gives everyone everywhere the opportunity to express their creativity and become part of the exclusive world of fashion and beauty.

On DREST, players respond to real-world challenges that take the form of virtual photoshoots. They are tasked with styling looks using the latest clothing, accessories, jewelry and beauty collections from the world’s top luxury brands, including Gucci, Cartier, Prada, Valentino, Fendi, Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta and Burberry. Players can choose from an inclusive range (ethnicity and body type) of hyper-realistic model avatars and five supermodel avatars – Natalia Vodianova, Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, Candice Huffine and Imaan Hammam – to bring their shoots to virtual life. Once a player has finished creating their look, it is rated by the other players in the game – a highly engaged community of fellow fashion and beauty lovers – resulting in a star rating that will enable the player to level up, progress within the game and earn luxury rewards.

DREST is a virtual game, but everything it is based on is real. From fashion and beauty products to travel destinations, red carpets, events and TV show players’ style look for. This link to real life is an important part of the experience; the way audiences consume news and content has changed, and DREST is at the forefront of the transformation and the gamification of luxury fashion and entertainment, opening up the possibilities of the metaverse. Gaming engages audiences like no other medium, with two-thirds of millennials saying that they would choose to give up their social media apps and TV shows rather than mobile games.

As a product, Drest is constantly evolving – often in response to our very engaged and vocal players’ requests! – and we are constantly adding new concepts to the game, such as our pioneering ‘Jewelry Mode’, which enables players to style closeup looks that focus on layering necklaces, rings, bracelets and watches, a feature we launched with a special Cartier collaboration. Recently we partnered with the Oetker Collection to give our players access to iconic hotel backgrounds to place their avatar in, such as Le Bristol in Paris and the Eden Roc in St Barths. These, as well as bespoke partnerships we have collaborated on with Gucci, Fendi, Prada and Christian Louboutin, to name but a few, are just the beginning. We have a series of incredibly exciting fashion, beauty and entertainment projects lined up involving continual development and innovation, which we can’t wait to share with our community.

DREST came from a desire to include everyone, everywhere in the world of luxury fashion and beauty

Coming from the world of publishing, I was always passionate about creating inspiring content with which people could connect. But I was frustrated that content creation had long remained a one-way experience; a small number of people in the fashion industry decided what was good and what was bad and then relayed this to their waiting audience. Some of that content also seemed to serve the industry rather than putting the reader or user and their needs and desires first. The rise of social media challenged this, but even then, fashion content was dictated and created by a relative few and remained unattainable for many people who either didn’t look a certain way or had the financial means to buy luxury items to feature in their posts.

Just over 12 years ago, I became fascinated with the gaming world, finding the experience’s immersive quality very compelling. I also observed lots of similarities between fashion and gaming; both are deeply creative industries and experiences, with storytelling, fantasy and self-expression at their heart. What I loved most about certain games was the incredible interactivity they afforded, allowing their players to actually be part of the storytelling, not just passive observers.

At the same time, I saw that many brands, particularly in the luxury space, were facing a challenge about how to engage and communicate with the next generation of consumers, who demanded a more augmented content experience, also seeking to be a part of the conversation and share their points of view and creative ideas.

I believed that by harnessing the interactive and immersive elements and mechanisms of gaming and combining these with the narratives and creative experiences from the real worlds of fashion and beauty, there was an opportunity to conceive an innovative experience that would enable audiences to step into the fashion world, connect with the brands they either love or aspire to and to get seriously creative. We see this desire for connection and participation manifest in Web3, and it’s exciting to be a co-architect of fashion’s metaverse-enabled future.

Our audience is predominantly female, international and highly engaged

The DREST mission has always been to open up the luxury fashion industry to all lovers of style and to enable them to experience this exciting world firsthand. We want this experience to be fun, creative and inspiring, something our players – the majority of females between the ages of 18 and 29 with a high interest in fashion and beauty – thrive upon. Playing DREST is also a deeply individual experience – as evidenced by the incredible variety of ways people from all over the world, from the US to Europe, Brazil or the Middle East, approach and style the same challenges.

It has been amazing to see the already very positive engagement rates within the game compared to e-commerce and publishing apps. Our stylists play DREST for an average of just over 20 minutes per session, which is unusually high for a mobile app. This intense focus and engagement from our players enable us also to deliver fantastic insight for the brands who partner with us in the game: in addition to featuring the top brands in the day-to-day game, we also run special sponsored challenges and bespoke content campaigns to support either a new product launch, project or film release, for example, bringing these to life in a uniquely immersive way. The opportunities down the line for helping brands understand how a yet-to-be-released new product might be received in different parts of the world via virtual testing are particularly exciting to me from a sustainability standpoint.

Bringing together the worlds of fashion and gaming can be challenging at times, but when it works, it is incredibly exciting

From the get-go, we wanted to make sure we brought together the strongest talent from both the fashion and gaming industries to deliver a truly groundbreaking and unique product. It has been fascinating bringing these two different types of skill sets together, and there have been huge learnings on both sides. Having a growth mindset is a critical requirement of working at DREST!

I have watched as other gaming companies have tried to move into the fashion space and have not gotten it quite right regarding how to present and tell stories around the brands and the talent; it is very hard to make sure everything is correct from a luxury perspective. So when we kick off work on any new feature or design, we question everything and ask ourselves if it works from both a gaming and a fashion perspective. But when we finally solve a particularly challenging problem that started with very conflicting points of view and approaches, everyone gets hugely excited!

The gaming and fashion industries have very different cultures and working styles, but a mutual thirst unites them for innovation and creativity.

Big changes are on the way

Another aspect that makes gaming so exciting is the fast-evolving tech development. When I was working in the content and e-commerce space, we would create an app that would stay pretty much the same for months or even years, with the only regular updates being the content within it. In gaming, the product evolves every couple of weeks, with new features constantly being introduced, tested and iterated on.

We are excitingly at an important moment in our product’s evolution, with DREST moving onto a new, faster-moving tech platform next year. With this will come a wealth of exciting new features and gameplay, and DREST will also be available on both iOS and Android.

Some highlights of the ‘new DREST’ include a new look and feel, animation, the ability to personalize avatars and a raft of compelling new social features that will connect players with the brands they love. These new features will, we hope, take our ambition of creating the most inspired, highly engaged and powerful global community of fashion lovers and creatives to the next level.

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