LONDON — Xcommons, a Shanghai-based biannual experimental platform is launching an immersive virtual fashion showcase “Parallel Reality” with Xu Zhi, Andrea Jiapei Li and Roderic Wong in April, in partnership with ICY, a designer multibrand retailer with a focus on emerging labels, to provide an alternative for emerging designers to present their fall 2020 collection amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Visual artists Shanyi Shu and Di Liu from InterCreative United, a Beijing-based digital interaction creative agency, is re-creating the Columbia Circle, the former Columbia Country Club, a popular hangout for Americans in their 20s to 40s in Shanghai, in the digital space for the audience to freely explore from home.
They are also building a virtually enhanced 3-D runway, aiming to simulate the off-line runway experience. The audience will be able to engage with the designers in real-time, leaving reviews and comments.
Daniel Chen, known for his fringe heavy design for Xu Zhi, said: “the situation actually pushed us to be more creative, collaborative with how we present our work.” His fall collection is inspired by the story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in the Seventies, and celebrates “intimate relationships and desire among the young.”
Li, an LVMH Prize-shortlisted Chinese designer based in New York said she aims to use the video as a storytelling medium to complement the collection, and highlight the values and attributes that we celebrate in Andrea Jiapei Li woman.
“She is intellectual, artistic, determined and self-aware. At a critical time like this where individuals have to face uncertainties and challenges, often on their own in an isolated environment, it is more important than ever to turn to the inner self and discover one’s strengths through introspection,” she said.
For Wong, the fall collection reflects his thinking on boundaries and freedom. “Last year was the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but somehow I feel the ‘wall’ is growing thicker and taller. It led me to think about the ultimate differences between everything and learn to embrace that. You are what you supposed to be, and the distorted reflection I see in the river is me,” he said.
On top of the showcase, each designer has also designed a “see-now-buy-now”capsule collection for ICY.
Ying Zhang, founder of Xcommons, said difficult like this has forced them to be innovative with content creation.
“From crossover projects to capsule collaborations, we keep building different communication ways between the fashion industry and the mass market. For us, the digital experience is an interactive way to touch the audience since it offers them more opportunities to immerse in the scene and expand the brand expression forms. When digital meets fashion, it’s more contemporary and present,” Ying added.
Yingying Gu, chief executive officer at ICY, said “We hope to create a new way to express fashion via technology to empower more designers. At the same time, bridge a new connection with consumers, that they have a more direct contribution to the development of the brand.”