“The digital world allows for however big your fantasy is,” Michaela Larosse, head of content and strategy at The Fabricant, an Amsterdam-based digital fashion house launched in 2018. “One could have a dress made of thunderstorms or a suit made of living vines. All things are possible. That’s not necessarily where we go. We like to have one foot in fashion reality. Our team are all classically trained fashion designers.”
Those designers are also programmers — a skill set that, at least for now, is not common among the fashion-design set.
It’s a combination that the big fashion houses grew more interested last year as much of the physical ground to a halt with COVID-19 lockdowns.
“The phone was ringing off the hook, we had so many requests for proposals,” Larosse said.
That marks a change.
“We’ve had to spend a lot of time validating digital fashion as a relevant and really important sector of the fashion industry,” she said. “Fashion has refused to participate in the 21st century.”
Ultimately, she said, “Fashion will go to where its consumer goes. Fashion is an idea. It’s always had this personal identity kind of factor that doesn’t rely on physicality. We think of it as an emotional experience.”
The company has its own line — which Larosse described as “thought couture, not haute couture” — but currently makes its money helping other brands engage in the digital realm. Fabricant has worked with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, Off-White and more.
The Fabricant sold a digital dress for $9,500 last year, collaborated with Atari and many others and has helped brands market their own looks, replacing the carbon footprint of the sample system with digital versions of the looks.