Are digital clothes the next big thing in fashion?
The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-forwarded fashion from 2020 to 2050 and from the digital fashion shows to AI fashion models and influencers like Lil Miquela.
But, this change requires digital fashion creators. Making waves in the digital realm of fashion is the 3D designer Cat Taylor.
She specialises in creating digital outfits, and some of her latest looks take on Off-White, Balenciaga, Vetements, and A-COLD-WALL.
As a student in textile design at Chelsea College of Art – very handy with physical textiles and materials – she realised that the digital realm is what she loves working with.
With that realisation, Taylor spent hours online, teaching herself how to use software to create 3D digital clothes.
“I took the leap and taught myself as much as I could before I had to present my graduate collection,” said Cat.
In fashion, the 3D digital design allows designers to create realistic prototypes in a variety of different styles without having to make the garments. As such, it eliminates enormous amounts of waste each year.
Since graduating, the designer has worked on several freelance projects for Nike and a few personal projects inspired by Off-White.
She has designed the animation of a modeless jumpsuit seemingly walking along (bouncing breasts included) for the latter’s AW18 collection.
While the need for the 3D digital design was evident to Taylor, while being picked up by major sportswear brands, the fashion industry has been adopting it rather slowly.
“I think people are scared that the industry will tip over into completely digital 3D design. It is not going to. Paintings and photographs still exist together,” added Cat Taylor.
Apart from that, Cat speaks of the difficulty of working as a young woman in the predominantly-male 3D digital design business.
To create a positive change, Cat has launched Digi-Gal. It is an online platform for women seeking to connect with others in their industry.
“I’ve had loads of great feedback, with so many people telling me that previously it’s been so hard finding women working in 3D. It is nice to know there’s this online registry for you,” says Cat.
“Some say they’ve got work via the Digi-Gal and that’s great to hear. Moreover, I’ve seen a lot of people who have become connected thanks to the initiative, and that’s what I wanted.“
When Cat was asked to share her views on the growing 3D digital design industry, and what the future holds, here’s what she had to say:
What interested you in working in fashion?
Cat: My main aim in life – all the way back when I was in year nine – was to go to Central Saint Martins.
I was always interested in the smaller details, so I chose to go into textile design, rather than design more wholly.
That lent itself to looking at materials in close detail. After taking a foundation course, I decided that Chelsea was the one I was dreaming about.
How did that lead you into 3D digital design?
Cat: I’ve always had a stronger digital side, so I wanted to use that to my advantage.
One day I came across some software I could use to do digital designs, and I decided that would help set me apart.
I started teaching myself first, but my tutors didn’t understand. They said: ‘We don’t know how to mark this, so it’s on your head’.
Yet, I kept doing it anyway, and I’ve been pretty successful so far.
Were you surprised that your lecturers dissuaded you from pursuing 3D digital design?
Cat: Now, digital design is a massive thing but not in the past, so in some way, I get their attitude towards my work.
Although, while just a dream in my head, I couldn’t understand why it can’t become a fashion reality as well.
There were many examples already, such as fashion for gaming avatars, but there was nothing to merge them all.
Yet, to me, it became evident that it needed to happen, and that it was the next stage in fashion.
Why do you think there are so many people against digital advancements in fashion?
Cat: People’s instant reaction these days is to take offence. If there’s anything unknown, they’re against it. But, they should take the time to learn about it.
3D clothing is a new way for the fashion industry to be more sustainable.
You’ve worked with Off-White, Nike, and Sports Banger in the past. Please share with us some of your accomplishments.
Cat: I enjoyed the Nike project very much, especially the making of the three mini-films for three different designers in London with some great women were working on the team.
Then, to see my work in the Nike store… It was crazy but a proud moment for me.
I also loved working with Sports Banger; there was a massive screen outside Sports Direct on Oxford Street, with my 3D animations on it. To see my 3D clothing on such a huge screen, on a central London street, was sick.
What made you start the Digi-Gal?
Cat: There was this company I was working for, and I was getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of female representation within the 3D section.
My job was coming to an end but wanted to connect with more women working in 3D, so I just launched my online platform.
I thought: ‘I’m sure other women in tech would want this too.’
What do you think the future holds for digital 3D design?
Cat: Fashion trends come and go. But, I think, the sustainable element to fashion is here to stay.
I think the main reason the software was invented in the first place was to bring sustainability to companies.
For example, Adidas has a whole 3D design team dedicated to making 3D models with different variations.
The digital fashion approach saves time and resources, so I think this will become an essential part of any fashion business.
What are your plans for the future?
Cat: I’ve got loads of things that I want to do.
I want to bring out the digital side of fashion and infuse it into the physical realm more.
I did a project with Balenciaga that never came out, but now I want to tackle the high fashion labels such as Burberry or Gucci.
Finally, I want to reinvent the whole idea of a fashion runway show, by putting them all in 3D. What do you think, is this a good idea?
WTVOX – ‘Voicing the Future of Fashion’
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