Just a few years ago, virtual and augmented realities seemed like a utopian vision for the future. Now, they are very much part of, well, reality. The seemingly limitless possibilities of online realms have opened new avenues of creative exploration for designers. Enter: Auroboros.
Founded by Alissa Aulbekova and Paula Sello, the London-based brand fuses science and technology with physical couture and digital-only ready-to-wear collections that will transport you to the sci-fi fantasy of your dreams. The duo first started working together while in university as a side project, but soon gained recognition for their innovation and unique ‘nature-tech’ aesthetic. They have since taken up residency at Lee Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation. Auroboros was the first brand to debut a fully virtual ready-to-wear collection at London Fashion Week earlier this year. The latest in their growing list of achievements is an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the London Design Festival, which coincides with London Fashion Week.
From 18 to 26 September, Auroboros will be presenting its Biomimicry collection to the public at the V&A. Viewers will be able to experience the ephemeral beauty of nature in a couture gown that will quite literally bloom before their eyes, mimicking the growth of a flower, and slowly dissipate in real-time. Instead of a human model, the couture gown will fittingly be worn by an AI robot, Ai-Da. Just like the rest of the exhibit, there is more to Ai-da than meets the eye. Not only will she model the garment, she will also be documenting the evolution of the gown as it grows around her. Using cameras in her eyes, AI algorithms and her robotic arm, she will draw a series of self-portraits live.
The good news is, while those of us in Singapore won’t be able to see the live art performance in real life, we can still be part of the experience, thanks to augmented reality. Try on the Metamorph headpiece filter on Instagram by searching for “Auroboros” on Instagram Stories, featuring the brand’s signature growing crystals as seen on the couture gown worn by Ai-da.
In a statement from Auroboros, their aim for this exhibition is to invite audiences to consider “broader ideas of ecological consciousness and mortality that lie at the core of sustainability.” This is an objective shared by other digital fashion houses, which seek to combat some of the biggest downfalls of the fashion industry, including material waste. In this age of social media, it is almost inevitable that people have begun buying garments to spruce up their feeds. But with 92 million tons of waste already being generated by the fashion industry each year, social media-based consumerism is adding to an already alarming problem. With this in mind, Auroboros’s vision to switch from physical to digital will not only lead to a boost in comments and likes, but also vastly diminish waste and overproduction—a win-win.