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The Future of Fashion in a Digital Reality

Creative Direction for Fashion Alumna Ashley Yang's Work
Creative Direction for Fashion Alumna Ashley Yang's Work

Written by
Jennifer Igiri
Published date
24 September 2019

Six months ago, several students from the BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion course collaborated with leading industry innovators and digital designers to explore the concept of digital reality and how this might affect future creative opportunities.

Here’s a clip from the knowledge exchange process:

The industry is constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation in technology and its intersection with creative couture. From Carlings digital collection to Louis Vuitton’s Cruise 2020 prototype handbags, the scope for how technology and fashion can collide is unprecedented.

We followed up with project participants and recent graduates Ashley Yang and Nina Aragón to understand how the process impacted their own creativity, and to hear their thoughts on the future of fashion in a digital reality.

Hi Ashley and Nina! What did you learn from this industry collaboration?

ASHLEY: I have gained sufficient experience and insights in terms of brand-oriented and strategic communication design. To be more specific, the insights that we learnt from the industry has helped us to delve into designing a digital communication ‘product’ that fulfils a 360 user experience, engaging users’ physical and digital participation. From a brand’s perspective, I also learnt to create and interpret my design with a strong brand-identity focus across all platforms.

NINA: For the Future Directions unit, I developed a trend-report into future digital experiences introducing the concept of ‘Phygital Convergence’. Deconstructing trends, I illustrated the impact on emerging ‘personal-finance applications’ for millennials, eventually leading a team in designing a potential joint venture, joining a millennial platform and a digital bank.

Through this project, I learned how to use industry forecasting and analytics tools, mining insights towards user-personas, empathy-maps, and idea-prototyping.

How has the project impacted/informed your own creativity?

ASHLEY: The project has helped me to understand the importance of coherence and simplicity in digital communication design.

Keeping the design simple and straight-forward in terms of functionality and physicality is the key to communication efficiency.

Also, coherence across all platforms allows brands to better communicate their identity and value to users/audiences.

NINA: Through working on this project, my own notion of ‘creativity’ began to take shape. I don’t agree with the romantic notion of creativity as being about pure freedom or autonomy to express oneself. I think with most art or your own work, you’re setting parameters for yourself (i.e. theme, medium, etc.).

I think that the harder the brief or the more defined the parameters are, the more creative and strategic/logical you have to be.

Working on a project that looks to the future, I became passionate about communications beyond intrusive advertising and sales promotions, which truly reward customers by creating long-term value. This is where creativity must play a bigger role, integral to how business, brand, or product can truly enable real and tangible benefits to people’s lives.

What are your thoughts on the future of fashion in a ‘digital reality’?

ASHLEY: I think the future of fashion is going to be intertwined between physical and digital realities, and these two are inseparable.

Only a ‘digital reality’ enables audiences and consumers to experience fashion in a more diverse and instant manner through technological advances, such as AR, VR and AI.

Can you sum up what creative direction means to you?

ASHLEY: Creative direction to me is like a key to infinite creative possibilities. It functions as the core behind all great creative ideas, processes and outcomes.

NINA: Creative direction introduced me to the business of creativity. The course explores brand levers: consumer insight, marketing strategy, creative effectiveness, and digital-social media.

Having gone through this experience, how do you hope to make a positive impact in the fashion industry?

ASHLEY: I’m hoping to use what I have learnt through this experience to promote brand awareness in terms of sustainable fashion consumption in the future.

Since graduating from BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion, Nina is now a Creative Strategist, and Ashley is studying for a Master’s in Business while also doing part time digital media designs.