Interview with Dmitry Kornilov, CEO & Co-Founder at FFFACE.ME
YOU SAY THAT USERS EXPERIENCE FASHION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA. HOW DOES FFFACE.ME CLOTHING SPECIFICALLY SUPPORTS THAT FINDING AND TREND?
Over the last twenty years, the main product of fashion changed. If before, it was a physical look or a photo in a physical magazine, now the main product of fashion is online content. As creative technologists, we constantly try to benefit from innovations and find new use cases that bring value to people and the industry. We’ve found that digital clothing doesn’t stick much because people still want their clothing to be something tangible. That is why we invested a lot in Semi-digital clothing, combining physical and digital fashion benefits. Now we see that this trend is growing. We know that we need to connect traditional fashion with the content creation process organically, and our mission is constantly to try, fail and succeed in developing new ways to do it. Right now, we’ve launched the first collection of digital clothing developed by our Virtual Human Astra Starr and AI. The next stop is Digital Clothing that can be printed with the help of a 3D printer.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE “METAMARKETING” TO BE? HOW WILL IT IMPACT THE AVERAGE CONSUMER? WHAT “ISSUES” WILL METAMARKETING FIX, AND HOW CAN IT RETIRE OLD MARKETING CAMPAIGNS?
Let’s define Metamarketing. Old-fashioned marketing was about pushing information into consumers’ minds to make them buy things. This marketing was a one-way road. People eventually became aware of how it worked and started to resist it. Marketing sees the consumer as an object for manipulation. Metamarketing, by definition, is marketing that is aware of its purpose and how people act nowadays. Metamarketing knows that people want to engage and have fun and integrates its communication messages into interactive experiences aligned with user behavior and psychological needs. Metamarketing sees the consumer as a subject, Metamarketing experience is a two-way road. To sum up, marketing retirement is happening gradually since people resist traditional advertising and engage more and more in innovative interactive Metamarketing experiences. Full retirement of an old school marketing will occur along with changing the primary basic device from the smartphone to VR Headset.
HOW DOES FFFACE.ME AR GARMENTS DIFFER FROM FASHION THAT IS DONE IN REAL LIFE? WHAT VALUE DOES DIGITAL FASHION PROVIDE?
Our Semi-digital clothing is a cross-dimensional thing. It combines the benefits of physical clothing, like tangibility, stylish design, and high-quality materials, with the benefits and opportunities that digital design brings – the ability to use materials that are not available IRL and add more than one digital layer to one physical clothing item. The last feature makes AR Clothing more sustainable. As we discussed before, the main product of fashion is content. So if we can create more types of unique content with the help of one physical clothing item with an AR layer, we could buy new physical clothing more rarely. By the way, we also try to scale this approach to other use cases. For example, we designed an AR Manicure that allows the creation of various beauty content without doing an actual manicure.
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT OF THIS TECH? WHAT HAS SOCIETY’S REACTION TO AR FASHION BEEN?
One of the most challenging lessons that humanity has received over the past 10 years regarding technology is digital dopamine dependence. That is based on a study by Dr. Lembke, who investigated the behavior of people from different countries. In a meeting or on a date, you see someone who takes out their phone and swipes. That’s already a physiological need, unfortunately. I’m guessing that in the end, Digital Fashion will continue this trend, and we must acknowledge and regulate these effects.
Regarding society’s reaction, I can say that people always act the same towards new technologies. Firstly they try to apply them to everything. And make literally everything Digital Fashion or everything Metaverse. Then they see that most use cases are not working and start to deny the whole thing. Then after a while, the first adequate and valuable use case occurs. Then everything happens with the snowball effect. The more people understand how technology works, the more they love it and actively create new use cases. People started to accept digital fashion more after full-body virtual try-on became available and found their place in online retail, like Amazon or Farftetch. So, I’d say that right now, Digital Fashion overpasses the stage of denial and enters the stage of moderate acceptance among the most progressive audience segments.
HOW ARE YOU REDUCING BARRIERS OF ENTRY TO AR GARMENTS FOR EVERYDAY USERS TO UNDERSTAND?
Reducing barriers is our primary mission. Because if people don’t do something naturally, they will never do it massively. They will never do it repeatedly, and the experience will not stick. The first thing we did during the design of AR clothing was to get rid of the external app downloading process from experience. We understood that people don’t download the apps, and even if the app allows a better design, we still need to use something the user already has in his pocket. That is how we understood that we should create everything based on Instagram functionality. Everyone has it, and everyone knows how to use it. Right now, we see that QR code scanning is the next stage we need to skip. Scanning a QR code is easy, but people don’t love doing it for some reason. So we’re looking for something as simple as opening your Shazam when the cool song plays.
HOW HAS SUSTAINABILITY PLAYED INTO DIGITAL FASHION? WHAT IS FFFACE.ME AND WEB3 TECH DOING TO ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS?
My position is clear here. We need to consume less, waste less energy and emit less trash than we do now. One of the main problems with clothing nowadays is that we wear them not until they functionally don’t work but until we like them. The life cycle of the clothing items is impermissibly short. This approach leads to cases when one clothing item can be produced for a single dressing. I believe that digital fashion and WEB3 will help to resolve this issue by adding the ability of digital clothing customization. This way, on a mental level, people will feel that their look is always fresh, while in terms of sustainability, the clothing item will serve until it is functionally over on a physical level.
HOW DO YOU SEE AR FASHION REDEFINING THE CURRENT FASHION INDUSTRY?
It opens so many doors. But also it creates so much noise. The main challenge for fashion brand managers is to find a way to overcome the noise, systematize all opportunities and attach the right technologies to the right points of contact with the audience. If this doesn’t happen, and digital fashion activity is disconnected from the overall communication ecosystem, the brand doesn’t benefit. Regarding the concrete changes, here are a couple. Fashion brands understand that content is more important than physical clothing items nowadays, so they invest a lot in 3D design and working with digital artists. They also understand that AR can help drive sales and be used for data collection and analysis. Again, the best example to prove the point is Amazon and Farfetch, which integrated virtual try-on into their fashion retail apps on a global level. Finally, they understand that their shows should become cross-platform experiences and play a lot with the idea of mixing online and offline. We also contributed a little by disrupting Milan Fashion Week with our trademark interactive Semi-digital clothing presentation.
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORKING WITH WEB2 BRANDS AND BRINGING THEM AND THEIR AUDIENCES SEAMLESSLY INTO THE WEB3 SPACE? WHAT DOORS DO YOU SEE THE METAVERSE OPENING FOR BRANDED EXPERIENCES AND EVENTS?
I genuinely believe that we need to look at technology beyond technology. We need to look at technology and talk about it through the lens of user behavior and the psychological needs of groups and individuals. And that is where this seamless integration is. It lies in understanding what new audiences, new digital-born people, usually do and don’t do. So with our clients and partners, we typically focus not on discussing technical opportunities but on discussing how people engage with them. In terms of branded metaverse experiences and events, I will say only one thing. They will become a big thing only when we will not need to invite people to Metaverse to visit these events. I think the greatest ever branded Metaverse event was Travis Scott’s show in Fortnite. And you know why it worked? Because people were already there before it even started. They were already there naturally because Fortnite offers them experiences they enjoy. So that is what we need to focus on. Not on the Metaverse. But on the desire and pleasure of our audiences that we can bring with the help of new technologies.