VIDEO
An ode to
Kraftwerk 1978
PROFILE
Raf Simons:
Radioactivy,
Revolution and Redux
VIDEOTORIAL
REMOTE CONTROL
Profile
Through
The Eyes of
Norbert
Schoerner
Videotorial
Terra incognita
FEAUTURE
Going
Digital
SPECIAL
Virtual Relics
of an Uncertain Time
Videotorial
PERCEPTION OF REALITY
FEAUTURE
3045:
Choose
Your
Fighter
ART SPECIAL
Return to sender
Feauture
Reforming
fashion's
fabrications
Videotorial
METAMORPHOSIS
Art Special
Blur, Smudge, Sharpen:
Kenta Cobayashi
Filtertorial
FACE-TO-FACE
VIDEOTORIAL
RECON
Filtertorial
Adriana Hot Coture
Editors' Letter
Dear Viewer,

It is with great pleasure that, after months of hard work, we proudly welcome you all to this brave new venture, VHF video journal.

Lately, it seems the world is evolving faster than ever. After this past year’s events, everyone is calling for radical change. And rightly so. At VHF, we want to envision a better future and positively influence the generation to come. A world with no labels or stereotypes, with technology playing a fundamental role in our evolution.

And so, we thought it was time to create an inclusive, sustainable, forward-thinking publication, that blends fashion with today’s digital conversation. We’re taking you on an interactive video journey, the first of its kind, where you can watch, share, shop and like through video; pushing the boundaries of virtual editorial and shopping experiences.

Our mission is to explore the multi-faceted concept of ‘future’ - in all its entities - and our pilot issue, Issue 0 - Terra Incognita, is VHF’s first deep dive into the idea. Through various interpretations, we explored current and past societies and their relationship with advancing technology and the evolution and disruption of Mother Earth and its impact on everyday life.

This issue explores the concept of future today, in our every day, and how we envision - and even wish to evolve it - in the years to come. Our community of revolutionary artists from the fashion, art, music, gaming and AR worlds, including Norbert Shoerner, Yvan Fabing, Phoebe Arnold, Misato, Pascal Sender, Andy Picci, Ines Alpha and Visualize Mee, will guide you through this multi-sensorial journey.

Continually evolving, VHF is the voice of a digital revolution. We want to shape the future of digital media together, and your voice will be heard.

Join the digital revolution!

Editor in Chief & Creative Director

Fabio Merche

Profile

Raf Simons:
Radioactivity,
Revolution
and Redux

words by Georgina Evans
video: Raf Simons SS21

The year 2020 was a blockbuster for Raf Simons. The Belgian designer launched womenswear for the first time under his label, debuted his break-the internet-worthy collection for Prada and celebrated his eponymous brand’s 25th anniversary with an exclusive 100-piece archive launch, dubbed ‘Raf Simons Archive Redux’. All the while, Simons was tapping into today’s zeitgeist of revolution, rebellion and youth. (Arguably, the trifecta of Raf Simons references.)

2020 was a revolutionary year in itself; riots, protests, Gen Z dominating the digital landscape, vilified youth (despite their enactment of positive change), sweeping political unrest and of course, the pandemic. Utilising memories and past experiences of adolescence, Simons’ forward-thinking designs hold a mirror to the urges of now. His SS21 collection, in particular, ‘Teenage Dreams’, was a social commentary on the conviction of youth. With memorable slogans ‘Children of the Revolution’, ‘Join Us’ and ‘Youth Against! Emblazoned on signature polo-necks and pins, this collection called for fire and unrest, it’s longline tunics and bell-trousers echoing the radical 60s.

Channelling both order and disorder, Simons imbues the energy of a nonconformist within the realms of polished, often uniform-like, fashion. Quentin Crisp quoted in Raf Simons and Francesco Bonami’s exhibition book The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes, 2003 says ‘The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time.’ A message challenged this past year.

Notably, Raf Simons’ FW98 ‘Radioactivity’ collection, the footage of which resurfaced in 2020 and from which Simons released a look for the anniversary archive, epitomises Simons’ knack for this equilibrium of structure and angst. This particular collection was an ode to Kraftwerk’s 1978 release The Man Machine and its album cover. Models were straight-laced and sharp, a select few sporting red-shirts and bowl haircuts akin to the band’s video, while others walked in swathes of black. It was uniform and almost militant but saturated with a rebellious energy.

Simons’ love for Kraftwerk manifested at a time when clubs were defined by their genre of sound, when what you wore and listened to defined who you were and what you stood for. His obsessive interest in music, mainly electronic and techno, is no secret. Band badge motifs are calling cards that have appeared over the decades, and Simons’ love for nostalgia permeates through music references. Rather than the trope of punks or rock and rollers, for Simons, it’s techno that inspired adolescent anti-establishment ideas. Both Simons’ SS21 and FW98 collections are visual anthems of revolution - the former a heady nod to the psychedelia of the 70s, the latter a New Wave tribute. Both era’s of change, energy and the slander of youth.

In contrast, The Prada SS21 Womenswear show - Raf Simons’ debut as co-creative director alongside Miuccia Prada - was a uniform antithesis. Simons and Prada nodded to communities and the uniforms of subcultures, to the uniforms we wear to assimilate with a tribe, our personal uniforms (Raf’s is a black Prada trouser for those interested) and our use of uniform to clear the mind, to display our true self, or to challenge the status quo. There's an implied idea of quiet revolution through the free-spirited narrative and functionality.

Raf Simons and this last year of collections, launches and reveals presents us with options on how to dress for the revolution; a pin badge to announce your antagonism? A transformative music-inspired tribute? An archival collector’s piece? Or perhaps a formulaic uniform that appears formal but incites insurgency? All are welcome with the ‘poster boy of rebel fashion’, Raf Simons.

christopher-kane
Crystal mesh sweetheart dress, £1,495
prada
Re-Nylon headband, £265
maxine-beiny
Cut out cardigan, £150
r-and-m
Choker chain bra, £265
halpern
Off-the-shoulder zebra-print satin jumpsuit, £1,050
lanvin
Leather Rita pumps, £550
balenciaga
Court shoes, £690
gucci
Ken Scott print velvet coat, £ 3,350
versace
Pastel tailored trousers, £650
versace
Greca hoop earrings, £430
lanvin
Pencil cat bag in python, £3,900
versace
Medusa Aeternitas choker necklace, £490
Profile

Through the Eyes of Norbert Schoerner

words by Dino Bonacic videos by Norbert Schoerner

The future-proof, forward-thinking power of visionary creative Norbert Schoerner.

If you scroll through Norbert Schoerner’s extensive portfolio of work, it’s easy to pinpoint some of the most culturally significant moments from the past three decades. In the 1990s, it was his partnership with The Face that produced photographs that captured the zeitgeist. His imagery of fresh-faced Angela Lindvall for Prada’s AW98 campaign has since become the definition of ‘nineties minimalism’ thanks to Schoerner’s capturing of Miuccia Prada’s iconoclastic designs. ‘I’m delighted the campaign has had such an ongoing cultural effect.’ Quips Schoerner.

During the noughties, Schoerner extended further into the mainstream with his work for heavy-hitting fashion publications such as Vogue, while also creating a path of more abstract work that delved deeper into the realm of art photography and film. More recently, he was the lens behind the futuristic - and hotly anticipated - cover art of Lady Gaga’s sixth record Chromatica – just one of the numerous musical collaborations over the years.

Norbert Schoerner, new Dawn (Cut 1)
New Dawn (Cut 2)

Born in Bavaria in 1966, Norbert Schoerner initially started in filmmaking before shifting his career into photography. It was the record sleeve of Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here that first made a distinct impression on Schoerner. The album’s surreal, highly coded image and cover, with creative direction from legendary visual artist Storm Thorgerson, carries the same intensity seen across all of Schoerner’s work. Led by an inexplicit narrative, both the album and Schoerner’s work convey a subversive undertone.

One of his biggest critical successes is Made, a short film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, which tells the story of a young Japanese woman struggling to maintain her double life. Raw yet glossy, real but sometimes abstract; it embodies the eclectic nature of Schoerner’s films and their ability to touch our subconscious.

‘If one regards the creative practice as a permanent calibration of a broad inspirational flow then the idea of containing it by employing a specific visual signature could be seen as limiting. But if it makes your work more recognisable it can surely serve as a commercial incendiary. I’ve always been more concerned by the former.’

New Dawn (Cut 3)

Unlike many of his contemporaries, there isn’t a singular idea or technique that appears throughout his career. Schoerner reinvents himself, expanding his medium to create something distinctive. Where one film explores 3D animation and mind-boggling feats, the other may focus on an emotive angle. ‘If one regards the creative practice as a permanent calibration of a broad inspirational flow then the idea of containing it by employing a specific visual signature could be seen as limiting. But if it makes your work more recognisable it can surely serve as a commercial incendiary. I've always been more concerned by the former," he explains.

New Dawn (Cut 4)

‘I live in the future. I’m fuelled by the idea that my best work is yet to come.’ – NS

New Dawn (Cut 5)

Despite having two classic inspirations, Robert Capa and Irving Penn, Schoerner continually looks to the future with his work. His video work mixes modern with analogue technologies forming a collage of past, present and future and through the years, he has never strayed away from experimentation despite his commercial achievements. While they might be capturing a moment in time, Schoerner’s visuals are timeless and exist on a continuum of inspiration. When asked about the key moment when he realised his talent, he gives the answer you can expect from a person of his ambition. ‘I hadn't! [...] I live in the future. I'm fuelled by the idea that my best work is yet to come.’

New Dawn (Cut 6)
Norbert Schoerner, No Witness
xumu
Super glossy black giant puffer coat, $780
christopher-kane
Crystal midi dress, £1,195
prada
Poplin shirt, £715
prada
Re-Nylon gabardine tie, £240
simone-rocha
Cherub-embroidered cotton dress, £1,395
atsuko-kudo
Tie, £39
elissa-poppy
Red short gloves, £45
atsuko-kudo
Male collar, £54
patou
Embroidered poplin collar, £195
elissa-poppy
Omega Opera glove, £65
atsuko-kudo
Kitty collar, £70
no21
Chunky chain-embellished ballet flats, £475
VIDEOTORIAL

TERRA INCOGNITA

Video by Yvan Fabing

Fashion by Phoebe Arnold

Performance by Mette Linturi @Antiagency

Feature

Going digital

words by Georgina Evans

It’s been a tumultuous 2020 for the fashion world. The year brought about a lot of introspection, change and adversity, and, by necessity, a massive progressive shift in fashion’s digital landscape.

Whatever digital strategies were in the longterm pipeline were accelerated to the now. As we were trapped indoors, fashion had to adapt and create digitally engaging worlds, inviting viewers to discover new fashion forms. Previously, we were enveloped into the fantasy of transformative show spaces, intuitive shopping experiences, or craftsmanship exercises. Now we enter alternate realities, virtually try on garments or play with branded filters. While obviously, there will always be the physical-side to fashion, this year has taught us to appreciate the digital counterpart’s importance.

Gaming is one of the first realms, where the importance of digital fashion has pervaded. Even pre-pandemic, the alternate characters and outfits that gaming offers have been prolifically popular. Indeed, gaming was already seeding its way into the fashion-sphere before 2020; Louis Vuitton with League of Legends and Moschino launching a digital-only collection with The Sims. This past year, fashion and gaming truly hit the mainstream with high-fashion brands such as MM6, Ralph Lauren and Christian Louboutin choosing games to portray their fashion fantasies. As reality became harder to face, we immersed ourselves in fashion games and alternate realities. Your Bitmoji may have been a successful social climber when you were on lockdown, or perhaps you showcased your styling panache on Drest when your fact was pyjamas and slides. As we remained behind doors, our digital counterparts explored and engaged, and it often felt that what your Animal Crossing character wore carried just as much weight as what you did. Arguably more so - where we embraced loungewear and the tracksuit, our digital counterparts were wearing Prada, head-to-toe Celine or that impossibly rare Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby coat. We celebrated our avatar counterparts and the alleviating fashion fantasy they provided.

Courtesy of IoDF for Adidas

While obviously, there will always be the physical-side to fashion, this year has taught us to appreciate the digital counterpart’s importance.

Courtesy of IoDF
Courtesy of IoDF

Il3x, an augmented reality fashion platform, also provides a sense of escapism through the screen. Founded in November 2019, the platform creates digital clothes to be worn on social media platforms and with 2020’s lack of high-street access, it’s been a perfect time for customers to invest in a striking digital piece. Customers download Il3x’s unique styles, which exist as filters, and then broadcast to their followers. Much like with gaming, there’s still the allure and excitement of owning a unique piece of fashion, the fantasy of sporting something so unattainable. Here, that feeling merges with the reality of seeing your face and body in the piece. Unlike the gaming world’s direct-to-avatar designs, this feels almost tangible. With Il3x, there’s a level of exclusivity too; these unique looks are not likely to be found elsewhere. These pieces feed into our digital persona, rather than an alternate avatar or a utopian version of oneself in a game; these filters work much like social media itself. Before we might edit an IG post, or tag ourselves at that had-to-be-there location to define or distinguish our digital personas, now we can sport a digital Y2K trend-piece to curate our online-persona fantasy. We’ve always emphasised our social media personas, that digital side of ourselves is what makes us money, gets us jobs, makes us friends; it’s an extension of our lives (whether we care to admit it or not.) Perhaps, now our other digital selves - game avatars, augmented reality renderings etc - will feel that same value and importance.

Courtesy of IoDF

It’s easy for us to think of these digital iterations as subsidies to the physical. Still, brands and collectives will succeed best by thinking of digital fashion as an equal party.

The Institute of Digital Fashion, (IoDF), offers an alternate strand of digital fashion, an improvement on reality; catwalks, digital presentations, virtual lookbooks, each showing a digitally-led forward-thinking alternative. They render high-fashion pieces in augmented reality to create inclusive works on a breadth of body shapes, and in a range of styles and textures. There’s a sense of social responsibility in all they do. In this case, it’s less about curating a digital persona, be that through avatar or downloadable look, and more about enacting digital change that benefits both consumer and client. Similarly, The Fabricant, a well-known digital fashion house, is working to ‘show the world that clothing doesn’t need to be physical to exist.’ There’s no wastage, no planet harming manufacturing either. In a world where influencers are buying trend-pieces just for the gram, Il3x, IoDF and The Fabricant are a few of the players opening the digital gateway to a sustainable alternative. It shows that digital fashions have a more comprehensive benefit than a form of temporary fashion-forward escapism or 2020 novelty.

It’s easy for us to think of these digital iterations as subsidies to the physical. Still, brands and collectives will succeed best by thinking of digital fashion as an equal party. Pre-collections could exist on the screen, in-game or filters, while their seasonal counterparts continue on the runway. Brands could launch one essential look from a show online for all to enjoy or presentations could be live in Paris and simultaneously via Playstation 5. Our digital personas are just as important as physical existence. Now that we have a democratic digital alternative, an all-inclusive fantasy, and a sense of escapism - those should continue even when the fanfare of a Chanel show and the drama of a Louis Vuitton store exist.

Special
versace
I Love Baroque Cushion, £270
Pillow by Versace
AR Experience

Virtual Relics of An Uncertain Time

words by Georgina Evans artwork by Andy Picci
Artist Andy Picci and VHF collaborate on a new art project that questions identity and consumption.

Even if you don’t recognise the name you will no doubt recognise Andy Picci’s work, his globular 3D fonts and filters are ubiquitous. Dominating the art of the Instagram filter and selfie, Lausanne-born artist Andy Picci’s work captures our most intimate moments, distorting our realities, questioning our identity. The artist has created fake realities (he successfully rendered himself into Pete Doherty) and provided engaging pandemic-proof pieces. His work is sometimes performative, challenging our virtual alter-egos, and occasionally insular, inviting the viewer into his exploration of true-self.

In collaboration with VHF, Picci has created an interactive artwork that comments on consumption in this eco-age through the ever-evolving digital landscape. Designed for Instagram, the work invites the community to share an image of an object that will remain in their possession for the next five years. The interactive piece seeks to question what it is that we value and why; why is it that this piece will remain over others? How many of us have an emotional connection to objects?

seletti
Love in bloom vase, £75
Heart vase by SELETTI
AR Experience
Various books
AR Experience

Picci curates these relics, 3D scanning them into a digital archive of people’s most precious possessions. Viewers can interact with the objects we cherish through an AR experience, deciding for themselves how much of our online persona is an extension of ourselves, reflecting on our consumerism. Will you select a valid object or choose based on the knowledge of its existence on social media? What will you choose?

Orange
AR Experience
Mac Book PRO by Apple
AR Experience
apple
MacBook Pro, From £1,299
Set of matches by Diptyque
AR Experience
diptyque
Benjoin perfumed matches, £13
dior
oblique patch overshirt, £790
dior
oblique shirt, £1,150
louis-vuitton
Cigarette trousers, £695
mugler
High waist sheer panel midi skirt, £875
mugler
MUGLER Sheer tulle panel bodysuit, £515
VIDEOTORIAL

PERCEPTION OF REALITY

CGI Video by MISATO

Fashion by VHFdigital

Feature

3045: Choose Your Fighter

words by Bella Gladman

How do we imagine clothes for the year 3045? Bella Gladman looks to the sci-fi films of the past to predict the fashions of the future.

From the sixties up to the mid-seventies, sci-fi films like Barbarella and Logan’s Run dressed their characters for a future that was energetic, fun and sexually liberated - much like the cultural timbre of the time period itself, characterised as it was by a huge youth demographic and the introduction of birth control pills.

Jane Fonda’s babelicious intergalactic agent Barbarella wears a panoply of thigh-baring bodysuits - some have perspex boob cups, others have strategic cut-outs (very breast orientated) - worn with go-go boots. Jenny Agutter’s character Jessica 6 in Logan’s Run wears a diaphanous mint green mini tunic (no knickers) as she is beamed into our hero Logan 5’s room for a bit of casual sex. They’re clothes that make sure you know that these women are very much up for it.

Fonda’s most famous outfits include chainmail designs by the hot designer of the sixties Paco Rabanne, who had broken onto the fashion scene in 1966 with his show titled Twelve Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials. Said dresses were made of paper, plastic and aluminium bound together with wire and glue, Rabanne having decided that fabric was boring and ‘sewing [was] a bondage’. Clearly, the sixties’ iteration of the future involved stereotypically hot women no longer tied to the drudgery of housework so more available for sex; great for the patriarchy to get their kicks but rather one dimensional for womankind.

By the late seventies and early eighties, future fashion was less bonkbuster and more blue-collar, with Sigourney Weaver’s space transport crew member Ripley kitted out in a blue jumpsuit, and Harrison Ford’s plain-clothes policeman Rick Deckard wearing a nondescript brown trench coat, as they try to do their increasingly dangerous and isolating jobs. It’s no wonder that after the economic instability, union-busting and decimation of manufacturing in the late seventies, the vision of the future was basically Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer, but in space or dystopic LA.

prada
PRADA Taffeta top, £810
prada
Single-breasted taffeta cape, £1,710
prada
Taffeta pants, £845
PRADA SS21 BY created exclusively for VHF by @purplemoon
ART SCHOOL SS21 created exclusively for VHF @LIAMO.STUDIO
DURAN LANTIK created exclusively for VHF by @purplemoon
SACAI SS21 created exclusively for VHF by @LIAMO.STUDIO

the sixties’ iteration of the future involved stereotypically hot women no longer tied to the drudgery of housework so more available for sex; great for the patriarchy to get their kicks but rather one dimensional for womankind.

The nineties and noughties brought cyber aesthetics to costuming - sleek black leather coats and dark glasses in The Matrix, and neon clubwear designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for The Fifth Element. The mood? Techno fears brought about by the new millennium and, concomitantly, the Internet becoming a domestic good, rather than something used almost exclusively by businesses or science nerds.

So if sci-fi costumes are ways to read projections of the zeitgeist: what will the costumes we design for our version of the future look like? The 2010s’ sci-fi costumes projected a militarised technical future, with Craig Green’s post-apocalyptic survival wear being adapted for Alien: Covenant. This looks set to continue for the future films made in the 2020s. Indeed, in 2020, city streets turned into battlegrounds in Nigeria, Hong Kong and the United States, as people protest state-enacted violence. And if these civil uprisings are anything to go by, the future looks war-stricken.

So if sci-fi costumes are ways to read projections of the zeitgeist: what will the costumes we design for our version of the future look like?

To be prepared for the conflicts to come, future clothes are going to have to come prepared with bulletproof vests, helmets and tear gas visors. Surveillance techniques are becoming both more accurate and more widely used, and thus resulting in more severe consequences. Removing anything that may identify you is undoubtedly going to become increasingly urgent, Future clothes are likely to be more homogenous (Prada suit and tie to blend in like the Matrix’s Agent Smith). They might also feature more camo and khaki (Sacai and ART SCHOOL SS21) or designs that jam facial recognition systems. Faces are likely to stay masked too (we should be used to it by now, thanks to coronavirus). Bring on the balaclavas!

Breathing apparatus will be useful for our extrapolation of the very real dangers of climate change. Marine Serre’s waders, goggles and helmets look promising for a costume designer who wants to combine environmental fears with the dark mysticism that is an exaggerated form of our contemporary love of tarot, astrology and witchcraft. A more optimistic view of the future might see us wearing recycled fabric collages courtesy of Dutch designer Duran Lantink; Bear Grylls-camping wear by Reese Cooper or hats made of mushroom from Eden Power Corp.

These fashion designers might be simply making things that look pretty, but maybe these future fashion projections will get us to make the necessary changes to avert or ensure our futures now.

Marine Serre SS21 created exclusively for VHF by @purplemoon
Art special
Pascal Sender, XOX

Return to Sender

words by Georgina Evans artwork by Pascal Sender
Pascal Sender is an artist encouraging the linear into digital dimensions.

As the digital landscape expands, more creatives explore and experiment with the mediums on offer. Artist Pascal Sender, a student of the prestigious Royal College of Art, stands out above the pack. The inaugural exhibitor to open the Saatchi-Yates Gallery in December 2020, Sender has carved out an innovative aesthetic within the art world. Sender’s work is an outpouring of creativity in digital mediums Sender has taught himself. He works as if answering a guttural call from within, his curious mind craves creativity as a chatterbox craves conversation. Sender’s recent works are around three years in the making and are a triumphant merging of augmented reality and oil paint. With the use of 3D digital renderings and a bespoke app, his oil paintings take on an entirely new existence through the screen, popping from 2D to 3D.

Scan QR Code to explore
AR Exhibition
Cobalto

This interactivity is vital. Be it face filters, augmented reality or multi-player virtual realities, Sender’s work, no matter how intimate, always has a level of connection. Some of his early work even had commentators on a live-stream dictating his move. It’s this external input that keeps Sender’s work fresh; there’s no sketches and no repeats of ideas; his work is encouraged to evolve as it exists. Much like the internet itself.

Over the lockdown period, this connectivity transpired through Instagram filters, a way to create and engage when the world had seemingly switched off. Often using the phone as his media, brush and canvas, Sender is a self-dubbed face filter creator and crafts not only filters but replicates entire exhibitions within Instagram’s limited frame. This past year, viewers could put themselves in situ to browse exclusive works or take a pixel selfie at his Saatchi-Yates Gallery exhibition from the comfort of their own home.

When painting diffuses his fierce creative fire, Sender switches to virtual reality or intuitive interactives, diving into the digital sphere. Sender flits between analogue and digital with ease creating a welcome sense of escapism we’re hungry for.

Ram
Dance
Filter
Feature

Reforming Fashion's Fabrications

words by Jessica Bumpus

Jessica Bumpus takes a look at fashion’s move towards biotechnology and the biodegradable fabrics of the future.

If circa five years ago someone told you their trainers were made from plastic bottles, it might have elicited shock, surprise, a certain amount of novelty and disbelief. But of late and arguably 2019, the year in which sustainability became the official zeitgeist, discovering any number of your clothes are made from recycled offcuts or composted this, and that, and other such tech innovations (even digital, per the way 2020’s penchant for avatars and gaming is going) should no longer be a surprise. It's become standard and goes hand in hand with a current search for ecological wellness. Increasingly, when it comes to fashion, here comes the science bit.

By MATERIAL ARCHIVE, Scarlett Yang 2020. music by Yikii

“I was already fascinated seeing the vast possibilities in innovation beyond traditional fashion,” says Scarlett Yang, a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins. Her final-year project, ‘Decomposition of Materiality’, developed a biodegradable textile made with silk cocoon protein and algae extract – and took on the form of a dress, rather like a glass sculpture, that would decompose. “In my placement year, I spent five months in a bio lab in Amsterdam directly experimenting with applying biotechnology and digital fabrication to fashion and textiles,” explains the designer. It was during a 2019 research trip with the Kyoto Institute of Technology that Yang uncovered the potential of protein biomaterials and, she said, “decided to experiment in bio-design methods later in my projects.” She hasn’t been alone in doing so.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the One X One initiative launched. Masterminded by Swarovski and Slow Factory with the support of the United Nations, it pairs up designers with innovators to create sustainable solutions. Philip Lim teamed up with the industrial designer Charlotte McCurdy to make sequins out of algae, and Public School’s Dao-Yi and Maxwell Osborne have been working on a zero-waste and low-carbon-footprint version of one of the label’s shoes, made from fermented bacteria.

Discovering any number of your clothes are made from recycled offcuts or composted this, and that, and other such tech innovations […] should no longer be a surprise. It’s become standard and goes hand in hand with a current search for ecological wellness.

by Poan, Extract from “SINAI” Collection No.7

Since scooping the LVMH award in 2017, Marine Serre has quickly won over fans with a dystopian-futuristic aesthetic, but also her approach to conscious clothing which takes into account climate neutrality and circularity, tackling it through hybridisation. Since her SS20 show, the designer has incorporated a mix of repurposed garments and biodegradable fibres, recycled nylon and yarn, as well as plastic bottles.

At Poan, the London-based label from the former vice head of menswear at Vivienne Westwood Georg Weissacher, and French label Coperni it’s a similar story. Recycling throughout at the former and at the latter, a spotlight on a technical jersey which is also antibacterial, moisturising and offers UV protection. The brand is even named after the astronomer Nicolas Copernicus and its designers, Sebastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant cite progress, innovation and science as being a part of the brand DNA.

And there is any number of labs right now cropping up and growing replica fabrics with streamlined and non-wasteful processes. “Compared to petrochemical materials,” explains Yang – pinpointing polyester, nylon, “algae and sericin-based textiles are biodegradable, they are also programmable in terms of shapes and silhouettes.” Which sounds rather interesting, if not a little terrifying. “Because of the natural character of algae base material, they adapt/respond to surrounding humidity,” she says. And to that end, describes the materials as being akin to “co-workers… rather than solely a tool” in the design process.

“I think it’s kind of the same as yoga,” describes Eden Power Corp’s Isaac Larose of such accelerated movement in the area. “It’s always been there; everyone knows it’s the right thing to do. There’s just a tipping point, like OK, it’s cool now. A lot of people were scared to do it because it’s not cool. Now it’s cool.”

Self-confessedly hailing from a commune-living background, followed by a stint in the fashion party scene, Larose – who had a successful millinery brand named Larose Paris (which collaborated with Missoni, Wanda Nylon and Jacquemus among them) - realised he wanted to get back to his roots and launched Eden Power Corp last year, a streetwear brand that aims to introduce new ideas about why you wear what you wear. “If you dress the same and look the same and live in the same way, then the only resistance is your ideas. When you look at it, it’s a pretty basic streetwear brand, and the only difference is the idea that’s behind it, like promoting a different culture.”

Tags can be planted, embedded with wildflower seeds, and each collection is themed on an environmental issue to educate both the brand as designers as well as the customers shopping. Larose encourages the adoption of the ideas behind the clothes for real as opposed to simply the adoption of the aesthetic so that it's not simply a trend.

The pandemic, notably, has had an impact on all of this. A period of pause and reflection for which patience and appreciation have usurped the fast pace of life that went before it. Which is not to say that fashion hadn’t been experimenting with bioengineering up until this point. Helen Storey MBE is the Professor of Fashion and Science at London College of Fashion and has been exploring this relationship for over 20 years through hybrid projects and products. While Hussein Chalayan’s 1993 graduate collection, in which he buried the pieces in a friend’s garden, is the stuff of legend. And the 1990s designer Robert Cary-Williams was well-known for his use of unusual and industrial materials, often treated to be distressed.

The Stella McCartneys and Katharine Hamnett's of the world might still have been considered a niche a decade or more ago. Still, today it’s quite the opposite, and the marketplace is becoming saturated with sustainability as a brand USP. Which certainly has heralded this new and next scientific step in growing your own fashion. Where to next?

Art special
Blur, Smudge, Sharpen: Kenta Cobayashi
KENTA COBAYASHI – REM
AR experience
God Scorpion
Molphobia

What’s real? What’s edited?

words by Georgina Evans artwork by Kenta Cobayashi

To enter artist Kenta Cobayashi’s graphic, pixelated and blurred world is to feel intoxicated. His films and photographs feel as if we’re flowing through a lucid dream; viewers are coddled by the familiar imagery but alarmed by the curious smudged lines. What’s real? What’s edited? Do I recognise that place, face or space? There’s an Enter The Void feeling in some cases, in part due to the psychedelic brights and trippy nature, and what seems like a nod to Akira or Ghost in the Shell in others. The latter no doubt because of Cobayashi’s comment on the unwavering (and not always justified) association with Tokyo and technological progression and of course, Tokyo is his base.

Photoshopped painterly strokes trick the eye and give a tangible energy to Cobayashi’s virtual creations. His pieces capture when real and virtual collide - often through gaming and avatars or artificial intelligence - and with each piece we see both those ideas ebb and flow. Some works put the viewer in the driver seat and some show how we interact with the world through a lens or screen. Cobayashi’s work with British brand Dunhill and Louis Vuitton showcases his meeting of minds and dimensions: with these collaborations, Cobayashi brought his digitally created virtual realities to real, physical garments. From street, to screen, to street - his pieces went full circle.

Heady, inviting, beautiful, Cobayashi’s art is for new generations, inviting us down the rabbit hole so that we may both question and delight in our ever growing relationship with technology.

Face-to-face

Videos by VHFdigital Model Victoria Massey @elite
New-York based model Victoria Massey transforms behind the screen in this visual project, produced by VHF.

Directed over Zoom, Massey trials a plethora of digital filters from some of today’s most influential digital artists, filming as she goes. Ines Alpha, Visualize Mee, Exitsimulation, Johwska, Holy Maria and Rowi Sing all submitted filters for Massey to experiment with. You can try the filters too - click on the image for a redirect to Instagram.

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS BY ROWI SING
MATTER by Johwska
DIOR AR MAKEUP by Ines Alpha
2000s GIRLS by Visualize Mee
HOLY FLAMES by Holy Maria
PINK and PROUD by Ines Alpha
Filtertorial
Rhinestone Glam

Adriana Hot Couture

words by Georgina Evans
Designer Adriana Hot Couture (ACH) is known for teetering on the highbrow-lowbrow line; the brand dabbles in glitter fantastic, opulent embellishment and timeless styles, as well as engaging artistic performances.

ACH’s latest creative exploit is a deep dive into how all things virtual infiltrate the fashion world. Collaborating with global digital artists, Adriana Hot Couture showcases their kitschy designs and accessories through specially created filters. Each filter explores our mixed reality world: pictured here are @visualize.mee’s specialised SS21 filters, as well as creations from @laforasteraaaaa, @_kovak_ and @adrianahotcouture themselves.

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