Building A Digital Fashion House — A How To Guide

The Fabricant
4 min readJul 29, 2021

The trouble with creating something utterly new is the complete lack of reference points to guide your path. When The Fabricant was founded in 2018 digital fashion barely existed as a concept, and the idea of a digital atelier crafting couture for the non-physical environment? Forget it. It meant not only signing up for the wild ride that is start-up life, but also creating a new industry for the company to operate in. It was a classic case of the Silicon Valley mantra ‘build the plane while you fly it’ but now with ‘and the airport too’ added on for good measure.

Since day one we’ve had to define the meaning of a digital fashion house. What it is, what it does, and what it believes in, answering the questions for ourselves before we could begin to answer them for anyone else. It’s been a rolling iterative process of testing boundaries, challenging preconceptions, evaluating and revaluating decisions, and maintaining our agility so we can pivot to enhance our capabilities at a moment’s notice.

Here’s how it was done:

Speak your truth and find advocates for your cause

Is it possible to be a pragmatic radical dreamer? We think it is. It has never felt contradictory to imagine never-been-done-before possibilities and then implement practical steps to make them happen. The Fabricant’s position of ‘uploading humans to the next level of existence’ while ‘wasting nothing but data and exploiting nothing but imagination’ was and still is outlandish to some. But we long ago made peace with the idea that some people will never get the memo, no matter how many times we send it.

Unshakeable self-belief took us a long way, but finding like minds that understood our vision and believed in our work was a game changer. Dapper Labs, fellow digital pioneers and creators of Cryptokitties, was one of them, working alongside us to auction the ‘Iridescence’ dress as the first digital fashion NFT in 2019, earning $9.500 and global attention.

Don’t swim against the tide, create your own tide

Revolutions don’t happen because of a single entity but by multiple individuals committed to a single cause. In our case, the passion for a democratic and innovative creative future where fashion spliced with tech kicks the door wide open to new forms of self expression.

Cue one of fashion’s sacred cows being sacrificed — secrecy. Radical transparency has always been our M.O, and since day one we’ve given away our digital patterns as free file drops (FFROPS, for the uninitiated) and built a global community of convention-killing 3D creators that we named Fashionauts.

For us it was always clear: you can’t have industry gatekeepers if there are no gates to keep, so we removed any boundaries between ourselves and our audience, never treating them as passive consumers but as what they are — our peers and co-creators. In digital fashion, inspiration is a two-way street.

If you like what you see put an ‘X’ on it

Don’t just choose your collabs, let your collabs choose you. Being a game changer requires whoever knocks on your digital door to be of a similar mindset, meaning the brands willing to put an ‘X’ between our name and theirs understood and appreciated that whatever we did we’d break new ground.

Staying true to our beliefs and saying “sorry, that’s not what we do” and “nope, there is no test case” has allowed our projects to self select in favour of creativity and innovation, while bringing new value and insight to those that took the journey with us.

It’s a diverse roll call, but every single collaboration added a new plot point in digital fashion’s origin story, while infusing fashion with gaming and blockchain and vice versa.

In no particular order: BAPE, Atari, Napapijri, Adidas x Karlie Kloss, Off White, Star Atlas, Peak Performance, Under Armour, Buffalo London, I.T Hong Kong, Tommy Hilfiger, Vogue Singapore, and Australian Fashion Week.

Recognise a fundamental truth when you see one

From the moment Iridescence dropped to a world unready for the concept of non-physical garments, it was clear to us that our work was part of an ecosystem profoundly restructuring how humanity interacts, transacts and expresses itself. Fashion’s ivory tower of indifference towards innovation was about to be stormed. Welcome to the RenaiXance, folks.

While others contemplated being future ready we were present ready, building blockchain, DeFi, gaming and the metaverse into the foundations of our fashion house and the digital couture collectibles that we released in a rolling calendar of NFT drops.

In this tech epoch fashion goes beyond mere digital dress-up; it is the means by which we’ll be metaverse-ready as digital expression forms the frontline of our identity in virtual worlds. Garments made of data worn on personalised avatars will communicate our moods, belief systems, intentions and desires. The digital fashion co-creation platform that we’re building right now is the key to unlocking the Wardrobe of the Metaverse and a limitless new fashion reality. This is your future calling, make sure you pick up.

Know that there is no full stop

(to be continued…)

  • Piece originally posted on The Fabricant’s blog July 28, 2021



The Fabricant

Digital Fashion House, wasting nothing but data and exploiting nothing but imagination