Reflecting the growing importance of digital creation and the metaverse for fashion, Hong Kong’s creative hub PMQ on Thursday will unveil the first models to emerge from FabriX, a program aimed at strengthening the skills of the city’s up-and-coming talent.
They will be the centerpiece of an immersive physical installation at PMQ’s Hong Kong headquarters from Thursday to September 11 and will be broadcast online through its digital platforms and social media partner stars.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, project director Shin Wong, a Taipei-born and New Zealand-raised curator who has directed the city’s ‘deTour’ design festival since 2015, realized there was a lot of awareness but a lack of knowledge about digital fashion both in Hong Kong and in other Asian fashion centers.
“[Designers] they know this, but are still not quite sure how to start it. And it was very difficult for them to find an investment [to develop in this field]”He told WWD before the exhibition showing the class of 12 designers from the first edition.
Funded by Create Hong Kong, an agency dedicated to the development of creative agencies in the city established by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the main objective of FabriX is to open a new revenue stream for fashion companies by supporting them from the conceptual phase. using digital creation tools to list the resulting items on specialized markets such as The Dematerialized.
Although numerous digital fashion projects have been launched since the early days of the pandemic, “it was important not to jump on a bandwagon, [being] timely in delivering the experience [to the public] but also teach designers how they can benefit from the whole process, ”explained Declan Chan, stylist and creative consultant who serves as the project’s fashion curator.
So the program also aims to connect the dots for the general public, for which digital clothing – not to mention the metaverse – remains a fuzzy concept.
Hence the addition of explanatory sessions on the metaverse, the impact of digital fashion on the industry and how to respond to these new needs will be offered to students, designers and the general public between Friday and Sunday.
For the inaugural edition of FabriX, an open call resulted in 60 proposals, which were reduced to 12 by the jury of the project of creative, fashion and retail professionals.
The winning entries were those that showed “a vision of how to translate their style into a digital environment, creating something more magical,” said Wong. “It was important to see what they could use [digital fashion] as an enhancement of their existing brand DNA, “rather than simply using the medium as a shortcut to add more styles into a lineup.
This year’s selection includes women’s clothing brands Cadylee, Celine Kwan and LoomLoop; the men’s clothing brands Demo, Harrison Wong, Kay Kwok, Shek Leung and Wilsonkaki; Nilmance Studio, specialist in urban clothing; Christian Stone, designer of the fluid genre; YMDH influenced by streetculture and the accessories label Jüü Jüü.
Another requirement was that the designers have an existing business, although an exception was made for recent graduate Lee, whose daring real-life textile experiments and distorted silhouettes with a surrealist bias seemed to belong to cyberspace, he said Chan.
Unwavering in securing a global footprint for the project, Wong and Chan selected a group of influencers and editors to bring these projects to life through social media, including London-based Susie Lau, Japanese journalist Yu Masui and Xiao. Chengdu-based Yang, chosen for their long-standing support of emerging design and futuristic leanings in their personal style.
In the future, Shin plans to take FabriX to other locations, naming Tokyo as a potential showcase destination. But in addition to providing a vibrant showcase for existing designers, Shin would like the project to spark deeper conversations with schools, in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia, where he sees a real need to teach the tools of digital fashion to aspiring designers.
“Many young designers want to create digital objects but [the process] it’s quite expensive for them, especially when they’re not familiar with the tools, “said Wong.” Hong Kong schools are starting to teach them, but it’s still quite enough. [rudimentary] and it will take a few years for them to catch up with the times, ”he continued, stating that conversations were underway to help accelerate offering via FabriX.
Following the physical show, this year’s 12 capsule collections will be released on The Dematerialized digital fashion market on September 15, before being launched on DressX and the Asian market NFT BlueArk in the following weeks.