Synthesis is an international network focused on research and development on digital fashion, the metaverse, and related digital technologies. Currently, the network has contacts at AMFI, Amsterdam; BCU, Birmingham; USW, Cardiff; and the Digital Fashion Group, Brussels. We welcome new members from academia or industry. We especially welcome inquiries from individual researchers, fashion designers, digital startups, and established businesses. Currently, the network has four interrelated areas of inquiry.
We are particularly interested in developing synergies between creative designers, cybertheorists, technological innovators, and future thinkers from the creative industries. Our philosophy is based around the premise that the problems of the emerging digital age can only be addressed adequately through transdisciplinary collaboration. Furthermore, that transdisciplinarity generates original questions which would be invisible within disciplinary silos.
Digital Fashion can be subdivided into Digital-Physical (IRL fashion supported by digital tech), Phygital (Digital fashion mapped onto physical bodies / IRL), Digital-Digital (Digital fashion designed purely for the digital sphere). We are keen to bring designers, researchers, and innovators together to explore the creative potential of new technologies across these three areas. Currently, we are exploring new creative applications for software such as CLO3D, Unreal Engine, Adobe Substance, lo-fi phone apps like Lidar, and VR/XR/AR technology such as Microsoft HoloLens. We are always keen to hear from companies interested in developing new creative uses for their products.
The inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week in Decentraland (2022) represented a vision of how the fashion industry can become digitally democratised and decentralised. This parallels the decentralisation currently occurring across blockchain culture. Digital cryptocurrencies are threatening Fiat currency, DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations) and De-Fi (decentralised finance) are threatening Trad-Fi. The success of recent digital fashion startups like The Fabricant (Amsterdam), RTFKT (Paris / Utah / Miami), or Tribute (Croatia) demonstrates a generational opportunity to decentre the fashion industry from the ‘big four’ metropolitan power bases of London, Milan, Paris, and New York.
Alongside digital fashion design histories, theory, and criticism, we are generally interested in accelerationism, afrofuturism, anarchocapitalism, critical design, cybernetics, cyberpunk, cypherpunk, cryptoanarchism, distributed aesthetics, extropianism, fashion futures, hacker culture, hyperreality, net.art, network cultures, transhumanism, posthumanism, tactical media, and everything related to web 3.0. We also would like to collaborate with scholars interested in speculative fiction, sci-fi, art, cinema, gaming, or anything else which relates to the digital future of fashion.
All enquiries to:
Dr. Richard Hudson-Miles,
Lecturer in Design Cultures,
School of Fashion and Textiles,
De Montfort University, Leicester