I started working on the piece back in September, 2020, inviting my friends to collaborate. I was sharing ideas with my partner in crime, Nypox, a blessed and exceptionally talented software architect and AI researcher, and my beloved muse and influential fashion photographer, Anna Ekomasova. It was very organic, as our visions were aligned, and we started to work on the piece. Both Nypox and I are passionate about technology and the future, and together with Annа, we were always into the creative industry and fashion.
The future of fashion and tech is what has excited me for a long time. It’s interesting to see how from utilitarian function (where we had to cover ourselves from cold) we came to a point where clothing becomes pure communication.
And communication changed drastically — we are no longer bound by our physical constraints, and a huge part of our life is now dedicated to our digital presence. Your social media profile has become a quick snapshot of your personality. Your style conveys a message.
And as our personality nowadays is presented to the world in a digital form, digital fashion is starting to make sense. You visually perceive people as images/videos. If their appearance was synthetic but indistinguishable from reality, how would you notice?
There’s no sense in physicality if the media is digital. And here we go. You can now hide behind virtual avatars, or augment your real self with AR overlays.
We are now in the very first stages of this new mixed reality world. And let’s be honest. The technology isn’t here yet. Digital fashion now mostly doesn’t look that appealing.
It’s very labour intensive to create a digital clothing piece that can be put on top of an image of a person. It’s a gazillion times more labour intensive to make it work with a video. You should first create a digital double of a person that will perfectly match one’s body shape, and what is even more complex — you should animate it frame by frame to match the movement. This is a huge obstacle for our vision and we have begun to work on solutions.
Nypox started the development of an AI powered technology that is aimed at automating the process of 3-D avatar creation and match-moving. Our friends from DAD studio helped us to capture the footage, so we got material to train the neural network. It took several months to reach a state where we were satisfied with the results, and I started the creation of the digital dress.
I have always been mesmerised by the beauty of nature, and how computer science and algorithmic design is related to it. Everything around us is constantly changing data-driven processes, and biological processes are very similar to computational ones. This relationship of nature, humanity and technology is what I reflect in all my artworks, and “In Bloom” is no exception. The digitalization of a human is another topic itself, but digital fashion reflects this idea. We extend ourselves with technology and become cyborgs without even realising that this is already happening.
The blossom theme is a multi-layered metaphor for emerging processes on different levels. Aside from nature and algorithmic design relations that are shown through growth of intricate biological patterns which are procedurally designed, I believe that technology and digital fashion will bloom soon. On the above level and to the contrary to anti-utopian themes where digitalization is usually depicted as something destructive, I see a possibility for a positive change. Disassociation from physicality leads to conscientiousness and self-awareness. When you are mindful, you aren’t attached to your body or emotions. You are above these. And this detachment leads to less suffering, thus making your life more positive and happy. The digital future is bright. Let it bloom!