When we spoke to Cat Taylor back in June, the young London-based creative detailed her journey from the physical world of textile design to the virtual one of digital fashion. Studying textiles at Camberwell College of Art, the young designer used the final stages of her degree to explore the emerging niche which now forms the foundation of her practice. Innovative and future-facing, Cat’s work uses 3D software to create precise reconstructions of real-life garments, placing them in other-worldly settings that could only exist in the digital realm.
Reflecting on the importance of her physical roots in the discipline, Cat tells It’s Nice That: “My background studies give me a deeper understanding of fabric properties and how they interact with the body as well as enabling me to combine my pattern cutting and garment construction knowledge with 3D softwares.”
Cat’s latest project – a mesmerising collaboration between Selfridges and her collective Digi-Gal – is testament to her profound understanding of fashion as a craft and her pioneering vision for it’s future as an industry. A campaign film for The New Order – Ready to Wear AW 19, the work digitally recreates the collection’s pieces and animates them in a series of surreal scenarios in which they strut without bodies across enchanting virtual landscapes.
The global community of female, trans and non-binary 3D animators and designers which comprise Digi-Gal offered a wealth of diverse talent for the project. “I posted the project within our Digi-Gal forum to see who was interested and selected a range of designers,” Cat explains. “Some were straight out of uni and others had been working within 3D for many years.” The final team – Jocelyn Anquetil, Alexa Sirbu, Stephanie Fung, Christina Worner, Laura Subirats, Bahar Ergul, Seb Bruen – worked from the Digi-Gal studio in North Greenwich, and occasionally over Skype, to bring to fruition the their first-ever campaign as a collective.
The first step for Cat and her team – inspecting the collection in real life – was vital to understanding the material properties of the clothes. “We reviewed the physical garments so that we can digest how it looks, feels and moves around the body,” Cat recounts. “This is a super important part of the 3D construction process as we aim to produce the most convincing and realistic garments in order to spotlight the artistry in every piece.”
The process of reconstructing these garments was a meticulous and painstaking one. This attention to detail, combined with Cat’s comprehensive knowledge of physical fashion, gives the final renders their uncannily real quality. “We studied and recreated every detail from inside hems and linings, fastenings, stitching, tassels and labels,” Cat details of their approach. “Using our physical pattern cutting and construction knowledge, we are able to completely reproduce the most complex of garments by without being provided a single pattern piece.”
The clothing complete, the group shifted their focus to the invisible bodies which move through the scenes. Each model possessing their own unique walk, this motion draws out the individual character of each item as well as informing the design of the surrounding landscape. “When designing the environmental scenes, it was often dependant on how we visioned a particular garment to exist, animate through and interact with certain elements,” Cat muses. Reflecting on the importance of this aspect for the overall impact of the work Cat says: “By creating dynamic 3D fashion animations and individual landscapes that complimented and interact with every piece, the campaign highlights the artistry found within each designer garment.”
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