Metaverse Fashion Week, a plethora of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), wearables, and futuristic retail spaces are just a few of the anticipated potential in the rapidly evolving digital fashion industry. The CFDA’s latest NFTs with Coach, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and others (beginning at $15,000 apiece), or “digital couture house” Auroboros, appear to miss the experiential element that remains essential to the premium consumer. However, a genuine innovation leap that resonates with luxury customers has been elusive. After the recent collapses of FTX and Bitcoin, it occasionally looks as if we’re all floating in the same air.
However, a small percentage of recent digital newcomers operate differently. Zero10, an augmented reality (AR) fashion platform developed by George Yashin and scheduled for delivery in 2020, aims to bridge the gap between traditional and digital fashion with its try-on technology. Alice Delahunt, a former digital executive at Ralph Lauren, will launch her augmented, real, and digital fashion firm Syky in 2023. Then there is London-based Xydrobe. Here, we analyze one of the most promising players who may revolutionize your shopping habits.
What is Xydrobe?
Xydrobe, pronounced “zai-drobe,” claims to offer “a physical location and experience that will enhance your luxury clothes experience.” The enterprise consists of a physical and a digital component.
Initially, a “Xydrobe” is a 2.5-meter-diameter fiberglass sphere that can be entered. It fits males in the 99th % for height and has wheelchair-accessible entrances. Once inside, you can either stand or sit. In addition to the nine surround sound speakers, there is a scent machine, a temperature and wind machine, a premium headset that detects eye movement, and a scent machine that allows brands to house smells or reflect the environment with a particular smell. Customers are guided through the digital experience using visual and audible indicators.
” Inside these Xydrobes will be customized virtual experiences, whereby customers can get access to a unique landscape that the brands have designed themselves that can either speak to the history or future of the brand, its present day, but it doesn’t look anything like a shop,” according to Wallpaper CEO Nell Lloyd-Malcolm. It is entirely their choice. Customers will have access to genuine items, such as exclusive Xydrobe editions and other gems that can foster a better relationship with the brand.
The appeal is broad. Lloyd-Malcolm states, “At the moment, we are mostly working and talking with top-tier luxury brands that span from fashion, jewelry, real estate, beauty, automobiles, to fragrance. The traction we’ve had to date has been a resounding yes from every single one of our brands.’ Eight luxury brands – a founding brand partner for each luxury vertical with multiple retail locations – have signed up for a fleet of Xydrobes (all currently under NDA). The list of confirmed brands for the ‘at home’ headset application, due to launch in 2024, is already extensive.”
Xylab, pronounced “zai-lab,” was founded as a sister brand of Xydrobe to accommodate the rush of requests from businesses seeking assistance with a wide range of increasingly complicated digital needs. According to Chief Marketing Officer Michael Pegrum, Xylab is the best entry point for brands that seek to analyze their NFTs and Web3 strategy, as well as retail-based VFX content and digital or LED experiences.
If a brand lacks the confidence or knowledge to create its own digital experience internally, Xydrobe can create digital and sensory worlds for it. CBO Isabella Gallucci said, “Brands we’ve been working with so far are trusting us a lot creatively with what their worlds might be like and what they could create within that experience because they don’t have pre-existing teams that already work in this kind of environment.”
Who is behind Xydrobe?
The team of young and creative people behind Xydrobe is extraordinary. Over a decade ago, CEO Lloyd-Malcolm worked as a visual effects producer on Hollywood productions such as Star Wars and Mission: Impossible. She began her career as a coffee runner in the visual effects department at Pinewood Studios, delivering coffee to the facial motion capture artist who worked on Lupita Nyong’o’s Star Wars character, Maz Kanata. During this period, she acquired direct experience from the finest VFX professionals. Former luxury fashion stylist Gallucci, CBO, spent almost seven years at e-commerce titan Matches Fashion. Pegrum, the chief marketing officer, has over 15 years of experience in PR and marketing for firms such as Vivienne Westwood and Perry Ellis. She also has an extensive global network of contacts in the luxury industry.
Since meeting at Vivienne Westwood and a foundation course, the Shoreditch, east London-based trio have been pals for more than a decade. Lloyd-Malcolm contacted Gallucci and Pegrum with her concept to unite Hollywood’s VFX prowess and luxury fashion’s yearning for the future in early spring of 2021. She adds that we all had distinct skill sets that we didn’t share, but that were essential to each of our three areas of competence.
Why is Xydrobe working?
Lloyd-Malcolm has always had a passion for fashion while being an expert in VFX and technology in general. ” The luxury consumer is very different from the gaming consume.” She was able to dispel a widespread assumption that many individuals had exploited to create failed businesses: “The luxury client is completely different from the gaming customer.” She had a foot in both worlds and was familiar with high-end fashion houses. In December 2021, the crew began work on an NFT of the Harry Styles JW Anderson cardigan that had sparked the internet. Since NFTs were so prevalent in the art world, it was only inevitable that the fashion industry would follow suit. As soon as the team understood how crucial it was to connect with customers through experience, they expedited their plan to ditch NFTs and focus on Web3 experiences that captivated the imagination.
Lloyd-Malcolm states, “We quickly recognized that the customer bases of someone who understands and appreciates luxury fashion, and someone who holds value with an NFT are two very different customer bases that have not yet overlapped. Brands and customers are way more interested and excited about the experience than they are actually about owning a piece of digital IP because that doesn’t relate to anything for most luxury fashion shoppers, they don’t have an avatar they can wear on.’ hem.”
In terms of technology, the team has tapped into the magic and science of virtual reality, which excites our synapses. ‘We know that VR memories are recognized as real memories. When you remember a VR experience, the brain recalls the real emotion of that moment.” The world asserted, “Everyone desires to have a terrific encounter.” Luxury shines in retail customer experience, but many new firms ignore it because they assume that technology and scale are the future. However, a future without human interaction will not exist since we will all be wearing VR headsets at home.
90% of premium brands continue to generate 70% of their sales via retail. Therefore, anything that may give a customer a level of brand understanding and a sensation that cannot be replicated in real life can be designed to enhance an already exceptional in-store experience. Who would not want that?
Beginning in the spring of 2023, clients and potential brands will be able to try a prototype Xydrobe in London. The identity of the exclusive fashion launch partner, a renowned French luxury fashion label, will be announced in the coming months. The Xydrobes rollout will commence in 2023 across North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom. In 2024, the at-home headset application will launch, providing customers with a multi-brand v-commerce experience from the comfort of their sofas.
Though the creation of digital products has a positive impact, the company’s grand vision is even more ambitious: “Our ultimate aim is that we produce a kind of ecosystem within brands, helping companies to produce 3D assets at scale for multiple purposes that means that they become more sustainable with the number of physical samples they’re creating,” says Lloyd-Malcolm. The company explains, “The ecosystem is important to us because it became very clear that for brands that engage with this on a long-term scale, we need to be able to produce something that’s going to sit inside their organizations using talent that they already have, rather than needing to pull resources out of the film industry, which is already a limited resource.”
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