Clare Tattersall is the founder of Digital Fashion Week NY, a lens through which we view the future of fashion, and explore innovation in the fashion industry from design concept to consumer. With two decades of experience innovating at the intersection of fashion design technology, she develops tools, strategies and platforms to influence the future of the fashion industry and make the world a better place.
Before founding Digital Fashion Week NY, she co-created a software to align the design-to-sales process into a single virtual experience and was named one of Columbia University Tech Ventures' portfolio startups. She consults with designers and brands to create smart garments and has launched workshops for young designers to explore engineering and technology through learning fashion design and wearable tech.
In our interview with Clare, we explore her career as a fashion entrepreneur and early metaverse adopter.
Hello Clare. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. Please tell us what originally peaked your interest in Fashion, NFTs and the Metaverse in general?
Clare: I have been working in digital fashion since 2009 when I launched my first company, ThunderLily, to create a design software for independent designers that allowed them to sketch and launch in 24 hours at zero cost. So all the design, testing, marketing and sales were done in the same virtual space. Only when an order came in, did money change hands and each item was made on demand.
Of course, the technology that we built then was a very early version of what designers are working with today. So I have long been at the intersection of fashion and technology, it is a relatively unique space and the evolution is quite obvious when I look back, although I would never have envisioned it ending up here.
Fashion is not just about functionality, it is about creative expression, so once we solve the basic issues of functionality in the Metaverse, then how people express themselves creatively will flourish. - Clare Tattersall
The concept of the Fashion Meterverse is relatively new. Please tell us what the Fashion Metaverse is all about?
Clare: The definition of the Metaverse is a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. How we interact there is what is really interesting. For me, the Metaverse is a place where we can build human connections and explore more visually creative opportunities for fashion. Fashion is not just about functionality, it is about creative expression, so once we solve the basic issues of functionality in the Metaverse, then how people express themselves creatively will flourish.
I have long been at the intersection of fashion and technology, it is a relatively unique space and the evolution is quite obvious when I look back… - Clare Tattersall
Has your Entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any past or present business leaders?
Clare: Interesting question. I am an avid listener of the "How I built this" podcast. There are several key points that are very influential for me, primarily that all of the entrepreneurs kept going and found ways to "make it work", they pounded the pavement (so to speak) and kept building, stayed creative and are always humble.
What key challenges have you faced as an Entrepreneur, and how have you navigated these?
Clare: The challenges keep on coming. Being an Entrepreneur means that you are constantly navigating challenge and change, and the only way to navigate is to be nimble and agile. While we need a plan, we also need to be able to change that plan when necessary. As an Entrepreneur, I try to look at each challenge as an opportunity to grow and learn, they are just hurdles that are going to make me better or not. You never know the outcome of challenges, it may always end in failure, but avoiding that is a very motivating factor.
You launched the Digital Fashion Week NY in 2020. Please tell us what this company does and how it fits into the Fashion Metaverse?
Clare: Digital Fashion Week NY is a lens through which we can view the future of the fashion industry. It is a showcase of the digitization of the fashion industry from concept to consumer. We host Metaverse exhibitions, where virtual panel discussions take place and where we have a virtual movie theatre to screen the fashion animations.
We build experiences like "body scanning" for models, which we held in partnership with Modern Mirror in February, so that models can own their own image in the Metaverse.
We create experiences by engaging innovative technology. These experiences change the way you interact with fashion, with the way you design it, buy it and wear it. Our September event is called "Into the Metaverse", where we show how you can take your fashion into the Metaverse as both a designer and a consumer, this is what everyone wants to know right now.
Before concluding this interview, is there anything else you would like to add about the Fashion Metaverse?
Clare: There is only one Metaverse, but there are many Metaverse experiences. I don't think there is a Fashion Metaverse, but fashion will play an increasingly important role as we seek more ways to express our humanity. The technology for hosting fashion in the Metaverse is still in development, it is going to evolve constantly over the next couple of years, so everyone (designer to consumer) should get involved, if only by staying connected and informed.
Thank you Clare for participating in this Q&A session. We wish you all the best.
Clare: Thank you for inviting me.
There is only one Metaverse, but there are many Metaverse experiences. I don't think there is a Fashion Metaverse, but fashion will play an increasingly important role as we seek more ways to express our humanity. - Clare Tattersall
This article was originally published in Issue 13 of The Business Anecdote magazine.
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