In life they say that timing is everything. And for The Fabricant, 2018, our inaugural year operating as a digital fashion house, seamlessly coincided with the rise of digital transformation across the global fashion industry.
The stunning creation that is @shudu.gram, the world’s first digital supermodel, starred in a campaign for Balmain and wore Tiffany jewellery for a shoot in Vogue. At the same moment, digitally-created teen influencer @lilmiquela stormed the fashion and music sectors while supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and gaining adoration from 1.5 million Instagram followers.
Groundbreaking human and computer design collaboration
The Fabricant added to the digital momentum when our co-founder and creative director, Amber-Jae Slooten, made the fashion and technology industries sit up and take notice with the DEEP Digital Fashion Collection. Using artificial intelligence algorithms, the creative experiment saw the world’s first collaboratively designed fashion collection between a human and a non-human – Amber essentially asking the computer to dream, learn and create alongside her. The resulting surreal digital collection exhibited at major fashion fairs across Europe throughout summer.
It was this work that also garnered The Fabricant attention at Dutch Design Week, northern Europe’s biggest design show. Of the thousands of exhibitors at the event, Amber was chosen as one of only 8 designers selected to participate in
De Toekomstbouwers (The Future Builders), a TV programme showcasing young design talents with ‘design visions that can change the future of humankind’.
Propelling luxury fashion storytelling into the 21st century
Further groundbreaking opportunities came our way when Hong Kong-based luxury fashion retailer ithk.com commissioned The Fabricant to digitally recreate a collection designed exclusively to celebrate its three decades at the helm of fashion in China.
It’s the first time a retailer of I.T’s scale and reach has favoured representing an entire collection solely in digital form, signalling an industry game changer away from 20th century product photography.
The garments, designed by labels including Marques Almeida, Helmut Lang and Alexander McQueen, were only seen in digital form both as a 60-second film created by The Fabricant showing the entire collection, and as individual 3D rendered still images. Ordering was available at unique digital-only pop-up stores at locations across China.
Compelling and sustainable, moving beyond the boundaries of reality
The Fabricant’s sustainability credentials came into play with a commission from Pakistan-based digital denim mill Soorty, suppliers to global retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger and C&A. As designers using nothing but data to create fashion collections and imagery, The Fabricant’s work exists beyond the current concepts of catwalks, photographers, studios and sample sizes. It was a proposition that naturally coexisted with Soorty’s innovative new Cradle-to-Cradle compliant Gold Standard denim fabric.
The 60-second film created by the Fabricant in response to Soorty’s brief premiered at the Kingpins conference, the global gathering for the denim industry. It showcased the look, texture and movement of the new denim while only existing in the non-physical digital realm. The use of 3D rendering to promote their product perfectly complimented Soorty’s mission of reducing fashion’s environmental impact via the use of sustainable practices.
Bringing physically dead couture back to digital life
An approach from design house Sadie Clayton threw up a new twist to The Fabricant’s exploration of the intersection between fashion and technology. Clayton had created a one-off couture copper and cobalt jacket that was stolen at a fashion event. Devastated by its loss and irreplaceability in the physical world, Clayton provided photographs of the piece to The Fabricant which allowed us to digitally recreate the jacket in fine 3D detail, ensuring the design and workmanship was archived for her design catalogue.
2019 - The digital future is now
With the dawn of 2019 imminent, Bloomberg predicts that it will be the year when members of Generation Z outnumber Millennials for the first time, making up 2.47 billion of the 7.7 billion people on the planet. Representing individuals born after 1997, they are the world’s first generation of true digital natives. The Fabricant’s second year of operations promises a multitude of creative opportunities as groundbreaking fashion and lifestyle brands explore new digital avenues. Generation Z’s awareness of the digital realm and its endless possibilities for self-expression and creativity are utterly instinctive. The Fabricant can’t wait to co-create with this new wave of collaborators who already helping to shape our digital identities in the years to come.