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Why ByteDance Failed in Fashion

Pheagee was developed by ByteDance, the parent company of Douyin, and was affiliated with Shanghai Boiling Silence Technology Co., Ltd. The platform announced that it would cease operations and services on April 19 “due to the company’s business needs.”

The users were advised to save all their information such as wearables, try-on pictures, and videos as soon as possible before the cutoff date. Since the announcement, new users haven't been able to register on the site, and existing users aren't able to purchase items. The platform will provide a channel for full refunds.

Pheagee was launched on June 6, 2022, and released digital fashion pieces from several top Chinese designer brands, including eyewear label Percy Lau, as well as individual creators. Members were able to save their virtual clothes in a “closet” and “wear” them by uploading photos. The platform also encouraged users to share their virtual looks and fashion opinions, with the aim of creating an active online community of fashion enthusiasts.

The platform arrived at a time when several Chinese companies were creating their own meta-spaces to showcase digital fashion offerings, including Xiaohongshu’s popular digital collectibles platform R-Space. Unfortunately, it ultimately failed to resonate with China’s domestic consumers and achieve mainstream success.

According to the article, “With waning speculation in the metaverse and no solid profit model having been developed, platforms like Pheagee that lack diverse application scenarios and practical benefits have inevitably lost their charm.” The failure of Pheagee highlights a lesson to those pushing into China’s virtual fashion and digital collectibles scene.

Traditional consumers felt excluded as they weren’t familiar with the technological principles needed to work the app, while many experienced Web3 enthusiasts were simply not interested in the cultural aspects of digital fashion design.

Pheagee’s closure also shows that most consumers in the mainland are still attracted to physical products. Those wishing to survive in the nascent sector need two pivotal factors to succeed: firstly, the delivery of something that is exclusive in an increasingly saturated market, and secondly, the development of a long-term program that can endure the market’s volatility, which is easier said than done.

Written By:  Coco Moore

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