This month a new world of digital couture was created thanks to the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) and the infamous high-end couture label August Getty Atelier. Through this first-ever collaboration, ‘TINITUS’, an inclusive digital showcase of the August Getty brand was created using CLO.
IoDF set the aim of merging old and new technologies as well as blending traditional couture with the intricacies of digital fashion. Key looks from the latest August Getty collection were presented in a sensory world designed and creatively directed by August Getty himself. This is one of the world’s first-ever digital couture showcases, with a total of four digital pieces. In order to create the complexity of August Getty’s Ateliers pieces, the IoDF team intricately modelled each gem, bead, fitting and fixture by hand mimicking the physical atelier’s detailed craft, using CLO, ZBrush and Substance Painter.
In light of the current situation, the project itself was built piece by piece over zoom calls with the two ateliers working in tandem and ioDF creating every gem bespoke and individually placing these on the garments with input from the August Getty atelier team. To many people’s surprise, the couture garments did not exist in physical form prior to the collaboration and were created solely using fashion illustrations and fabric samples provided by the August Getty team.
We had the exciting opportunity to speak to the Institute of Digital Fashion in order to find out more about the workflow entailed within the project, their main objective of the digital showcase, how this project has opened up new conversations in the industry, and what the future holds for digital couture.
What was the main aim of the project and how was this able to be achieved better in a digital versus physical showcase?
The aim was to build a digital showcase that went beyond what we’ve seen before. The vision that August wanted was ‘new reality’ and for the collection to live and breath within. We created one beyond borders, beyond prejudice, and beyond seasons. ‘TINITUS is its name, coined by August Getty. Part of his journey as a designer is building magical and fantastical spaces, beyond the world’s constraints, I mean Who would have thought that you could replicate the standard of couture in digital? – Well August Getty did!
Inclusivity was a big part of this project, it is the backbone of our company’s structure and the work we deliver. So, we were excited to build inclusive bodies, including a trans representation and larger body types – something never seen in couture. Part of our mission is to push forward for a new wave of virtual and physical representation that is beyond the traditions we already know in order to democratize the fashion landscape. A big part of achieving this is evaluating how technologies, such as CLO, can be used to push past some of the archaic structures of the current fashion industry.
Being one of the first digital couture showcases, how has the reaction been from audiences to see the garments in a digital realm?
This project opened up a whole new conversation in the fashion industry. A big question was raised on digital couture versus physical couture and if the same standards for the category apply, can digital-only be couture? Many digital makers agreed but we also heard a lot of people exclaim that it is “just a software program”. A big part of the work we are delivering at IoDF is demystifying the digital landscape. People were amazed to see the level of intricate details. We often see digital garments using PBR textures for fabrics. However, due to the level of complexity and craft that comes with couture we needed to build every element as individual geometry. We are proud to have started these discussions on digital artisans, as the human element such as the experts and the creators are often forgotten. People think there is a magical ‘push button’.
How was the workflow of the project and how long did it take to carry out the digital creation of the highly detailed couture pieces?
We inspected every single diamond and gem, built in alterations, and replicated the samples and references precisely in 3D. We focused on the facets and internal geometry to ensure that every piece would have the correct light pass, reflection, and the refraction as it would in true-to-life form. This workflow also included detailed feedback rounds from the physical atelier team. It took about 6 months with us occupying multiple time zones to make this happen.
After having done this exciting collaboration will August Getty Atelier strive to implement CLO into their workflow going forward?
It was a big leap and an entirely new workflow for the house. This level of dedication saw new ways to work but also new ways to deliver decision making processes. Working digitally opened up a whole new landscape, as it gave way to the possibility of interchangeable elements aiding the aesthetic developments.
We believe that every fashion house should look at using digital workflows to reduce the constant wastage and repetitive modeling that a physical design process holds. We are not preaching to push out the physical. We live in a tactile reality, we can’t negate the relationship that designers have with physical making. In fact, we believe that physical x digital should work in unison.
We are suggesting to take a leap and to think about how digitizing processes with softwares like CLO can really push the brand further, even if it may be uncomfortable or scary at first. Growth is uncomfortable – so go for it. With August Getty Atelier, we are looking at more activations and how digital can elevate the brand further using AR and VR, which is an exciting proposition for couture.
How do you anticipate the future outlook of 3D in Couture, as many high-end garment designers have been hesitant to make the shift to digital?
It takes a lot of dedication, an expert team, and time. We were pushed beyond our usual capabilities. But, we at IoDF, love those uncomfortable spaces – it’s where innovation is born. The multiple workflows between teams and the work alongside the physical atelier was intense, it needed to be, couture demands that.
We hope to continue this relationship with couture and dive deeper into showcasing the workflow.
Will August Getty be showcasing his collection entirely digital during the Paris Haute Couture show in July?
This is still top secret, there are so many variables in what is going to happen and how we at IoDF can weave digital and physical together – stay tuned.
This first experience of TINITUS can be seen via the AUGUST GETTY Atelier website and their Instagram page, which will be continuously transitioning into an immersive web experience. Find out more about The institute of Digital Fashion here.