As with this season’s NYFW, there was a notable downturn in Web3 activations at London Fashion Week (LFW) – but only when it comes to the traditional big players.
Away from the physical presentations, the Big Smoke buzzed with exciting and pioneering talent championing the next era of fashion – from Stephy Fung and Fanrui Sun at the SYKY Collective showcase hosted on Friday last week, to PhygitalTwin’s phygital fashion showcase on Saturday.
While big brands grapple with the question of what part Web3 plays in their wider roadmaps, today’s promising newcomers point to digital fashion’s development trajectory.
During SYKY’s LFW event, founder Alice Delahunt expressed her excitement for the future of digital fashion. “I believe in its value, and I believe in the incredible talent and creators that are leading the way in this realm,” she said during her speech at the presentation.
London was awash with trailblazers in fashion sharing that sentiment over the weekend, including Chinese designer Susan Fang who, much like Collina Strada’s NYFW presentation, turned to artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool to augment and enhance her playful, clear-cut aesthetic.
Below, Jing Daily rounds up the top Web3 activations that took place across the LFW calendar.
Susan Fang taps AI as design tool
This year, small independent maisons forged ahead by exploring where technological innovation slots into their design process. For instance, Chinese designer Susan Fang used AI to take her surrealist designs to the next level at her Spring/Summer 2024 collection showcase that took place at the Little Venice Sports Center on Sunday.
Fang inputted her own hand-painted designs into a machine-learning system, which then enhanced her original concepts to create the final silhouette. Alongside its utilization as a design tool, Fang’s decision to implement AI into her creative process was her way of examining the intersection between the human touch and generative technology as she explored the unfolding relationship between nature and AI.
Digital Fashion Week brings Ukrainian talent to the forefront of digital fashion
After wrapping up its New York iteration last week, Digital Fashion Week continued on its global tour this weekend as it made its way overseas to London.
Rounding off the two-day immersive showcase off, located at Epic Games’ Innovation Lab, emerging digital fashion brands took part in a curated runway presentation. The closing collection arrived from Ukrainian digital designer Julia Blanc – aka BlancDeBlanc – who partnered with phygital fashion enabler Phygital Twin to present her ‘Breeze of Birth’ capsule line. SYKY Collective participant Stephy Fung also joined hands with Phygital Twin, to bring her own exclusive virtual design to life.
Though the exhibition didn’t make as much noise as its counterpart in the US, optimism for the future of digital fashion and Web3 prevailed.
“We want to empower innovators to have their own fashion collections, and I am very proud that we got to work with two of the most talented digital designers, Stephy Fung and BlancDeBlanc to do just this,” Louise Laing, founder of Phygital Twin tells Jing Daily. “The future of digital fashion is phygital, and I was hugely encouraged by the audience’s positive and electrically charged reaction to the collections.”
SYKY shuts down London’s 180 The Strand for new platform launch
A standout moment of the week came when digital fashion platform SYKY took over a studio space at London’s 180 The Strand – a popular hotspot for the style savvy crowd and fashion community – to mark the launch of its new community platform and unveil the first physical garments to arrive from the SYKY Collective cohort.
The evening saw a host of digital fashion advocates, including Amber Park and Holly Wood, alongside some of LFW’s fashion luminaries, such as Labrum’s Foday Dumbuya and Vogue’s Mark Guiducci, come together to merge the worlds of fashion design and digital creativity.
Having the support of The British Fashion Council, one of the UK’s biggest and most prominent fashion organizations, helped put SYKY on the radar of London’s fashionistas, contributing to a big turnout.
“An increasing number of fashion designers will continue to seamlessly integrate digital technology into their design processes,” Fanrui Sun, digital fashion designer and SYKY Collective participant (who showcased her first physical creation at the event), tells Jing Daily.
“Digital software serves as a powerful tool for realizing our creative visions, and within the expansive digital toolkit and growing ecosystem, we’ll embark on a continuous exploration of self and the future of expression through fashion.”
Though other showcases and activations have taken place over the last few fashion week seasons, SYKY’s extravaganza fired the starting gun on a new era for Web3 fashion – one in which it’s taken seriously by the fashion industry.
Hong-Kong’s FabriX spotlights emerging designers bridging the physical and virtual gap
To celebrate the launch of Hong Kong-based initiative FabriX, the startup brought an international roadshow of digital fashion to London on Saturday evening in partnership with The British Fashion Council. Featuring exclusive designs from cult talents including Ancuta Sarca, Chet Lo, Harri, Masha Popova, and Paolo Carzana, the showcase invited audiences to ‘try on’ garments using augmented reality (AR).
Alongside its catwalk presentation, FabriX partnered with department store and supporter of novel technologies Selfridges to launch a number of AR-enabled ‘try on’ billboards outside of the retailers’ ‘NewGen’ space in the Old Selfridges Hotel. It was the prime location to roll out a Web3-powered activation, catching the attention of hundreds of show attendees and media titles, including culture magazine Dazed, over the weekend.
With more independent designers eager to explore the opportunities Web3 can unlock for their creative visions, LFW proved that the industry’s relationship with emerging technologies is more than just a fling – it’s a long-term marriage.