We’re living in an age where online/offline expressions of beauty are more integrated than ever. No make-up on your face? There’s a filter for that. Looking grizzly on your Zoom call? Blur your imperfections in beauty mode. Delving deeper into the metaverse, there’s no shortage of options for dressing your avatar as self-expression transcends the physical. Here the language of classic fashion and beauty gets translated to a new digital dialect. “If we think of cosmetics in terms of personal augmentation, it brings us closer to thinking about how we can splice it with tech to create something new,” says Michaela Larosse, head of content for digital-only fashion house, The Fabricant.
Founded in 2018, its plan is to build a collaborative ecosystem where creators can design and develop their own non-physical wearables. Driven by the question, ‘Does fashion have to be physical to exist?’, we can similarly ask ourselves what that would then mean for beauty and the art of adornment in general. The Fabricant’s new Xxories collection of digital fashion garments connects users to 13 AR accessories—including 10 jewellery pieces which will be showcased in Spatial with Vogue Singapore and three yet-to-be-unveiled headpieces.
Created by The Fabricant team with creative director Amber Jae Slooten at the helm, they are offered as both an AR filter try-on or digital fashion wearables in the metaverse. Xxories draws from traditional dress from the Zeeland province in the Netherlands, married with the Dutch techno Gabber culture that prevailed throughout the ’90s. As with your own beauty looks, these digital wearables offer you the chance to co-create your reality by selecting your own materials and colours at The Fabricant’s studio.
The future of filters and digital beauty
“Digital beauty has the potential to let us extend our identity into places we haven’t seen before. In stead of using it to make ourselves more perfect, we could use it to create orange eyes, purple skin pr elf ears,” shares Slooten. “We could embrace bodies different from our own and explore identities beyond this realm and discover new sides of ourselves, which could lead us to more self acceptance in physical reality.”
Known for her haunting depictions of beauty, Singaporean US-based photographer and art director Jingna Zhang typically prefers to get “99 per cent” of her shots in-camera. As such, she discovered the addition of digital elements in this shoot to be “the complete opposite” to how she usually works.
For Zhang, beauty—real or simulated—isn’t just about being visually pleasant. It should come with “so much force of impact that it’s moving and inspiring”.
“I think beauty in the metaverse will be a means of expression and experimentation,” Zhang predicts. “The digital generation will elevate niches and memes while also giving room for creativity, accessibility and viability for what doesn’t work for the average person in real life. It might be a true retro-cyberpunk renaissance with both branded creations and couture-like AI copies.”
Lacrosse believes that technology will “move beauty beyond being a pleasing visual expression towards something that communicates our beliefs, feelings or personal point of view. In the digital world, our chosen aesthetic can be coded to evolve with our moods or respond to our Google searches. We will have many different virtual selves available to us, allowing us to express how we feel at any given moment, switching between these personas at a click. Ultimately we will redefine what beauty means to us using tech as a tool to do so.”
The XXories by The Fabricant are an access token to unlock your journey into WHOLELAND; a digital fashion experience that will unfold over the coming year. Choose wisely, and prepare to express the beautiful complexity of your multiple selves.
Photography Zhang Jingna
Beauty direction Alli Sim
Creative producer Vanessa Caitlin
Associate beauty editor Syed Zulfadhli
Make-up Kat Zhang
Hair Christvian Wu
Manicure Ann Lim
Digital Compositing Tobias Kwan
Retouching Agnes Teo
Creative production assistant David Bay
Photography assistant Wen Park
Styling assistant Dominique Yohanes
Models Serena Jane / Misc Management, Mei Yue / Mannequin Studio
Fashion design and digital dressing The Fabricant