Digital Reality

©Alex Valentina

The evolving influences crossing technology and reality.

The Spring summer 22 season is being built and conceived in new territories, where fashion stories explore an ambiguous and porous relationship between the digital and material realms. Developing exclusive products for the web or entirely digital events and fashion shows, making color choices based on computer screens and the sun’s reflection are multiplying and transforming how we do things. Adjusting to the digital world has been one of the significant challenges of the past few seasons and a formidable driver for questioning and changing the rhythms of the industry.

In the face of these overriding issues, which are impacting everyone, the upstream fashion sector is reimagining itself and adding up new skills to meet these needs creatively. And in such a context, the prospect of making room for discoveries and chance encounters, of finding ways to digitally render the power of tactile sensations and sensuality, is an exceedingly exciting challenge.

Against this backdrop, Spring Summer 22 is emphasizing a clearly evolving relationship between the virtual and the tangible.  A search for harmony that tends towards calming, less glaring visuals, a harmony that influences technology via new aesthetics and creative product developments.

After the demonization of technology – typified by the job-stealing robot – the digital-reality relationship is growing more complementary. Flirting with the poetics of humanoids, developments combining medicine, science and technology are becoming more subtle and accessible. A new trust in digital technology now lets us seek comfort in it, with a fascinating range of wellness applications targeted to overall health, yoga, meditation and even algorithm-based psychologists… AI is specialized in improving our daily lives and amping-up our connections, with phones that now function more like personal diaries than simple telecommunications devices.

On an aesthetic level, digital technology fades into the backgrounds of our everyday lives. Less jarring, less conspicuous, technology has escaped the clichés of the 20th century, with its designer fantasy of technology and the future. Today’s vision isn’t wrapped in an astronaut’s suit, but rather manifested in the invisible performance of a fabric or a leather, of a sustainable process. …. Products don’t try to attract attention, they are miniaturized, and come in softer shades, tending to eliminate all superficiality, so as to render these concentrations of efficiency as lightweight as possible.

Digital skillfully merges with reality for interactive visualizations, embeddings that are transforming our landscapes. Like a new kind of mirror, digital is altering how we make-up our faces, playing with light and tone, supplementing with filters. Some 180 million users experience this every day in just one of the many apps out there, such as Snapchat. Looks are rethought for the web’s square images, which then set high-fantasy, flashy looks against the backdrop of ordinary bedrooms or bathrooms.

In line with these developments, the real and the virtual merge to bring performance to nature, with innovative materials inspired by the world of science. Science at the service of nature, to create hybrid products uniting the best of both worlds. For example, we can perfect craftsmanship with 3D prints made from wood particles, and create new shapes that are not possible in sculpture, and thus of course help reduce waste. 3D simulations succeed in combining know-hows and scientific research to fuse elements, and when they don’t actually create new forms, they masterfully update visuals. Innovations opening up tremendous possibilities in textiles and components, set to shake up an ancestral fashion industry.

Lastly, there is a growing awareness about this relationship, and after the honeymoon period and the race to “all digital”, we are tending to align these uses with eco-digital practices. Transparent or even absent connections seem to exist only on an internet web, while screens take up space in warehouses, and are stockpiled in an actual, physical world. A text message produces heat, streaming video occupies real square meters. The abstract contours defining the digital and material worlds are growing blurred, while the magic of digital is quite tangible, and finding its way into our environments.

A new, energetically fluctuating search for balance is engendering hybrid interactions. And these are filling the space of our daily lives – from our work screens to our leisure screens, even reaching into our individual utopias, evolving our aspirations and refreshing our dreams, with all their changing colors and cheery avatars.

To take developments even further, and offer research opportunities and hybrid methodologies, the tangible and the digital realms have bright days ahead, to invent, improve and inject new inspiration, to redesign our future.

Discover here our first trend decoding of Spring Summer 2022 season about the collective. 

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