EXCLUSIVE: Oscar de la Renta Gets Into Gaming via Drest Partnership

Adriana Lee

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Oscar de la Renta has officially stepped into fashion gaming, thanks to a new partnership with Drest. The latter will feature the luxury brand’s spring 2020 collection as part of its designer styling game.

As many as 38 pieces will grace the action, which has participants accessing and taking on various styling challenges and creating mood boards.

The timing seems apt. As the coronavirus crisis resurges, brands and retailers continue to look for new ways to digitally reach consumers. Over the years, gaming has become an intriguing way for designers to stay connected with the public.

“At Oscar de la Renta, we believe that technology and innovation are vital to fashion,” Mayer Campbell, Oscar de la Renta’s head of social media, told WWD. “We constantly explore new ways to engage with our existing community and tell our story to a broader audience.”

Although the partnership signifies the brand’s first official foray into gaming, it’s not the first time gamers have encountered de la Renta looks, with spring 2017 popping up in the Dress Up Who online game geared for young girls. But that inclusion, which leaned more into an animated style of aesthetic, did not stem from an official partnership with the design house.

For that, the brand turned to Lucy Yeomans, formerly of British Harper’s Bazaar and Net-a-porter magazine Porter. The fashion editor-turned-fashion gaming chief founded U.K.-based Drest last year and soft-launched last fall with roughly 130 premium labels, including Burberry, Gucci, Prada, Stella McCartney and Valentino, among others.

Most of the brands came via Farfetch, which provides product photos and fashion assets, in addition to handling transactions. Gucci was the exception, as the company’s first direct partnership with a designer label.

Now with more than four seasons represented across more than 200 brands — including Bottega Veneta, Off-White, Loewe, Chloé, Thom Browne, in addition to the previous labels — and the addition of de la Renta, Drest appears to be upping its fashion game.

“Collaborating with the Drest platform allows us to connect with our current audience for a new wave shopping experience and, at the same time, interact with potential customers on this pioneering front,” Campbell added.

Not that there aren’t challenges. Carrying on during a pandemic can be tough, and COVID-19 has indeed created some delays for the game developer. But Drest promises that the Oscar de la Renta “pre-fall drop” will be loaded as early as possible — which may be key for a content-led game that relies on featuring the newest products and popular trends.

For the fledgling developer, this latest partnership may help validate its unique approach to fashion gaming.

“I am delighted that Oscar de la Renta — one of America’s most iconic luxury fashion houses — is embracing the virtual world of Drest,” said Yeomans, creator, founder and chief executive officer.

“Having dressed generations of incredible women from first ladies Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama to those walking the red carpet, the brand is renowned for statement style that will enhance our digital assortment even further,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how our users style with Oscar de la Renta’s breathtaking designs and create their own unique fashion stories.”

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