The First 'Clothingless' Store Is Popping Up in NYC

The First 'Clothingless' Store Is Popping Up in NYC

by Alexandra Hildreth

This New York Fashion Week, Crosby Studios will stage the first-ever "clothingless" pop-up shop in partnership with global AR platform ZERO10. Dubbed the "physical entrance to the metaverse," the store will be open by appointment starting September 7 in Soho, New York, featuring a capsule of five digital fashion pieces inspired by '90s video games and designed by Harry Nuriev.

Crosby Studios is a design firm known for multidisciplinary practices that merge fashion with interior design. You may recall the Balenciaga couch from Design Miami 2019 — a transparent, plastic couch stuffed with textile waste — that went viral, and drew the support of supermodel Bella Hadid and sparked a long-term collaborative relationship with Demna.

For this project, Nuriev merged Crosby Studios' signature design strategy with ZERO10's AR technology. Having also collaborated with designers like Barragán and Maisie Willen, ZERO10 wishes to produce a sustainable and creative digital world in fashion. Nuriev further credits Anastasia Pestrikova, his project manager, as an integral player in bringing their collaboration to life.

The pop-up specifically intends to shake up today's infrastructure of brick and mortar shopping. "Visitors of the space will be the first ones to try on the garments and experiment with different special effects only made possible through AR technology," ZERO10 writes on Instagram. "Fitting rooms designed specifically to match the collection are built to provide the pioneering and redefined customer experience."

New York's space will focus on building community and encouraging like-minded content creation without the superfluous processes of traditional retail. Instead of slow check-out lines or poorly designed furniture, guests will be encouraged to interact with AR aspects inside the physical space. Until recently, the shopping experience has been either exclusively physical or online. Now, "Online shopping has developed virtual retail spaces," Nuriev says. "Designing these is just as fascinating to me."

Over the past few years, especially in the midst of COVID, many fashion brands and retailers have begun to experiment with virtual experiences like Hanifa’s first-ever model-less runway show. Others like Balenciaga and Prada have also delved head-first into Web-3 by opening up shop in the Metaverse. Most brands are focused on making the clothing look as realistic as possible, however, Nuriev wants to do the opposite. He says he "embraces the AR aspect and is excited to work across both realms, bringing digital clothing into the physical retail space."

While inside the pop-up, guests will have the opportunity to enter "dressing rooms" and scan QR codes with their iPhones. They will then be given two options: they can either try the clothing on their body virtually or overlay the collection onto pre-existing images of themselves. The capsule will be available for sale through the ZERO10 app. Three of the items will be free of charge and one will be paid, and visitors can try it on after purchasing. The final item will be an NFT.

One major plus is retail accessibility. "Sometimes we don’t want to go out shopping, not because we are lazy or running short on time, but because we're just not 100% comfortable in a retail environment," Nuriev says. "This is mostly due to service, interior and even lighting missteps." By removing these obstacles, the store becomes a safer space for people. "I love how interior design meets and connects with fashion," he continues. "I also love dressing spaces and so this project is perfectly styled."

Photos courtesy of Crosby Studios/ZERO10