London Fashion Week was the first on the calendar to go digital last year, and as the London fashion circuit gears up for a round of co-ed, fully digital shows, the ideas incubator Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) and fashion concept store MACHINE-A have teamed up to support some of London's most treasured designers.
Founded in 2013 by Stavros Karelis in London's Soho, MACHINE-A is renowned for nurturing new brands and talents, curating them alongside more established brands with cult followings. Partnering with IoDF, which was founded by Leanne Elliott Young and CattyTay last year with the purpose of finding solutions to what they describe as a broken fashion system. IoDF build new digital spaces for brands to tell their stories within by creating activations using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Previous to teaming up, Young founded CommuneEast, which quickly became the go-to for innovative activations in the fashion sphere, for example, collaborating with ART SCHOOL and Liam Hodges on custom AR filters. Tay is the director of 3-D animation studio DIGI-GXL, a creative agency ran by womxn, trans folk and non-binary designers, who have created campaigns for the likes of Selfridges and Nike.
The collaboration between IoDF and MACHINE-A will bring an immersive spin to a digital season of shows, bridging the space between IRL and URL. With showrooms and physical runways a thing of the past, for now, IoDF and MACHINE-A will be offering a selection of London's most exciting designers a unique space in which to showcase their A/W 21 collections. Embracing technology head on, expect to discover the work of Martine Rose, Richard Quinn, Per Götesson, Paula Canovas Del Vas, A-COLD-WALL*, Goom Heo, Delada, SWEETLIMEJUICE, Cameron Williams, Johanna Parv and Eftychia in a whole new light.
'Digital fashion is not about trying to imitate the feeling of the IRL fashion world. It is about exploring a vast number of creative possibilities that are unique; encouraging new ways of engaging with the industry and how we can create a community that is much more inclusive. I can't think of anyone better to work on this with other than the Institute of Digital Fashion. MACHINE-A is all about placing creativity within London talent. It is central to our existence. It’s exactly what this project with IoDF highlights', explains Karelis.
Accessible via Instagram, the swanky virtual space, created using AR, will invite visitors to experience the ideas and craftsmanship behind the London designers who IoDF and MACHINE-A have selected as the season's voices of the future. Stepping beyond the technological capabilities of the Instagram filters we've previously experienced, the project presents the A/W 21 season in detail via key interactive elements such as intimate sound bites. Notably, it will be globally accessible, putting London designers on an international stage, something which Karelis and MACHINE-A have long pioneered. Is this what fashion retail looks like in a digital future?
'In a time where the fashion calendar feels very flat and with the industry questioning what fashion means today, we wanted to elevate the voices of talents, dissecting just that. An important part of our work and mission at IoDF is to democratise the fashion landscape, evaluating how tech can be used to push past some of the archaic structures that the fashion industry as a whole is transfixed upon', explains Elliott Young.
'The concept was built from the core values of IoDF; we wanted to elevate the work through innovation using new digital technologies to present future fashions in a live space, both in IRL and URL. Using AR we were able to simulate a fashion environment, showcasing the designers work with MACHINE-A in an augmented, interactive space. Using traditional campaign spaces allowed for us to democratise fashion and support designers, particularly in the wake of COVID-19' says CattyTay.
The fun doesn't stop there, as the project has been quite literally plastered across the streets of London. Billboards and posters across Broadway Market, Peckham Levels, Brick Lane and Hackney Road invite the everyday passersby to scan QR codes which will direct them to the experience via Instagram, getting both fashion and non-fashion folk involved wherever they may be.
Stay tuned toIoDF for more.