Trend Bite: Renegade Renderers

As the line between digital reality and everyday life blurs, there has been an uprising of online creators coming to the forefront of innovative design. Between the boom of self-expression via social media and the evolution of digitally rendered technology over the last 10 years, this next generation of online creators are able to realize their own designs without having to follow the traditional methods of production, marketing and sales. In fact they are, in many cases, not even making anything tangible; everything exists on-screen.

It all started two years ago with 17-year-old May, a photoshopper from Hawaii and founder of @itsmaymemes. She takes images of celebrities in the latest hyped fashion from Balenciaga and Raf Simons to Nike and plays with scale to make an image sharable, totally ridiculous yet still so fashion that the account has inspired an oversize jacket trend all on its own. She has gone on to collaborate with Hypebeast on an editorial and her work inspired Kanye’s ‘I Love It’ music video last year, and Moschino’s recent runway show, proving that digital is almost the only medium you need to showcase your work.

Next up, meet Nathalie Nguyen, aka; an online-based brand and young maker who 3D renders sneaker designs in digital content. The brand has gained a substantial following on social media and she recently launched a range of merch, further exemplifying the shift of power from brands to individuals. 

She grew up in a family that stressed the importance of pursuing a career in technology and computers and is savvy to the fickle algorithms of social media and how to use them to her advantage. In an interview with Vogue she says, “I started doing beauty and makeup stuff because I was looking at Instagram as a whole. Engagement is what spreads my work, and I need more exposure [for it], so I was looking at things that get a lot of exposure. Nails, makeup and shoes are some of the highest-ranking in engagement.”

This engagement economy has certainly inspired other digital-only brands to emerge in the world of apparel: Carlings and The Fabricant have both experimented with designs that exist purely for online with the former releasing a collection earlier this year consisting of jackets, tops and pants that they digitally rendered onto their customer’s existing photos. The Fabricant exist as a digital-only company that says, “imagination is our only atelier, and our fashion stories are free from the constraints of the material world.” The company recently collaborated with denim mill, Soorty, to create a virtual denim collection.

But this exploding online world has also enabled crafters and creatives working in the physical to share their work more easily. Young makers such as Jaffa Saba and Nicole McLaughlin are influencing the game of remaking by mixing the use of streetwear, denim and athleisure. They are also allowing us to save countless resources that would go into making a new product that the world doesn’t really need. Their designs are inventive and sharable, creating so much attention on Instagram that both individuals have gone on to work with brands such as Reebok and Nike.

This new generation of creatives, makers and visionaries are working on the frontlines of the next digital revolution and through their work they are spearheading the power shift away from brand-dictated trends into their own hands. They are the next generation of consumers and yet they are much more interested in creating than consuming; an exciting shift in both the power and processes of the apparel world.

Kingpins’ Trend Bites are created by Denim Dudes to give you a small taste of the full denim trend report they have prepared for the season. Interested in purchasing the full report? Visit Kingpins Trend page.

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