Digital design has opened new doors for designers and creators seeking to enter the fashion industry through alternative channels. Although tools and technology continue to develop around this reasonably new method of creation, the medium now offers almost limitless design opportunities. It provides creators with a free space to explore.
Many took to this form of fashion digitization, especially during the pandemic, when working from home became the norm and concerns about sustainability and environmental issues grew. For those who did, it did not necessarily become a substitute for traditional design but rather an extension of their work. It offered another avenue to explore their personality as a designer in a more open format.
FashionUnited spoke to three digital designers making waves in the industry about how they got started, how they’ve translated their values, and how they see the future of digital fashion.
Davina India: “Digitization cannot be stopped.”
The work of German-based designer Davina India combines futuristic and organic forms, drawing inspiration from the art of nature and imagining what life might be like on other planets. Her path to digital design grew out of her love of fashion-forward silhouettes, an interest she discovered during her studies in Fashion Design. The clothing shapes she wanted to make weren’t moldable from conventional materials, the designer explained to FashionUnited. Hence, she dove into the world of 3D digital design, an area she hadn’t yet explored, as she strove to experiment and create. Garments that defy the laws of physics.
Comparing digital to the physical design, India said it gave her endless opportunities and freedom in her design process. When building a piece, for example, he explained that you could keep applying new ideas that change the shape, which gives you experimental freedom. “The future is digital,” she said of the importance of this method. “Digitalization cannot be stopped. Sooner or later it will influence all aspects of our lives. Today you can even buy digital land, so I guess we can also imagine what the future will be like.” In the case of fashion, “it is and will be the most sustainable way of creating fashion.”
Although her designs are not yet available for purchase, she said there were several photographers, stylists, and magazines who had shown interest in her digital clothing and body editing. When asked how she envisions the future of her work, India noted that she wants to develop her design in both physical and digital spaces, adding: “I would like to produce my digital pieces in real life as well. That includes props and more. Already We’ll see what happens.”
Xtended Identity: “Our goal is to extend everyone’s identity.”
Xtended Identity is a female-led digital design lab co-founded by creative trio Yunjia Xing, Ziqi Xing, and Aria Bao after meeting during a master’s in London. The collective came together to develop a digital showroom for their work after pandemic-related difficulties prevented them from displaying their designs. Then, they began to realize the breadth of what digitization could do, with Ziqi Xing noting, “It’s actually opening up more possibilities and opportunities for young designers.”
While the group prioritizes building its brand image, it continues to explore its mythical design aesthetic, often characterized by pastel tones and fanciful shapes, elements that, according to Xing, the group’s designer, have fitted naturally with the public that has discovered them. “We can design things that don’t really exist, that go against gravity, time and space,” Xing said. “Our goal is to expand everyone’s identity and digital footprint.”
Users can wear the group’s digital garments through real-time augmented reality (AR) filters, a medium the trio believes has a lot to offer and something Xing said he would continue to work with in the future. According to the designer, AR tools have also allowed the group to work on their goal of developing “phygital” products. This element has been prominent in previous collaborations with other brands and designers, allowing them to bring physical items to life in the digital world.
Now, the collective is preparing to launch a non-fungible token (NFT) in its first exploration of Web3 while also looking to the future and where it will be in both the gaming industry and the gaming world. Fashion. For Xing, the most crucial factor is that they strongly represent women and the LGBTQ community in the digital landscape, expressing their values and efforts to a diverse audience. “We want to build a strong ecosystem for our audience and our brand,” Xing concluded.