Digital fashion is taking over New York Fashion Week

While the world of digital fashion can make significant changes to the way brands and designers communicate with their consumers, it has yet to be completely absorbed by physical fashion weeks. In fact, this AW23 edition of New York Fashion Week may have been one of the first where the concept really had a place in the limelight, both at events in the official program and at events held alongside the event.

FashionUnited rounded up all the occasions that took place during the week, from techie parties to mock collections.

Syky party with fashion technology leaders

Syky New York Fashion Week Party. Image: Syky

In its first launch event since launching in January 2023, Web3 fashion platform Syky hosted an exclusive party alongside Calvin Klein and iD, bringing together emerging designers and leaders across the fashion technology industry. The party was to celebrate the future of fashion, which Syky believes is at the bridging of luxury fashion and Web3 technology.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of digital design collections by six members of the Syky community, including London-based designer Charli Cohen, New York-based Jacqueline Assar and British creative Clare Maguire.

Founded by Alice Delahunt, the former digital head of Ralph Lauren, Syky looks to provide a platform where users can create, curate and share their digital fashion collections. The company recently announced the closing $9.5 million in financing round, which it said would support its mission to be both a market and an incubator.

Privacy brings the nature-inspired collection to AR

Digital coat of Private Policy made in collaboration with Zero10. Image: Zero10

For the AW23 collection, entitled ‘We Are All Animals’, New York’s Private Policy went into the metaverse with augmented reality (AR) iterations of three items from the range. The pieces were created in collaboration with AR fashion platform Zero10, which, through its app, allowed users to try on the clothes after the runway show.

The collection itself referenced the dynamic between humans and animals, with baby versions of different species incorporated into the graphic design in certain pieces. The items took on utilitarian forms, with details such as straps, patch pockets and snaps, while also bringing goth and grunge subcultures into the mix. Among the selection was that of recycled denim garments donated by the brand’s community, as well as outerwear made from recycled poly faux fur.

New York Digital Fashion Week expands the reach of post-war fashion

Design by Emily Switzer @hardgrindhard. Image: Digital Fashion Week NY

This was not the only place where Zero10 was present. The tech company also partnered with Digital Fashion Week NY in a collaboration with five designers to bring five looks to AR. The event took place alongside NYFW, although it was unrelated to fashion week itself. Instead, it seemed to act as an extension of the experience, offering those interested a way to explore the world of fashion tech and the metaverse.

Among the events attended was an in-person networking and speaker summit where guests could hear talks on how to adapt to the future of fashion. An animation display was also on display, showcasing a range of physical fashions, while it was additionally possible to take part in AR features, NFT drops and Metaverse experiences. All of this added up to a fully online experience where attendees could explore an immersive space and take part in other panel discussions and presentations.

Vivienne Tam brings NFT to fashion week

Vivienne Tam AW23, NYFW. Image: Vivienne Tam

CFDA member Vivienne Tam offered an alternative idea for integrating the metaverse with a collection that brought the digital world directly to the physical runway. In her AW23 collection, ‘Weaving into the Metaverse’, the designer was inspired by a utopian vision of Hong Kong, a place where the worlds of Web3, blockchain and gaming are already out of control. In a selection of tracks, images of China’s 12 zodiac signs sat next to graphics of Web3 NFTs, which Tam felt weaved “the cradle of civilization into the metaverse.”

In a statement, the designer said: “Since the beginning of civilization humanity has used images to communicate and record our history, now humanity is using images to create new currencies, communities, environments and even worlds.”

Concurrent with her NYFW presentation, Tam also mirrored the physical experience at an afterparty where guests could access both the personal and metaphysical worlds through living portals.

BCBGMaxAzria teams up with Maeve Reilly on digital show

BCBGMaxAzria x Maeve Reilly Decentraland Fashion Show, NYFW. Image: Decentraland

Next to his natural collaboration with celebrity stylist Maeve Reilly, BCBGMaxAzria also revealed its collection in digital format during an exhibition on the open world platform Decentraland. The virtual event was hosted by avatar iterations of Reilly and the brand’s creative director Albino Riganello, who presented a 16-piece eveningwear line. Each of the styles were already seen in physical form before the online event and are available for purchase in the real world.

Speaking to WWD, Tim Reid, executive vice president of Marquee Brands, the company that owns BCBGMaxAzria, said: “The goal is to really expand the campaign to a global consumer base. A lot of people don’t get the chance to go to a fashion show or if they see it on video, they’ve seen it a million times. Here, they can jump into this new medium and see something fun and exciting where they can see the collection.”

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