History will look back in 2022. 2022 was the year fashion jumped headlong into the metaverse pool. It also happened to be the year the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) celebrated his 60th anniversary. As part of the year-long celebration, CFDA made its first foray into his Web3, also known as the Metaverse, with an exhibit titled “Fashion of Shade of Shade.” American design. “
Named to lead the curation effort was Darnell-Jamal Lisby, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in fashion and textile history, theory, and museum practice. He’s the new fashion assistant his curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and, like the CFDA itself, a newcomer to fashion for Avatar.
But when he pairs up with the designer at The Sandbox, a virtual space where you can see Lisby’s homage to 60 years of American fashion through January 19, he quickly finds his footing in this new frontier. is ready.
“Once you understand what they’ve done and how it’s come to pass, you’re like, ‘Oh, I know what I’m doing and I’ve done what curators do. Choose an object to tell and the rest is really history,” Lisby said. “Actually the same thing [as a museum exhibit]the only difference is that you don’t have to go through paperwork hell and all the politics of fashion.
Beyond adapting to new technology, the challenge Lisby faced was trying to condense 60 years of American fashion design into 60 designers. It falls into her five themes: illuminate the illusion, illuminate the romance, illuminate the avant-garde, illuminate the understanding, and illuminate the soul.
“Most were CFDA members, legacy designers, and bastions of American fashion,” Lisby said. “I wanted to use their work basically as a platform to talk about a range of issues that are integral to their experience and to the community they want to represent.
And, as it turns out, Lisby has found some undeniable benefits of working in the meta realm.
“I think we could really think about how to provide information,” Lisby said. “In the physical exhibit there is a wall text, but I realize most people don’t read it. Most people spend her 10 seconds on every wall text and [move[ on… But the metaverse exhibit is a great exercise in how to make information more concise.”
As an academic, Lisby sees the metaverse as the next logical step in the story of fashion.
“The metaverse platform is just a vehicle that is very much extenuating the history of fashion; it’s less about the actual renderings than another way to educate about fashion history,” he said. “It’s set up like a video game, in a way, talking to Gen Z and millennials who grew up with video games in their lives; it’s reaching audiences where they are.”
Lisby said he’s excited to take on his next metaverse project.
“I see it more or less as an extension of a physical exhibit,” he said. “As long as you have WiFi, on any continent in the world you can see this exhibit, whereas at a physical exhibit rooted in a museum, if you don’t have the funds to travel to see the exhibition, you just miss out.”
Lisby is set to present his first exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art of the physical world in April with a show called “Egyptomania: Fashion’s Conflicted Obsession”, which, he says, will “hopefully challenge the imagination of anyone who goes to see it.”
“It’s going to explore how contemporary fashion really informs the public on their understanding of Egyptian art—all the nuances of that interaction,” Lisby said. “A lot of times fashion designers find inspiration blindly and take what they find as fact. I don’t blame fashion designers or the industry for this; it’s really more of a social inclination from the public that really puts power in the hands of larger systems.”
No longer a novice in the world of designing fashions for Web3, Lisby doesn’t see the rise of virtual worlds as a threat to the fashion industry, which the CFDA represents.
“The fashion industry is not just about high style… it’s about the top-level Fendi outfit all the way down to a Hanes T-shirt and everything in between,” he said. “Fashion industry, fashion business won’t be affected in any way.”
How long it might take the academic world behind fashion to catch on and catch up with a world based on graphic design as much as fabricating fabrics could be a different story.
“The programs I went through like to keep it academic and I don’t really see it matriculating into academic programs,” he said. “They’ll just keep doing with the old guard, but the new guard is people much younger trying to shift the system. Academia can be a very complicated minefield.”
Lisby sees ambiguity regarding trademark and intellectual property as the most immediate speedbump impeding curatorial fashion in the metaverse.
“From a curatorial perspective, this is very much uncharted territory. With a physical exhibition, companies know how to navigate legal precedence, paperwork—there’s a way of collaborating between museum and fashion companies on an exhibition; it’s a lot more concrete,” he said. “With the metaverse, I don’t think anyone has that figured out. That’s the fun part, but it’s a touchy part as well. It’s very difficult to know who has control over what… More metaverse educational experiences will probably be in the future so that fine line will need to be emboldened.”
The metaverse’s association with things like NFTs and cryptocurrency—at least in the public mind—is a challenge not far behind.
“It’s really about getting people acclimated and not scared of the technology themselves,” Lisby said. “If an NFT is tied to [cryptocurrency], it’s a distraction to the news, but really, the two things are mutually exclusive. “
Going forward, Lisby sees the Metaverse as a place that makes education more inclusive and accessible, and life itself more free.
“You can do a lot more in the metaverse. “So essentially I think it’s going to be this idea of the Metaverse as a place where people can let go of their oppression, have a good time, and use fashion as a vehicle to feel a different sense of freedom.”