Christopher Bevans recalls a time when he was flying from Portland to New York only to discover he had left his wallet at home. Using his passport as his ID, and his smartphone for payments, he was able to get around without a problem. At the crux of this story is what inspired Bevans to use technology in the designs of his men’s luxury athleisure brand, DYNE.
Bevans is no novice to the fashion scene. His resume boasts experiences such as design director for Nike’s streetwear line, collaborator with Kanye West, and creator for Sean John, Billionaire Boys Club and Rocawear. But what led him to found his own label was his obsession with making clothing that operates on all sides of every threshold: fabric, fit and function.
"Day-to-day life has become so much more dependent on smartphones. How could your apparel, your outfit, your look work in conjunction with your life?"
To achieve this liminality, Bevans uses very specific materials for his designs. Each garment in DYNE’s collection is made up of high-end, smart fabrics with antimicrobial and wicking properties, waterproof fibers and reflectivity. These fabrics are sourced from Swiss textile maker, Schoeller, whose materials take into consideration the energy given off by wearers as they exercise. All of DYNE’s garments use some type of Schoeller textile in them. Additional materials include aquaguard zippers, mesh paneling, water resistant wool, reflectivity and other technical elements.
The careful choice and curation of fabrics for each piece speak to the function of the individual items. Though an athleisure apparel brand, DYNE’s clothing leans more heavily on techwear. Reflective elements allow for visibility at any time of day, wicking materials keep the garments dry and cool, breathable components keep the clothing fresh, and the integration of Schoeller fabrics adds a functional quality that can return lost energy in the form of infrared rays to the wearer.
Bevans clearly put a lot of thought into the design of each of his garments, especially when considering the materials used to craft the perfect marriage between fabric, fit and function. However, Bevans wanted to offer customers more than just high-tech fabrics and cutting-edge silhouettes. While anyone could appreciate the innovative design of the collection, it was hard to understand its deeper value from the surface. Bevans wanted to communicate to customers and retailers the philosophy behind each garment, the materials used and the brand identity, but found it challenging to easily relay the information to them. This led to difficulties in selling DYNE’s collection as retail employees were not equipped with the knowledge to explain to customers what made the pieces so valuable.
"We’re a technology company doing apparel”
Bevans explained how this was a real hurdle for the brand in surpassing the next threshold of their growth. To overcome this challenge, Bevans envisioned a way for DYNE to transform its garments so consumers could connect digitally with the product and brand through their smartphones. Embarking on this transformation was a way to drive higher engagement between customers and DYNE, educate users on product quality, and improve repeat purchases and customer loyalty.
To make this vision come to life, Bevans partnered with Blue Bite to embed each of his pieces with a digital identity powered by NFC, or near field communication. This identity is often referred to as an experience because it augments and enhances the experience of owning an item. Each product experience was designed and built on the Blue Bite platform. The decision to physically insert experiences into DYNE garments only further entrenched the brand in its technological, forward looking philosophy. The NFC chips were embedded in each garment underneath the DYNE logo, symbolically demonstrating that the experience comes from the brand. The chips’ strategic placement also established a direct connection with customers when they tapped the logo with their smartphone to reveal the digital experience.
In this way, Bevans was able to communicate the exact materials and fabrication techniques used in the garment, and the enhanced capabilities they provide. The experience also communicated to customers DYNE’s brand philosophy. Included in the experience was the full line lookbook, allowing customers to browse other pieces in the collection and opt to purchase them right on the spot. Each garment had a specially curated Soundcloud playlist to enhance the experience of owning a DYNE item, and live social feeds like Instagram, Twitter, and Weibo so customers could remain up to date on the brand in real-time. (Weibo, Bevans clarified, was an important addition as 65% of their revenue comes from Asian markets). The DYNE team was able to build this cohesive and robust experience using the Blue Bite Experience Studio.
DYNE saw a $400,000 annual sales increase as a result of using Blue Bite
Since implementing NFC into his collections in 2016, and using Blue Bite to build and power the experience, Bevans has seen a huge shift in DYNE customer engagement and overall revenue. In the first year of introducing the technology, DYNE saw a $400,000 annual sales increase as a result of using Blue Bite. Additionally, using Blue Bite proved to be an exceptional way to leverage existing content. Blue Bite’s system works off of templates so platform users need only to design an experience once, instead of having to create a content page for each individual item. Moreover, the platform dynamically fills in the template with content to optimize interactions by customers. DYNE was able to save nearly $27,000 in content creation, and saw an overall ROI of 219%.
DYNE’s partnership with Blue Bite allowed DYNE to transform its products into an effective communication channel to directly reach customers after the point of purchase. The experiences increased brand awareness, driving a 250% increase in traffic to the DYNE website and effectively driving down the cost to acquire customers. Embedding NFC into the collection gave the brand a competitive advantage over 85% of its competitors, and helped close 80% of deals that would have likely not closed without Blue Bite. Also, by enabling its garments, DYNE was able to elevate its brand and partner with Samsung for its 2017 fashion show which highlighted the clothing’s interactivity.
“DYNE’s pieces are so extremely innovative”
Recently, DYNE won the prestigious 2018 International Woolmark prize for Innovation, a title also held by Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent. The collection won for its technological feats in both fabric and technology. The integration of technology into DYNE garments, the panel of judges noted, captured the essential need for brands to incorporate both innovation and commerciality in their products. “[DYNE’s] pieces were so extremely innovative,” said Kate Lanphear, a Woolmark Prize judge and brand consultant and strategist. It is that innovation that lies at the heart of DYNE’s success.
DYNE’s brand, much like Rome, was not built in a day. With years of experience cultivated at different fashion houses, Bevans was able to make key and informed decisions about the fit, function and fabric of his brand. Through introducing digital experiences into his products, Bevans infused deeper meaning into the function of his apparel. More than just elevated sportswear, he was able to transform his garments into a content channel to connect with customers. His innovative thinking led him to create a fashion product that brought greater value to the wearer while also giving his brand greater insight into its customers. In an interview with The Root, Bevans said he views DYNE as “a technology company doing apparel.” With that vision, it is safe to say digital experiences are a lasting and integral part of this burgeoning design house’s creations.