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The RCA fashion designers creating digital worlds

In the midst of a global pandemic the way we navigate digital space has never been more relevant. Our emerging MA Fashion designers are producing new work that shows how both individual designers and the wider industry can exploit the potentials of the digital to expand our understanding of what fashion is.

As this trend accelerates, we’ve been exploring how upcoming RCA fashion designers are going beyond industry innovations to create their own digital worlds.

Linxi Zhu

Virdrobe by Linxi Zhu
Virdrobe, Linxi Zhu

Both fashion designer and digital fabric innovator, Linxi Zhu’s creations start from the raw materials of memories and bodily sensations, with a focus on innovative knitwear.

‘I'm trying to push the boundaries of conventional knitwear to imagine new material structures inspired by the worlds I'm creating’ Linxi explains.

Recent projects Linxi has been working on at the RCA include Virdrobe, a virtual wardrobe concept that provides users with the realisation or re-realisation of thoughts, dreams and memories. And Acid Cue, a techno inspired project in which designs visualise the moment when music hits the body.

Linxi predicts that digital fashion will soon be the core of the industry. ‘I see the endless possibilities in digital fashion. More and more fashion-related technologies and applications are appearing and they are impressing broader markets and customers. This is the exact moment we can make a change.’

Abi Sheng

Abi's practice engages with transhumanism and consciousness via digital avatars to imagine forms of body engineering and body modification. All taking place within a world created through 3D digital design. 

‘Digital tools enable designers to create things that are purely imaginative’ Abi told us. She envisions our selfhood splitting into digital and physical aspects as the digital world expands to dominate more and more of our consciousness.

As a future thinker, Abi believes that generating artificial bodies will soon be more relevant than designing garments in the fashion industry. This movement towards the digital is reflected in her experience at the RCA.

‘There are a lot of conversations and collaborative projects about digital fashion, technology and science at the RCA. I went to almost every digital workshop induction on MA Fashion's Digital 360 Platform.’

Zongbo Jiang

True/Fake by Zongbo Jiang
True/Fake, Zongbo Jiang

Zongbo Jiang's digital landscapes explore the potentials of digital tech to renew industry practice and the perils of the expansion of our digital consciousness through social media. He explained, ‘I want to highlight the lack of control that most people are unaware of in social media and the impact on our minds.’

Zongbo’s digital characters embody these issues in collage animations that piece together themes of media and material excess. His work foregrounds the environmental impact of fashion and the role digital fashion could play in reducing it. ‘The rise of digital technologies could provide a progressive direction for the industry to work towards reducing pollution.’

With a view to the future, Zongbo sees digital practice expanding across the industry. ‘In the last year, digital has played a huge role in fashion due to the restrictions of the pandemic and I can only see it becoming more influential.’

Interested in how disruptive new practices are leading change in the fashion industry?

 Find out more about studying MA Fashion at the RCA.