Interview: 3D Fashion Designers Anna Liedtke and Sofia Duineveld at The Fabricant
InterviewBy Thomas Dahm,
Anna Liedtke began her career ten years ago as a conventional fashion designer in the industry, where she started to implement 3D software to replace the conventional process of designing and developing a collection. In her role as Senior 3D Fashion Designer for The Fabricant, she specializes in pattern and texture creation, where she combines her physical knowledge and practice to create new experiences that would never exist in the physical world.
Sofia Duineveld is a 24-year old Digital Fashion Designer at The Fabricant. She started her fashion career by studying at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, and I slowly developed herself into a creator for the digital world. At The Fabricant, she works closely together with big fashion companies. Helping them to become more sustainable by digitizing their product creation process.
What is digital fashion design, and how did you two get started in the field?
Anna: I received training for CLO 3D, a 3D software specialed for garment creation, at my former company. I was immediately hooked on this tool, which allows for much more creativity. Aside from the lasting impact of having fewer prototypes to send to our office from around the world, I had many more opportunities to make design decisions that I couldn't make with sketches. Color gradients and textures were also visualized so well, allowing for an overview of the collection in all aspects.
Sofia: When I was studying we had one class about digital fashion design and I loved it. I decided to do an internship to gain more experience in the software CLO 3D. During this internship, I learned about the many benefits 3D has over the traditional product development process in terms of creativity and sustainability. I felt it was the perfect tool for me to make an actual change in the polluting industry we are in.
Tell us a bit about your creative process.
Anna: It's a very "handcrafted" process. In 3D fashion software, you're still working with traditional tools like pattern pieces and sewing tools. People expect you to push a button and things change automatically. Instead, the knowledge of a fashion designer is the foundation needed to create a level of detail that makes the digital garment realistic and beautiful.
Sofia: We usually start with a 2D pattern and an avatar. We then digitally stitch the 2D pattern together to create the clothing piece and drape it around the avatar to see if it fits or if we should make alterations to the pattern. In the software you can add your fabrics with physical properties, colors, and trimmings. When everything is added we can make an animation, create an environment and render the final product. These final steps are mostly done by our VFX designers in other 3D software as these are more specialized in these fields.
Which phase of the creative process excites you the most and why?
Anna: The modification of pattern parts. Because unexpected things happen that would never happen in a simple sketch. Trying out shapes and details, especially towards couture, which I would never have the time for in real life. The next step is to use digital materials that make the garment look out of the ordinary, giving it shine and transparency that didn't exist before and that makes the process so individual.
Sofia: The part that excites me the most is adding the digital materials and the way you can immediately see the beautiful outcome. When I worked with physical garments the fabrics were also the thing that I loved most because it directly creates a mood.
With NFT's and the metaverse becoming more 'mainstream' how do you think digital fashion will evolve?
Anna: We are currently at the beginning of a new era, and it is difficult to predict where the journey will take us. However, I wouldn't call it mainstream. We are in the next stage of a technology era, and we are constantly developing new tools. Digital fashion is becoming more accessible to customers, whether it's NFT, augmented reality filter, or in a completely digital world, the metaverse.
Sofia: I agree with Anna that the way to make NTF's ‘mainstream’ is still quite long. There are still many people and companies that need a lot more education on the topic of digital fashion. The fact that more and more major fashion brands are creating their own NTF's is speeding up the process for sure. I hope these brands will also focus their attention on making their creation process more digital too.
You are designing digital wardrobes all day. Which physical material or fabric you cannot live without?
Anna: All spandex jersey pieces I can wear in front of my computer, lol. Dress like a diva in the metaverse and like one who “goes to yoga class” in real life.
Sofia: I couldn’t live without great fitted jeans, so denim is definitely something that you will see me wearing most of the time.
You will give an artist talk at Playgrounds Blend 2021. How do you prepare for an artist talk?
Anna: For the presentation, we try to select several projects that we have worked on in the last month. To show a variety of use cases in digital fashion. For most people, it sounds suspect to have someone working as a digital fashion designer. So it's best to give an overview and explain to an audience that may not have had any previous touchpoints. I also try to find examples to compare things to make them easier and more comprehensible.
Can you share a little bit about what you plan to present at Blend?
Sofia: In our presentation, we will discuss what digital fashion is and what the benefits are over physical fashion. We will show some examples of work we did and give an introduction to a platform that our company has been working on for the past couple of months.
1. Your favorite channel right now:
Anna: Watching very random Tutorials on YouTube about Adobe Substance or VFX artists.
Sofia: I think for a beginning digital designer the twitch streams we do at The Fabricant are super helpful and you can learn a lot. For me personally watching someone work on twitch is very relaxing but also helps me a lot because I can see if they have another workflow and ask questions I might have in the meantime.
2. What is the best life advice (or lesson learned in business) you ever received:
Anna: Don't bend in a direction that doesn't suit you. Find your personal passion and make it your job.
Sofia: Do what makes you happy
3. Best website/destination you go to for inspiration:
Anna: Vintage Fashion Blogs on Instagram
Sofia: I always get my inspiration from history whether fashion or another industry
4. The app you can’t live without?
Anna: I had in the past an Ipad with Adobe Fresco which I actually really miss.
Sofia: WhatsApp, to stay in contact with family and friends.
5. Book we should all read?
Anna: I´m more into movies or series. I loved the Visuals of The Green Knight.
Sofia: I’m also more interested in movies, series and documentaries so something that everyone should watch is ‘The True Cost’
To be in the audience for Anna Liedtke and Sofia Duineveld’s presentation at Blend, simply purchase tickets online. Entry to the dynamic on-site festival grants access to plenty of keynotes and an outdoor expierence. We’re excited to partner with We Are Playgrounds to help spotlight the 20+ artists in attendance and celebrate the creatives in attendance. Neon Moiré is a media partner of We Are Playgrounds.
Images courtesy of The Fabricant.