[PIG] Transcending the fashion system: Launching a participatory label by designing digital first

Team Members
Michaela Larosse
Nirmala Shome

Short summary of your improvement idea
Create an open source resource/ toolkit for how to create a digital first fashion label. This approach will allows a label to be blockchain native and community driven to help address the gross inefficiencies in the fashion industry around waste and unethical worker conditions.

The fashion system is broken; locked into a cycle of mass producing garments that deplete natural resources as they ultimately make their way to landfill. It’s a model built on gross inefficiencies, devised nearly 200 years ago for a society that no longer exists.

Young designers enter this toxic paradigm with little awareness of the burgeoning digital-only fashion industry, and its focus on non-physical garments that utilise tech and web3 tools as a means to improve the entire fashion experience, from creation, to wearing, and the concept of ownership.

What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance?
The current protocol to launch a fashion label that has led to an industry optimised for monopoly luxury fashion or fast fashion.

Devil Wears Prada breaks it down well.

What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?
Fashion labels are created with the assumption of a sole auteur at their helm directing the aesthetic and defining collections. They operate within a system that demands a constant seasonal output and unsustainable production practices that optimise for even greater waste and value depletion.

Our protocol proposes to shift this thinking by demonstrating that a digital-first, collaborative fashion label will radically improve the industry, by involving the fashion audience in the creation of collections and rewarding participation that also builds value after point of sale.

Our research will focus on these key areas:

  • Digital first design processes that avoid wasteful prototyping and sampling processes
  • Blockchain native to provide traceability, provenance but also a novel loyalty social creds system that will allow products to retain value after sale
  • Participatory and community driven to help ensure demand and supply meet, enable emotional ownership of the process and rewards conscious behaviours that are digital native
  • Enabling positive and diverse identity expression through digital clothing

What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol?
Desk research

  • Historical review of how current fashion industry protocols emerged (i.e. cycles, production processes, rituals such as Shows, commercial structures, fashion weeks, seasonal collections etc)
  • Review of the recent examples of digital on chain fashion to create a comprehensive overview of the scene and best practicies

Field Interviews
Traditional and idependant brands on how traditional labels operate and challenges they face
(i.e. Tommy Hilfiger, H&M)

Independent Creators that are doing digital first/ web3 native

  • Stephy Fung
  • SYKY
  • G Money - 9DCC
  • Jeff Staple - Stapleverse
  • KIKI WORLD - co created beauty brand
  • IYK - Off the shelf on chain NFC platform
  • d_archive

Educators working in the field at

  • Central Saint Martins
  • Instituto Marangoni
  • Parsons
  • CLO3D

Tech platforms participating in the digital fashion space

  • Roblox
  • Unreal Engine
  • Epic Games
  • Spatial
  • Decentraland

In what form will you prototype your improvement idea?
Open source Toolkit and resources for adopting multiplayer/ participatory labels. The final contents of the toolkit will be determined from the research but may include avatar files, 3D files, patterns, NFT templates and guides on process, interviews with experts. See Virgil Abloh’s How to Start a Label resource.

How will you field-test your improvement idea?

  1. Seed the tool kit to 3 - 4 emerging fashion creators for them to create a small capsule collection
  2. Gather feedback
  3. Depending on interest and results run a more open activation on a platform like Joyn.

Who will be able to judge the quality of your output? Ideally name a few suitable judges.

  • The Fashion Innovation Agency
  • British Fashion Council
  • Maghan McDowell, Tech Editor, Vogue
  • Cathy Hackl, CEO, Spatial Dynamics

How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea?
Open source tool kit and report on findings published online and shared. We can also organise live streams with fashion schools and communities.

What is the success vision for your idea?

  • That emerging designers and existing labels adopt these protocols and shift the industry to become more sustainable, diverse and ethical
  • That this will just the first of many open source releases that will help build the foundation of the new fashion industry. That we will inspire the next Virgil Abloh, Vivienne Westwood to step up and shape a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry.

This proposal is a draft and we’d love to hear feedback before final deadline. Thankyou!

7 Likes

Incredibly interesting and much needed PIG. Will follow this!

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Hey @NirmalaShome, Michaela,

This is really cool. The things it immediately reminded me of were the VivoBiome project, which scans one’s feet to make custom shoes, and on-demand custom apparel manufacturing (e.g. Unmade). I can easily see how digital-firsting fashion design would alter the auteur-led dynamics; also imagine it would change commodity clothing massively, too—currently reading the Murderbot series and used generic apparel just gets fed into recyclers/processors and new garments are produced.

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This is really exciting to see! Cheering you on!

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Hi msms, appreciate the support and the references, they all look fascinating! Indeed, the subject of fashion’s wastefulness is huge and multi-faceted; and also includes the use of AR, ‘virtual try on’ to reduce returns and design-on-demand. Will check out all the links you’ve sent. Thank you!

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Appreciate it! Thank you for the interest and support :pray:

Thank you @babymango always happy to be cheered on :heartpulse:

Apropos and needed right now to get off the sauce as I say. I am currently keeping a small gig with a global retailer as a means to make ends meet and I see the waste zombie moving in every stage of getting the garments to the consumer. There are so many things in this system that need an Audi bot just back of the house but the customer facing as well to get the “consumer” used to the idea that we are utilizing resources that need processing and are very much connected to an entire chain of processing that is both extractive and intensive.

There is so much yet to be explored around 2nd hand markets that I think often become incredibly niche and relegated to social media now.

Love where this proposition is leading. Cheering for your further successes.

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Very cool! Looking forward to following the progress here!

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Yes the 2nd marketplace is such a huge opportunity and as you say much needed urgently. Aura Blockchain is a good example of what luxury products are doing but more for traceablity and authentication. The EU is also trying to enforce digital passports for all luxury items, but this needs to be in place for all fashion goods really.

9DCC from G money and BB3 labs are also doing some interesting things with post purchase engagement to build value.

Thanks for your interest!

Thank you @benculpin :pray: :raised_hands: