Catty Taylor & Leanne Elliott Young

Founders, The Institute of Digital Fashion
United States
Listed Since
Leanne Elliott-Young and Cat Taylor, also known as Cattytay, joined forces in September 2019, finding common ground on the future of fashion during a panel discussion about Web3. Representing their respective entities – creative hub CommuneEast and digital artist network Digi-Gxl – they recognized a shared vision for the metaverse and wearable digital assets, setting the foundation for a dynamic partnership.

In response to their shared frustrations and aspirations, the duo established the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) in 2020, headquartered in London. IoDF has emerged as a pioneering digital fashion think-tank, specializing in implementing Web3 strategies for a diverse clientele, including social media platforms, luxury fashion brands, and retailers such as Calvin Klein and Meta.

Focusing on diversity and inclusion within fashion-tech, IoDF collaborates with a varied network of digital creators to develop Web3 fashion strategies. The company has experienced explosive growth, projecting sales of £7 million in the current year, marking a remarkable 677 percent increase from £900,000 in 2021. As IoDF closes in on its seed funding round, prepares to launch a talent agency arm, and eyes £20 million in sales for 2023, it navigates challenges in convincing clients to see the value of Web3 beyond marketing activations and NFTs.

IoDF conducts in-depth post-mortems with every fashion brand, delving into the motivations behind entering the metaverse and the desired outcomes of specific activations. Leanne Elliott-Young emphasizes the importance of building a brand narrative tailored to the metaverse and storytelling in a unique way. The company stands among a select group of digital fashion startups that have led the charge in bringing Web3 to luxury fashion, alongside The Fabricant and DressX.

IoDF's portfolio includes noteworthy projects such as digital AR looks and NFTs for the Fashion Awards, creating a virtual store for Machine-A, and an NFT for womenswear label Roksanda. Collaborating with TikTok, Snap, and Meta, IoDF translates digital assets into their platforms. Notably, IoDF's collaboration with the British Fashion Council resulted in the creation of Auraboros, an AR Snapchat filter for wearing digital couture during London Fashion Week.

The journey of IoDF began with a small team and a network of freelance digital makers, seizing the opportunity presented by the demand for digital fashion experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite initial skepticism from the industry, IoDF persisted in its mission to shift the semantics of fashion and change the perception of Web3. The company is currently in talks with five investors for its seed funding round.

IoDF advocates for the harmonious integration of physical and virtual worlds. Its primary focus lies in metaverse strategy, guiding the fashion industry's transition into Web3 by consulting with fashion and tech C-suites, preparing them for long-term strategies, and executing activations, ranging from AR experiences to NFTs. In the evolving landscape of Web3, IoDF emphasizes the need for big brands to commit meaningfully to the metaverse, understanding that competition extends beyond traditional boundaries.

IoDF faces challenges in steering luxury brands away from viewing Web3 as a mere marketing ploy. Leanne Elliott-Young stresses the need for a genuine commitment to the metaverse, urging brands to recognize the business growth potential in metaverse-focused objectives. IoDF aims to engage directly with C-suite executives, bypassing the hurdles encountered when dealing with PR and marketing teams driven by seasonal trends, emphasizing that Web3 should be regarded as a vital business driver alongside traditional e-commerce.

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