Institute of Digital Fashion Are Innovating Couture For a New World
Fashion's digital revolution has only been accelerated by the pandemic. In May 2020, designer Anifa Mvuemba went viral with her 3D fashion show. Come July, and couture fashion week became one of the first events to be shifted online, with designers forced to find new ways to translate their creations digitally. Just a few weeks ago, Valentino used artificial intelligence to present their couture collection as an audio-visual artwork. Whilst storied houses are playing catch up, creative director Leanne Elliott Young and digital designer CattyTay have always been ahead of the curb. Today, the co-founders of the think tank Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) announced their latest collaboration with August Getty Atelier.
The Los Angeles-based couture house have partnered with IoDF - who just last month launched a digital space using AR technology with the cult online retailer MACHINE-A for London Fashion Week - to present a new realm for their couture to live within. They're in safe hands that's for sure. Young has a long resume of creating digital activations which bridge IRL and URL spaces for brands such as Liam Hodges, whilst Tay is the director of 3-D animation studio DIGI-GXL, a creative agency ran by womxn, trans folk and non-binary designers.
The IoDF digital atelier comprises of 3D artists who worked closely with the August Getty atelier, and together they have rendered the hand crafted couture creations into digital garments; thread by thread, chain by chain, crystal by crystal. Softwares such as ZBrush and Substance Painter aided the team in replicating the physical garment in the highest level of detail possible.
'For the couture garments, we received a muslin from the AGA atelier team, we physically investigated, pulled apart and tested the individual pattern layers. Our 3D garment specialist team then set about recreating these pieces into bespoke 3D objects, dissecting each part – it’s like being the architect but then also making every brick. The assets we create, you can then reposition, drape, resize, animate and manipulate them', Tay explains.
The resulting project, TINITUS, illustrates how tradition and modernity are not mutually exclusive, and together, can in fact create a more inclusive space for fashion to be communicated within.
For August Getty, it was important that the models we see in the digital space were representative of people today, and more specifically, their immediate community.
'I want to be more outspoken for my people, I needed to show a trans man, a trans woman, and more non-binary people. I’m creating this place, this platform, where they are the kings and queens, I wanted to create a world safe from judgement and bias where you are free to be yourself', the designer says.
The avatars featured in the digital space represent the marginalised and under-represented. Reassignment surgery scars are proudly visible, alongside a pregnant trans gendered figure. Who said couture couldn't be for everyone.
Experience the collection here.