Process Blog    [From newest to oldest]

Live, movable and wearable, digital head piece
A first step in moevable fashion. From this I now want to expand this coded program to work on more bodily forms instead of headpieces. 

Adapted speculative diagrams for my conceptual positioning 
Helping me visualise my positioning and thoughts within these design ideologies  

Entry for Exhibition Publication
Digital Fashion // Harry Fisher
Dear future friend, someone that knows what will be.

I have many questions about the future, about a world where the virtual isn’t locked behind a screen, about how we will express ourselves when we aren’t our physical selves. I am starting to see this future around me, but it offers more questions than answers. So, with this worry, I’ve made my own answers.

I think about what will happen to fashion when society uploads. Ever since the pandemic, many parts of our lives have moved onto websites, video chats and social media. Fashion is the materialisation of personality, style, and individuality. It has been here for as long as we have, through more than just clothes, but for the first time now it is not material. The digital object has become its own entity, functioning with creation, sales, ownership, use and disposal. All of which without ever being touched.

Today we witness the first signs of the de-materialisation of clothing. We are beginning to see digital garments sold online, ‘worn’ in a single picture and shared on social media. Is this what the future looks like? Does this still count as fashion? Material clothing holds memories, personality, and identity. I believe this must transcend into the virtual realm for any future of digital fashion to succeed. Yet the current digital fashion industry appears to market only to curiosity sales instead of the development of fashion.

I think about the future of digital fashion because, in my mind, it is inevitable. Technology is advancing faster than we can account for, and without thought, fashion has already moved online in so many ways. I analyse some of the effects of this industry that’s in its early stages. Additionally, I develop on from what is currently available with my own work, exploiting new technologies to visualise this future that is quickly being formed. Creating my own world to see what can be. The social acceptance of digital fashion in my world is a speculation, to analyse the effects of these objects if put into wide use. However, the programs and objects I’ve created are real and very possible, bringing to light how close this reality really is.

Digital fashion brings the hope of an industry that causes less social and environmental damage, but this is still far from being realised. The current garments available lack movement, wearability, and an emotional connection. These have become some of the driving factors behind my work. I hope to produce a system of digital fashion that is more conscious of its existence and the future it is forming. One that resides with the most important features of material fashion, allowing self-expression to transcend to the virtual realm. As all design is future making, causing ripples that shape the probable, plausible and possible futures. All objects, interventions and systems that are created hold the future at stake. And that my friend, is what inspires me to speculate.

Allowing me to take the first steps in expressing  my project through writting, before working on the viva.

Images that summarise project for publication 

First look at 4th zine (unfinished)

Wearing moveable virtual garments in real time (cover of 4th magazine)
A development I’m really proud of, as this form is worn in real time and effective in appearnce. Bringing up exciting possibilites with other forms in the future.

Developing the moving virtual headpiece 
Process of playing with many diferent forms to see what is successful in acomodating movement.

Green garment for virtual projection, and chrome ball for HDR lighting recording to support virtual appearances 

The digital work uniform 
Second iteration, bringing up questions of how this virtual space, made for fashion expression, could be exploited for marketing and capatlism. 

Edited Facebook Glasses ad
Research and an exploration. I play with footage on Augmented Reality specualtions to fit my narrative. 

Some developments of clothing reponsive to AI emotions reader 

Green Garments, the functional clothing left in material world 

Energy Looms 
Making exploration more presentable, building this narrative. 

Energy Loom Explaination (writting)
        Digital clothing uses no real fabric, creates no washing and leaves no waste. There is only one requirement - energy. Following societies shift online we have seen a governmental dedication to clean energy in 2023. However, we are not at 100% and energy sources still come with negative attributions of habitat damage and creation costs. Here at Vogue we have spoken to truly sustainable advocates in the fashion industry and observed their design practices. A method we are greatly enticed by is the Energy Loom. An adaptation of material weaving practices, this seasons must have is a traditional loom that has been modified to produce energy and perform as a desk. Acts of traditional clothing design have been translated for the new fashion designer by facilitating digital design. The energy is produced by repetitive pressing of the foot pedal, which once would have changed the looms weaving patterns to produce complex imagery. Now, the foot pedal spins a generator which simultaneously charges for computer and work station as you weave virtual fabrics.
        The imagery created with this advanced desk, documents the journey the fashion industry has made in the past couple years. As weaving practices formed the foundations of the clothing industry, creating fabric, the ingredients to create and experiment. Juxtaposed with todays requirements for digital clothing - energy forms every stitch and pixel needed for all digital fashion.
        Most importantly, this object justifies sustainability claims of the digital fashion industry, all energy required is independently produced in a sustainable way. The planet is blind to any garments being produced, as it should be. For the first time in history, garments can be produced that are completely sustainable. From looking back at material clothes we realise that even the most planet conscious designs require washing and disposal after being produced, even transportation depending on where they were produced. Now clothing exists as a set of data, having no geographical ties and waste, we are happy to embrace this new era of sustainability head on.
        This object may be pleasantly fashion orientated, but we are seeing many people adapting their working spaces to produce energy in different ways. Including energy sources that don’t involve the leg workout, such as solar, wind, local bio energy from the kitchen and other movement activated generators in the home gym. Here at vogue, we challenge you to be completely clean and independent with you work energy source and design green.
Augmented Reality and Fast Fashion Description 
        Fast fashion has been a huge problem for the industry and the environment for many years. The contribution of more disposable income and fast paced fashion seasons has led to the rapid production, sale and disposal of clothing items. Creating many objects with a very short life cycle, but long disposal process. House of Common Environmental Audit Committee 2019, says “Clothing production is the third biggest manufacturing industry after the automotive and technology industries. Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined.” We have been told for years we need to stop and slow down, however it’s harder than it seems when the fashion industry drives the economy and endorses our identity. Thankfully, with developments in digital fashion and technology, we have witnessed alternatives that alter the effects of fast fashion whilst preserving personal consumption habits. A solution that is less reliant on people changing and isn’t driven by scare tactics and loss of hope.
        The new fashion trend sweeping the market is Augmented Reality Graphics T’s. Sold online, we are seeing more and more brands jump on the bandwagon and producing their owns 3D designs to be placed on an array of AR suitable clothing. So far, the looks are taking the forms of traditional branded graphics with the slight modification of layering, using AR techniques. This allows for a more dynamic and interactive design, looking great for a photo or video. However, the greatest characteristic of this new market is that a single top can become 1000 tops, or more if you have enough money to spend. The ‘fashion’ element of your purchase becomes completely interchangeable and the material garment is only functional to hold multiple designs. As a result the speed of consumption remains the same, however, the material production come to a steady halt. Ending the battle with fast fashion and giving into people desires. Now you can shop till you drop, with no guilt tied to a full basket. The only energy costs are those of electric, and with fashion’s movement online, the clothing industry has been a huge advocate for clean energy world wide.
        These new tops do require some form of gaze into the virtual world, through Instagram filters, your phone camera or even snapchat glasses, there are many ways of viewing your own and others new clothes. With most social interaction happening over social media and in virtual worlds, the slight screen limitation doesn’t seem too restricting- fashion is a social industry anyway. These purchases are usable across all platforms as long as you have a camera and a screen you can wear and record with your looks. In addition to making your own designs with platforms such as Adobe Aero, Spark AR and many others. This development in fashion allows you to express yourself with no limitation of skills, materiality or environmental guilt. Through binning your new wardrobe, the only consequence will be more storage on your device, and the environment will thank for it. So go have a look at the new AR shops popping up, and replace your shopping habits with online purchases and downloads.

Hacking Protest, Erasing Material Fashion in the media

Narrating Fashion Victim Movement (writting)
        Fashion Victim, the movement that’s changed the world of fashion, the name and routes of this campaign were derived from an Extinction Rebellion protestor. In September 2020, Dior’s collection at Paris Fashion Week was sidelined by the protester determined by her message and not afraid of the punishment ahead. Normally, Vogue magazine wouldn’t include fashion heckling of any kind, but this one sign led to a very important dress and needs its own chapter in the history books. The protestor made the media, crashing the publication of Dior’s runway and consequently inspired an anonymous digital fashion designer to take a stand. A virtual dress was made. Combining Dior’s designs and the protestors flag, it summed up the notions Extinction Rebellion had been fighting for, but brought it into the fashion spotlight. A small outcome or intervention if seen individually, but what was put into question was the reality of how fashion is consumed and the unnecessary materiality of Dior’s designs. All media coverage of the runway in the following weeks was hacked, so the only footage containing the digital protest remained (left image). Appearing between every model, it was hard to miss or censer the rebellious gown, and eventually the hacked footage became more desired than the original. Quite seemingly, as most of the news stories about the event included the hacking that came afterwards. It brought into light that runways, couture and high fashion garments are only seen first-hand by the elite, and that if anyone at all during the pandemic. The majority of people watching these events or viewing these designs would consume that content online. The manner in which the runways are shot, lit, and prepared is all for the convenience of film.
        These objects do not exist to be worn or even seen, they are made to be photographed. Therefore, the original “Fashion Victim” dress put this into context. The digital garment became more important than the material Dior designs, and was evidently seen by more people as well. The dress took on a form of fashion protest. In an environmental medium itself, the garment was a piece of activism and a solution. Demonstrating that runways and material collection are outdated when the audience exists world-wide and through a computer screen. Anonymous statements from the designer and hacker where realised post-protest mentioning “The Fashion Victim dress proves that fashion designers have no need to host such unpracticed events anymore, especially in this time of climate crisis. I will not stop digitally attacking the media coverage of designers, celebrities and influencers until all strictly digital content is of a digital object.” This might seem a bit extreme, however the designer links red carpets and social media influencers to the unnecessarily material dresses of Dior's runway. They mention that they do not strive for a completely digital world, however, dream of a world without waste and a place without clothes only being used once for a photoshoot.
        Since this first media attack, we have seen a positive change in fashion-house’s designing and sharing collections digitally. “Digital samples replacing physical garments during design and development phases dramatically reduce the brand’s carbon footprint up to 30%” says digital fashion company The Fabricant. In addition to more celebrities and influencers taking onboard the digital alternative. Much like was warned, many red carpets and celebrities who refuse this transition have been hacked on the media and expensive unnecessary garments have been erased from the public eye. As a result, the fashion industry has seen a huge shift in its environmental impact on the planet. Additionally, such influential people supporting digital alternative has led to the integration of digital clothing markets into the public market.

Creating Office Looks 
Developing a previous exploration.

Verbalising Concerns with Current Market (writting)
        The digital clothing market has risen and is taking over social media. There is no argument that we spend a lot of time online, more than any generation before us. As a result, our social appearance and how we interact is highly interweaved with our digital presents. This means that owning a digital designer dress on Instagram is seen by more eyes than it would in the material. To a lot of people, expressing themselves online is more important than expression in the physical world. Social interaction is now so digital, that material fashion is left just to be functional. However, social media is now the place to buy big and show off your latest looks. Whilst scrolling through it becomes harder and harder to know what is real and what’s an illusion. Yet, online it doesn’t matter. Since the early days of Facetune and Photoshop, the digital world has always been a place of deception. Digital fashion only takes these mediums and produces art, something that is unapologetically ‘not real’.
        It is now very easy to purchase a digital garment and have it custom fitted, we have more and more digital retailers popping up and the market is ever growing. This has had huge effects on what it means to ‘wear’ clothes, and what fashion is actually for. The appearance of many digital garments on instagram might be exciting, however, they are little more than a picture. Some celebrities have been known to purchase one of a kind garments from digital retailers, therefore, creating a crypto-fashion market of blockchain clothing. This is then owned by the customer, holding wealth like a Gucci bag. On the other hand, this new instagram market allows no ownership over the dress, but just a picture. Digital clothing is stuck in the 2D. This leads to a personal detachment from digital clothes when compared to material. These influencers are not buying a garment, they’re buying an illustration. For digital fashion to truly thrive, we must find a way to ‘wear’ these non-material clothes, and therefore form an attachment and identity with them. When exploring these virtual garments, it is clear to see they lack movement and interaction. They’re almost statues built around a frozen subject. This new market is filled with excitement and possibility but it is clear that it is in its early stages. There is still no comparison to material fashion, until we are able to move and interact with our digital purchases. Only then will we be able to truly admire and identify with our garments and digital appliances. The current state of digital fashion reminds me of the photo cutout board (the comic foreground you put your head in) you find at the sea side. An object that makes a great photo but doesn’t compare to my favourite outfit. And hence, this is where we wait. Sitting patiently for the next innovation in the virtual forms, where we can move freely in our pixel fabrics.

Exploring Self Online (writing)
As an editor of this magazine, I always attempt to keep up with the latest trends, looks and seasons. Saying that, what is most important to me in the growth of fashion, is the expression of self through clothing.
        Throughout history, personal relationships with groups, beliefs and wealth have been materialised through clothing and appearance. More recently, we have seen the individual emerging in fashion expression, spurred on by large and fast fashion markets. This has been pivotal in sole searching and accepting individuality of sexuality, gender, social obedience and all depths of personality. To me, this is vital in the development of fashion, therefore I investigate its transcendence into the virtual realm of appearances.
        Digitally, we have seen the self manifested through websites, profile pictures, timelines and tweets of 280 characters. In these new virtual worlds, we now have the opportunity to dress ourselves in clothes never sewn or touched. My journey began with a simple outfit. One that I personally identify with, and if we’re being honest, wear a little too much. An oversized jumper, perfect for winter or summer, not that that matters much online. Pairing my two favourite colours (orange and blue), not being too flashy or stylish but enough to find comfort in public appearances. This is the outfit of choice and my desire is to wear it online and sitting at my computer simultaneously.
        I attempted multiple mediums of virtual spaces: games, social media and finally rendering applications. What is found is that I am limited to a selection of pre-designed garments. Through styling the options available I reached outcomes slightly similar to my desired outfit, but all missing the mark. It is overwhelmingly present that these clothes are not mine. I speculate that digital clothing is growing, but currently they are very limited in option. Meaning we are limited in expression and representation of self, and until that is fixed, digital clothing will not compete with the material market.
        My last attempt, was a recreation of my self through a rendering application (bottom right). This hit the mark almost perfectly. I see myself in the bodiless figure, it is me, and that’s what fashion should be. Although this platform is limited to making and not sharing, it provides evidence that the ‘self’ can exist online and there’s hope for more compatible digital wardrobe in the future.

“Cryptovoxels - a user owned virtual world
Cryptovoxels is a virtual world powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Players can buy land and build stores and art galleries. Editing tools, avatars and text chat are built in.” 
Ideas around future magazines, or project as a whole being presented in this virtual space. As it is used heavily used for displaying NFT’s and therefore digital fashion.

Book 3, work in VERY EARLY progress

Book 2, work in progress
Not the finished publication, but has enough content to have conversations around this narrative 

Book 1, work in progress 

Idea to narrate this digital fashion future and my work through aging fashion magazines. I am then allowed to explore digital fashions entanglements with society further.
Book 1 - Early examples of digital fashion being used in society and the industry, e.g. games, filters and online presences.
Book 2 - The developmet of digitally rendered clothes used online in still picutres. How reality is starting to merge with virtual aesthetics. 

Exploring AI generators as the new ‘Designer’ or ‘Digital Seamstress’, as a very possible future.  
A reality where I feel like a ‘turtle sitting on a mountain’ with a great view, changing depending on the time of day. Unlimited possibilites of expression whilst using this AI.

DALL-E, an AI thats generates images from any stimulus.  
A painting of a turtle sitting on a mountain, at sunrise. 

A professional high quality emoji of an evil virus. 
A painting of a turtle sitting on a mountain, at twilight.

A professional high quality emoji of a sleepy avacoda.

Attempting to 'wear' digital fashion, through different applications. Spark AR. Adding virtual fabric with joints to filter in Spark AR. This is the most successful draped virtual fabric as it can be worn in real time. However, i have learnt that joints and movement work better on a smaller scale closer to the face, as explored before.
The only experiment happening in real time - I realised that coded movement in Spark AR works better closer to the face.

Attempting to 'wear' digital fashion, through different applications. Cinema 4D. Overlaying recorded motion and video footage, this then allows virtual objects to interact with physical recordings.
More apatable animation responding to users specific movements.

Attempting to 'wear' digital fashion, through different applications. Marvelous Designer. Aligning the preset animation on Marvelous Designer to real footage in order to 'wear' digital garments.
Marvelous designer proving the most difficult, as the user is matching a preset animation.

Time laps of the visual shaders coding. Speed through of process. Applying a filter with joints and physics in Spark AR, developing possibilities of digital fashion.

Website including augmented reality clothing, to narrate digital formats replacing fast fashion.
Trying to visualise this narrative with themes of fashion fashion.

The Augmentation Set Up
Augmenting Graphics onto tops, leaning a new technology and skill.

Testing Augmented Reality

Designs to sum up consumerism, fashion as symbol. Brand as identity. 

Physics in filter. Digital objects responding to movement in real time 

Creating a feather to develop into garment or headpiece
3D feather created digitally in Cinema 4D:
Head Piece from Dior’s Fashion Week in Paris 2017.  Used as inspiration.

Movement Conscious Virtual Clothing pt.2

The Ball gown.

Movement Conscious Virtual Clothing pt.1
Jacquemus runway

Testing Motion Capture Tech

Review Presentaton videos and slides

Creating glasses to apply Virtual Fashion to everyday life.

Energy Loom
Exploring the application of virtual fashion as an environmental alternative. Adapting traditional craft practices to new forms of making (or generating power).


Internet Expression 

‘Fashion Victim’ crashing social media 

Experimenting with wearing virtual fashion

‘Fashion Victim’ crashing media
Crashing a Dior Runway:
Crashing a red carpet:

Fashion Victim Movement 
‘Fashion Victim’ is a global environmental movement, that aims for the end of over production and over consumption of clothes. The names was born out of actions by Extinction Rebellion, and the movements have similar aspirations. Using virtual fashion as a form of activism and media gatecrashing, as well as a solution/ alternative for unnecessarily material fashion items. Replacing clothing produced just for digital appearances. Also fighting as a solution to fast fashion, clothing that is over produced and over consumed can be replaced by virtual fashion and still fulfil these consumption habits. Whilst also used to express oneself digitally, the movement understands the social importance of clothing with identity, and seeing alternative virtual possibilities in this.

Crashing Extinction Rebelion’s Wiki page:

Virtually Archiving 

Emotionally responsive digital clothing

Attempting to ‘brand’ and identify a clearer narrative for my concept and movement. Similar to, and name taken from, Extinction Rebellion. 

Filter technology
Exploring how digital fashion can be ‘worn’ in real time.

A collection of speculative images illustrating the possible applications of Virtual clothing in the physical world.

Experimenting through collage.

Fashion Activism Dress:

Fashion Activism, Fashion Solution
Below is an image of an Extinction Rebellion Protesters crashing a Dior runway.

I explore a non-material, non-damaging for of fashion activism that also takes the form of a fashion solution. Raising the question of the material importance of these clothes that are purely for presentation .

My entry for The Fabricants competition:

The Future (Participation)
Additionally, there are more obstacles for digital fashion to overcome, alongside tactility. The use of completely renewable energy to fund this industry must be achieved to reach its sustainable aspiration. Furthermore, there is the nature of materiality and craft that is lost with the perfect essence and presentation of digitally rendered textiles. The presence of faults, age and technique; all of which are secondary factors of materiality. Although virtual fashion has no intension to become material, in actuality it is aiming for the opposite, it can still incorporate some features of traditional clothing that may fully develop this fashion sphere. Traditional rug weavers in Navajo culture produce detailed weaved materials using machinery and looms whilst encouraging imperfections and borders named “ch’ihonit’i” (Patowary, 2017). Some would say weaving is an algorithmic process however these people encourage faults in their work, as a result no two are the same and there is a clear presence of the maker and process. “The Navajos believe that only God is perfect and that humans cannot achieve the same perfect level.” (Patowary, 2017) hypervirtual textiles would be no exception to this in their eyes. Additionally, there is a Japanese style of weaving named SAORI which encourages freedom in the algorithm. Therefore, inhabiting faults, changes and random planning whilst creating weaves using binary processes. Whilst speaking on algorithms in graphic design Armstrong states “Many generative designers do invite user contribution or mine outside data sources. The unpredictability of such contributions adds a random element, spicing up the automated nature of the system” (Armstrong, Stojmirovic, 2011, p117). I am suggesting that a development in digital textiles, or the future of fashion and technology all together, may be the integration of uncontrollability in coded textiles practices. The application of small error could lead to the simulation of ageing, perhaps explored through accumulative error through the act of using an avatar or altering a digital garment. Therefore, overcoming the perfect, robotic nature of digital clothing that distances itself from reality. The act of age encourages more development and growth in the industry, even if the product is free and self-made. Spurring an ecosystem for a fashion sphere that might become stagnant in its development and engagement.
A relevant example that I enjoy, practiced through a different medium, is Luna Maurer and Roel Wouter’s “huh? Oops...Fuck! Oh... Oh, no! Wait... Again...” for Media Design and Communications graduate catalogue
at Rotterdam University (2009). This was a book, in which the printing production was the algorithmic process, and the page numbering
was an intervention. Each page was marked with a charcoal number, bringing the idea of intentional fault into an object as just discussed. Furthermore, as the book was used again and again, an element of age was implemented into this algorithmic process. The page numbers would smear over the pages with time and use. “transformed a physical artefact into an open-ended design” (Armstrong, 2011, p125).
It is the limitations of current digital clothing that define it as hyper- real/ virtual, these limitations are what distance the digital from the material. The perfect nature, ageless, untouchable, un-accidental. To go back to the defining work of Baudrillard, “It is the map [simulation,
he conceptualises a map so detailed it covers the territory exactly]
that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map.” (Baudrillard, 1983, p442) In comparison to the map, or virtual simulation, rotting as he originally describes. Meaning, that the virtual possibilities have surpassed material origin and laws of physics, therefore they have become their own site individually. Hence, within this context, the notion of a new fashion sphere. These advances, or lack of material qualities and limitation are what distance this emerging sphere from the rest of the fashion industry. Although not necessary, the implications of such material qualities, ageing and touch and so forth, might define the future of this fashion sphere and bridge the gap between the industry progressing.

The Future (touch)
While the hyper-virtual form is a large benefit when we evaluate the effect of this new fashion sphere, it also distances digital clothing from tradition greatly. This is not through environmental devastation, but the lack of tactility. Absence of physical interaction with virtual textiles is the main hurdle holding the future of digital fashion and integration back. The mouse is the central point of interception between user and garment, an object not designed to encourage tactility. Great developments have been made to simulate touch through physical factors such as rendering elasticity, weight, stiffness and smoothness of materials digitally, yet the connection with the user is still only visual. I believe there are still great developments to be made with
the interaction tools used for digital media around tactility, which will enable the virtual fashion industry to thrive. To this day we have only seen abstract investigations. For example, Martin Rile’s project Coded Sensation (2009), in this Rile uses fabric coated in chrome dioxide “which stores information through magnetic modulation” (Seymour, 2010, p71). As a result, information can be read through touching these coded textiles with corresponding gloves. This project mostly works with sound information yet bridges a boundary between human touch and technology in an abstract way.

Material VS Virtual

Engaging with virtual clothing market 
I downloaded a garment from The Fabricant, a process used as an alternative to buying material garments. I modified it to the size of my avatar, and if purchasing a garment The Fabricant had for sale, it would be manipulated onto a picture of me. Experimenting with available digital clothing and environmental alternatives to fast fashion.

Fashion Solution
Virtual clothing has many benefits, for example reviving archived garments, exploiting current advances in technologies, and giving opportunity for the user to express themselves through form and appearance. Importantly, it also faces an issue that the fashion industry has been unable to fully overcome- the environmental impact of clothing.
In ‘Design after Design’ Jeremy Till indicates that the principles of design are in need of change. We have to be aware of the industrial capitalist momentum pushing design and innovation forward, but we have lost sight of the destination, any type of future at all even. Till states that a new foundation for design is needed (and emerging in the industry) where the environment, societal impacts and lifespan
of work is considered. (Till, 2020) One can deduce from this that as design changes, objects will transform with it, as well as consumerism and society. A shift needed when faced with the existential threats we see today. I could go on to explain individual threats, but it shouldn’t be necessary due to the current global pandemic, and the “Doomsday clock” now being only 100 seconds to midnight (Mecklin, 2020).

Cameron Tonkinwise describes future ethical designers as “eradicators”, “waste managers” and “cleaners”, implying that true designers can, and should, proactively “undesign, to make existing designs disappear”. It is a very skilled practice to eliminate aspects of the material every day, but it is also essential in the future of society and innovation. (Tonkinwise, 2014) The transition of material clothing to virtual clothing could be described as a mass “undesigning” for the benefit of the environment. The ‘undesigning of fashion’ may be thought in conjunction with the ‘dematerialisation of fashion’, but as disputed before these clothes
still exist “hyper- materially” and “hyper-virtually”. The context behind Tonkinwise’s phrase applies to the development of an industry, loosing destructive social habits and elements for the better. Due to the lack
of physicality of virtual fashion, there is no cost of materials, labour transport and waste on the environment, therefore the only sustainable issue to face with this new fashion sphere is its energy source. Which are becoming more renewable each day.

“Virtual pieces of clothing such as this could offer a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, whilst providing the ‘me’-culture heavily populating social media with new looks without having to actually produce the garment” (designboom, no date) This has also been demonstrated by the intensions of virtual clothing companies. Virtue Nordic in collaboration with Carlings created a line of digital clothing that was sold and fitted to consumers, with all their profits going towards water aid. (IFAB, no date ) Additionally, Hot Second was a pop- up store in London that gave the public a chance to ‘wear’ these digital outfits in exchange for an unwanted piece of clothing. These outfits where produced by the Fabricant, Carlings and designer Christopher Raeburn, and customers would be given pictures of them in their new digital outfit. (design boom, no date)
My Virtual Self

Exploring virtual making.

My digital persona 

Computer Capasity.
AI designing garments 

Virtual clothing detatched from all materiality 
Baudrillard uses the metaphor of a completely accurate map to describe the virtual, one so detailed that it mirrors reality. The hyper-real or hyper- virtual is then described as a form that develops past material inspiration or reflection. “It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” (Baudrillard, 1983, p442) We have also seen the emergence of runways without a physical garment as a point of reference. Where the simulation surpasses mirroring reality. For example, designer Anifa Mvuemba exploited this notion that fashion is consumed digitally, and rendered her work instead of sewing, modelling and filming it. Her runway was actually to raise awareness of Congolese cobalt miners, therefore using the full capacity of accessible publication and distribution.

The point at which digital fashion transitioned from the virtual (Prada 2008 animation and virtual archives) to the hyper-real/ virtual is when digital fashion became its own fashion sphere. With opportunities for designers, makers/coders and consumers to get involved and express virtual craftsmanship. “As textiles metamorphose into screens, they become even more versatile as a surface for 3D forms.” (Clarke, Harris, 2012, p.215).

The Virtual
“We are, it seems, crossing the final technological frontier, where designers will be able to navigate a whimsical journey through the immaterial realties of our digitally disembodied age.” (Handley, 1999, p169). This quote, written at the end of last century, has predicted the most recent shift fashion has taken in its relationship with technology. While this train of thought was promoted by an investigation into fashion development, it concludes that the digitalisation of fashion has been
a foreseeable destination with the rapid growth of computers and automation.
In this essay, I delve into Digital Fashion, exploring the most recent transitions we have seen to full digitalisation of the garment, fashion publication, market and self. Therefore, I am exploring the ‘virtual garment’ and ‘personal avatar.’ As discussed earlier, ’fashion’ branches
to more than just the recent manifestations of the garment and dress. The current fashion industry is stepping into a realm of digital production and products, opening up the question of what form or state in which these objects exist. That could be physically in code, pixels, a saved document or none. I argue that the digitalisation of such an industry, and objects, should be explored as a state transience between forms instead of a dematerialisation of physical objects. The virtual object is not a

loss of material, or a nothingness, it is however an object that explores abundant opportunities in image, which when correlated with such a visual industry can dilute meaning, practice and concept. Jung, Ko, Seo and Yu describe: “The concept of ‘virtual reality’ is as old as humanity, because cultural rituals, literature, games, and even brands can be all viewed as different manifestations of virtual realities that predate VR (Shields, 2003, 2006). This is because beyond equating the material to ‘real’ and the virtual to ‘not real’ or ‘possible’, the ontological category of ‘the virtual’ can be, instead, conceived as taking place within imagination as the ‘ideal’ - beyond the ‘actual’ material reality - which retains theproperties of being ‘real.’” (Jung et al, 2019, p5). Meaning that the virtual exists in ideal realities and concepts instead of the material, as many things in our complex society do (arguably: brands, roles, stories and systems). “It can be argued that human experience has always been “virtual” to some extent.” (Evans, 2012, p518) In thought, fashion as a whole could be seen as a result of the virtual ideals that we generate as a society. The basic premise being that fashion wouldn’t exist without human consciousness; therefore, it is a global virtual experience. The rise of digital clothing is nothing but the lack of material properties and death of fashion geography, however the virtuality of it is the same. When debating the virtuality of the actual garment, the form of these digitally rendered objects in ‘virtual realities’ are not a product of the consumers/ individual’s imagination, these objects are created, built and exist in a place on the internet or hard drive. This means that they do not fall into the parameters of ‘virtual’, whilst simultaneously not being credited as a ‘material form’ as they “lack important material properties such as weight, and they cease to exist outside the boundaries of cyberspace” (Jung et al, 2019, p6). Therefore, these objects act as an in- between of material and virtual, Denegri-Knott and Molesworth (2010) have phrased it “material actualization of the virtual”. Jung and other authors define these online objects as “ ‘hyper’-material and ‘hyper’- virtual”, integrating theorists Baudrillard (1983) and Foucault’s (1973) use of “hyper-”. “Since it is no longer enveloped by an imaginary, it is no longer real at all. It is hyperreal, the product of an irradiating synthesis of combinatory models in a hyperspace without atmosphere.” (Baudrillard, 1983, p442) In fashion development there are multiple fashion spheres with different forms, avant-garde, streetwear, costume and so on (Laurell, 2016). These all adhere to alternative rules on appearance, wearability, comfort and place. This development of hyperreal clothing and appearances is yet the most recent development, and Baudrillard’s definitions allows for these objects to be grounded in some sense of stability and materiality. The distance from ideals/ imagination allows these objects to apply ownership, use, consumption and personal semiotics, therefore, the definition of such non-material yet real form is important. Consequently, I would state that hyper-virtual fashion is the newest fashion sphere to evolve, grounded in the form hyper-virtually as it is beyond the restrictions of the material but limited instead by forms of another nature, “hyper” definitions by Baudrillard (1983).

Primary research through questionaire

Experimentation with Lazer cutting, exploring textiles relationship with technology and craft.

Material Transience
December 2020
The relationship between technology and textiles is not a new one. The foundations of computing code where inspired by the binary 0’s and 1’s of complex weaving practices. Formulated by Ada Augusta’s notes made on “Analytical Engine”  by Charles Babbage. From this computer coding was born and hence the intertwined development of textiles and technology began, as if weft and warp. Naturally, as we’ve seen a rapid development in technology, the possibilities of textiles and the fashion industry have respectively correlated in the past 10 years. We can see these changes of textile craft in three main areas: the integration of new technology as a tool for creation, new technology within the textile itself, and computers contributing to the design and input for such garment.

The tools for textile manipulation have developed dramatically from the needle and thread, with the introduction of mechanical weaving, knitting and embroidery; and more recently with digital printing, laser cutting, 3D printing and so on. These new practices of fashion have been explored and greatly demonstrated by designers such as Iris Van Herpen, Alexander McQueen and Issey Miyake. Iris Van Herpen for example has produced stunning garments for the run way, that through using these new tools and mediums, transcend many boundaries. On her website she describes her work as “liberating our sense of limitations … binding emerging technologies like elaborate 3-D printing or laser-cutting with delicate handwork such as embroidering or draping” (Iris Van Herpen, no date). These practices and explorations push the industry past what is possible with old craft techniques. Therefore, artists like Van Herpen set the foundations for the future of the textile industry, outlining the positives and negatives. For example, these technologies bring possibility, minimal waste …. However, they can also be seen to use unsustainable materials, give in to fast fashion (not an indication of Van Herpen’s runways, but the accessibility of 3D printing and digital print) and finally the fear of craftsmanship’s death. This fear is not based on the loss of craft as a industry, activity or personalised making, but based on the loss of an old practice. Van Herpen describes her work through the phrase; “ ‘Craftolution’, coined as the evolution of craftsmanship and the embracement of change from the core of the brand’s identity, fusing layered lightness, three-dimensionality, and undulating volume into ethereal creations.” (Iris Van Herpen, no date) The premise of this being that innovation and the ‘new’ should not be feared. There are problems that come with all consumption led industries however these should be faced instead of avoided completely. For example, new practices that bring ease to making should not be exploited for mass consumption, or simultaneously not avoided out of fear of such problem, however should be embraced for energy/resource/time efficient creation.  Additionally, craft is an ever-changing practice. We have seen the sewing machine and loom change the textiles industry for the better, therefore, innovations have before brought possibility and ease. Craft evolved from hand sewing, to the sewing machine, a step up from human creation to the handling of tools and mechanics. Consequently, it is easy to now predict makers controlling more advanced digital appliances within their craft, or even craft in completely digital creation, as our society/needs develop. “Digital technology contributes an entirely new set of design tools, while contemporary researchers pave the way for computational creativity that can overcome the limitations of the digital terrain, integrating rich and personal design capabilities into contemporary making practices.” (Arte et al, 2015., p384)

        Arte, F., Brosh, A., Bunnell, K., Chan, B., Friedman, Y., Gordon, R., Hope, S., Jorgensen, T., Marshall, J.,  Valjakka, S.O. and Zoran, A., 2015. Hybrid craft: showcase of physical and digital integration of design and craft skills. Leonardo, 48(4), pp.384-399.

        Van Herpen, I (no date) About | Iris Van Herpen. Available at (Accessed: 7 December 2020)

Society Uploads November 2020
Computer potential has developed past the point of public comprehension, consequently predicting future development is merely impossible. With this development, we have seen a mass cultural magnetism to the social benefits of the internet and its surrounding technology. Public networks, of social and business, sometimes exist solely online. We so easily understand now that there are digital objects, products, activities, sites and spaces.

The cultural engagement with digital developments have been so vast and rapid that we have observed the birth and death of film and music recording in the material world, in terms of objects such as CDs and Video tapes. Digitisation is defined as “the conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer” by Oxford Languages (———). A concept quite limited to what was once thought to be possible of technology, held by the boundaries of text, pictures and sound. These objects are simple in translation to 0’s and 1’s, duplicating the 2D as if a photocopy, however technology has advanced past these limitations. We now see the digital shift of jobs, teaching, thinking, analysing, creating and other processes. In terms of fashion, we are stating to see design, illustration, craft, education, production, publication and consumerism move online. A long list, that might appear dramatic but is explored through upcoming chapters. Therefore, for a clearer understanding of the (present and future) societal diffusion into code, we look to definitions similar to J. Scott Brennen and Danial Kreiss (———). They explain “We refer to digitalisation as the way in which many domains of social life are restructured around digital communication and media infrastructures.” As Brennen and Kreiss describe it, digitisation is deeply routed in the shift in social spheres and communication. Fashion and textiles have been built on the foundations of social hierarchy, expression and identity; while it is possible for clothing and appearance to exist purely with the individual, the growth of fashion and culture is dependent of social interaction. Sharing, judging and admiring are essential in how fashion allows us to further understand the other’s identity and personality. In the light of Covid-19, social interaction has taken a shift to digital platforms, we connect through pixilated 2D windows over the internet as opposed to physical. The question being, as social interactions digitalise, how does the development of fashion transform?

(We have seen fashion designer, Anifa Mvuemba (———), produce a 3D digital runway without models or even physical textiles. We have seen fashion powerhouses design pixel clothes for Nintendo games, eg animal crossing, due to the intensity of social engagement on the platform compared to others during the pandemic. This gives a clear example of the production, display, purchase and use of a garment all being digital.)

This parallel world we find ourselves in may be due to the global lockdowns, however one could speculate a future of full digitalisation of society, as seen in pop-culture movies such as Wall-E (——) and even The Matrix (——-). The idea of a global lockdown and deadly virus sounds like a speculation in itself, commenting on globalisation, excessive travel and global dependancy. Is this not a glimpse into our future, with the possibility of a pandemic repeat? Additionally, would we be more prepared and more digital: in interaction, culture, fashion and industry for the next future that pushes society online.  

Fashion as Change November 2020
Fashion is a large, socially entangled topic that extends clothes, style, innovation, identity and community. Oxford languages (———) defines fashion as “a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour” however the academic discussion over the definition and rein of the subject is highly contested. Kawamura (2011) describes the confusion of fashion’s definition being due to the two major meanings of the word - fashion as dress and fashion as change. The simple explanation of fashion as dress, reflects the current society and systems we live in; a society of physical social engagement, production possibilities, consumption and capitalism. If we reflect back to a time of independent clothing production within families, the “dress” was a product of technical possibility, therefore, this concept of “fashion as dress” was more restricted and socially disconnected as it is today. Yet, fashion still loomed through other mediums such as interiers, foods and other trends. Alternatively, we could speculate a future beyond physical clothing, is this definition of “fashion as dress” still relevant?

As a result, I will follow the later definition. Aspers and Godart (2013, p173) explain “Both fashion and innovation refer to change and they replace or complement something that already exists- an older way of dressing or an obsolete technology- with something new”. In this, Aspers and Godart where exploring the history of the word ‘fashion’ and hence, they were distinguishing between innovation and Fashion. However, in doing so they outline some similarities and the innovative nature of fashion, correlating with “fashion as change”. This “change” is constant, illustrating that fashion follows the evolution of society and culture; what is possible, what is desired, and what is needed. Therefore, as we develop new technologies and interests, fashion appears in their manifestations of use. Aspers and Dodart (2013, p185 ) conclude their investigation by stating “We propose to define fashion as an unplanned process of recurrent change against a backdrop of order in the public realm”

[ “Fashion, in a sense is change” Caroline Evans (2003, p. 1) ]

From these understandings, I would define fashion as the unplanned developments and projection of self, on mass social, institutional and technical change. In addition to quoting my previous statement that as we develop new technologies and interests, fashion appears in their manifestations of use. Through my research I have found an outdated academic library of fashion futures, and fashion developments. Society and technology develop so fast that defining and predicting fashion is almost impossible. In 2017, Tu Dan-Dan and Wang Zhi Qiang write about the emerging trend of digital fashion illustrations, a concept so normalised with todays technology however, described as a daunting transition and loss. “The current fashion design industry is changing from traditional hand-painted design to the ‘informationized, digital, technology and efficient’ design. Fashion design is a tide industry and clothing is a kind of fashion commodity. It will only continue to follow the trend of the times and to keep up with the current pace of global digitization” (Dan-Dan, Zhi-Qiang, 2017, p161). I set out to explore and amplify current transitions that fashion has taken towards a digital upload, and what this means for the maker, designer and consumer.

        Aspers, P. & Godart, F., Sociology of Fashion: Order and Change. Annual Review of Sociology, 39(1), pp.171–192.

        Dan-Dan, T. & Zhi-Qiang, W., 2017. Transformation and Innovation of Traditional Fashion Design Based on the Digital Technology Platform. 2017 International Conference on Information, Communication and Engineering (ICICE), pp.159–161.

    Evans, C. (2003) Fashion at the edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness (London: Yale University Press).

        Kawamura Y. 2011. Doing Research in Fashion and Dress: An Introduction to Qualitative Methods. Oxford, UK: Berg.

The Cost of Making
November 2020
In ‘Design after Design’ Jeremy Till indicates that the principles of design are in need of change. We have to be aware of the industrial capitalist momentum pushing design and innovation forward, but we have lost sight of the destination, any type of future at all even. Till states that a new foundation for design is needed ( and emerging in the industry ) where the environment, societal impacts and lifespan of work is considered. (Till, September 2020) Therefore, as deign changes objects will transform with it, as well as consumerism and society, a shift needed when faced with the existential threats we see today. I could go on to explain individual threats but it shouldn’t be necessary due to the current global pandemic, and the “Doomsday clock”  now being only 100 seconds to midnight (Mecklin, January 2020).

Cameron Tonkinwise describes the future ethical designers as “eradicators”, “waste managers” and “cleaners”, implying that true designers can, and should, proactively “undeisgn, to make existing designs disappear”. It is a very skilled practice to eliminate aspects of the material everyday but it is also essential in the future of society and innovation. (Tonkinwise, 2014) Does our fear of the nude really justify the damage in creating and destroying clothes? I am not suggesting a nudist future yet I question that, with the skilful “undesign” of these objects, what will emerge in their place? We can already envision textiles that are sustainably neutral in production (and socially un-exploitive), while also being compostable/ recyclable. Better yet, can we envision clothes that are beneficial for true innovation and future thinking, clothes that perform the same as planting a tree, cleaning a river, replacing habitats etc.

Other quotes by Cameron Tonkinwise: 
“designers, as opposed to artists, aim not to create artifacts as ends unto themselves, but artifacts-as-means. Judging the values of a design means judging the value of what it enables more than the artifact itself, what is done with the thing rather than the thing itself” “I argue … that the introduction of new products leads to the destruction of existing products. Sustainable design has, to date, been a strategy of replacing existing toxic or inefficient products with ‘greener’ alternatives” “designing products so that they last longer is another indirect form of elimination design, in this case eliminating the need for a subsequent replacement” - links to the clothes that grow with the child.  

        Mecklin J, January 2020, Closer than ever: It is 100 seconds to midnight (article)

        Till J, September 2020, Design after Design (blog post, Lecture given as part of University of the Arts' 5 Days. Ten Years. 1 Planet festival, September 2020),

        Tonkinwise, C. 2014, Design away. Design as Future-Making. 1st edition. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp.198-213.

Thinking Through My Clothes
November 2020
As I write this post, I am sat in an empty studio on a Saturday afternoon. I decided to work next to the window and now, as I type, I find myself resisting the urge to watch the rain infiltrate the university campus outside. My wet nike hat sits next to me after soldiering through the walk here. A hat I’ve stolen from my brother, who before had taken it from my dad, its an old but loved golf hat which once belonged to my uncle. As I write, I play with my white Adidas shoes, toes balancing on the back of its heels. Along with my 90’s style blue shirt and blue dickies jeans, these shoes where also purchased second hand off of depop. The soles of the shoes have been ripped apart, paint stains on the jeans and there’s a button missing from the shirt. These are things I could quite easily fix, yet I don’t mind the rugged look. Not enough to spend the time fixing them at least. This pattern of second hand clothes is broken by the white long sleeve top and white socks that are probably from Asos, or another cheap store where I can justify spending the little money I have as a student. Presenting me with a degree of guilt over the sustainable baggage of each item.

To me these pieces, just as with most clothes, do nothing more than keep my body warm and present my chosen colour scheme for this Saturday afternoon. Fashion aside (even though the disregard for the social entanglement and identity is quite a big ask), the pure function of these clothes have little use to me than any other. My whole wardrobe in fact has little function, just textiles with slight differences in shape and pattern. I question is there more possibility in these objects that seem so attached to me and my identity. Is there any way they can expand their impact beyond my person, as I come to realise the only impact they have on the greater world is negative. These objects are destructive in creation, and disposal; are they really aestheticly pleasing enough to justify their existence?

Design is Future
All design acts as a speculation, we materialise possible futures through product, intervention or art. Whether a predictable assumption or a distant one, every piece of design has social, environmental and political ripples on the future of our world. The predictable is and has, for many years, been driven by the exploitation of materials, energy and the capitalist aims for productivity. I enjoy alternative futures where progress and innovation is prompted by other factors, including the environment, threats of technology advancements, and equality. I am also interested in the distribution of these fictions into the community and attempting to move past the white exhibition walls. I explore ‘Alternative Future’ projects that are closer to home for communities, including workshops and valuing the process more highly than the output itself.