Fashion and technology: giving the Metaverse new horizons
Julien Fournié and Jean Paul Cauvin (General Manager of Julien Fournié Haute Couture) exchanged on the theme “Giving new horizons to the Metaverse” during an interview conducted by Marc Petit (VP and General Manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games) at the VIEW Conference in Turin on October 18. Here are the main excerpts from this fascinating discussion.
Julien Fournié for over 12 years in the digital world
12 years ago, Julien Fournié has started to partner with a leader in 3D virtual design Dassault Systèmes. They first asked him to illustrate his vision of how 3D could help the fashion industry and particularly haute Couture.
The short video you are going to see was made at the beginning of this adventure to show the vision Julien had in mind about how 3D tools should work for fashion designers who could design directly in 3d instead of constantly going from 2D on pen and paper then onto volume research … up to the physical runway show….Jean Paul Cauvin
Fashion and metaverse worlds
Our community has yet many problems to solve before the fashion industry fully adopts virtual tools
Garments are not just “skins” that fit in the shape of the body and stick to it, like a scuba diving outfit. What we love about fashion design is also the fabrics that can create flounces, capes that can fly, have their own light or heavier weight and theiroiwn response to the body movements. And the beauty of fashion design and styling often comes from the mixing of different materials and from multilayered outfits.
This is a challenge to meet for the metavers and I am astonished by the new possibilities offered by Unreal Engine 5.Julien Fournié
What I witness for the moment in the metavers is a lot of 3D with characters dressed like static sculptures in “ sticky clothes” or with rigid fabric. Our challenge is to create a real materials library with various types of woven fabric, of jerseys, of knits, that go beyond rigid or semi-rigid materials.Julien Fournié
During the pandemic, many houses have had to make fashion films instead of runway shows, because it was impossible to gather many people in the same room to watch a show.
Some prestigious fashion houses have made some advanced projects to show their production in a virtual manner; They have also taken advantage of the incredible new media to touch new targets and sell them more sweat shorts with prestigious “logo slapping.”
I hope 3D can do better.Julien Fournié
I think the future will consist of combining in phygital events, the desire people have to gather again for an event, adding up to the physical collection, a digital dimension that can present many more designs in a new way. With Jean Paul we are developing many scripts for phygital runway shows to combine these and bring new dimensions.
With the development of digital twins, we could also avoid the physical fittings which are so difficult to organize for made-to-measure garments, by suggesting online digital fittings which could help us accelerate the process.Julien Fournié
Haute Couture works with many state-of-the-art craftsmen ( embroiderers, jewelers, origami makers, pleaters etc… and even with our seamstresses in our workshop, being able to design 3D complex garments could help us to test, to calculate the use of materials etc.
3D should not be seen as a substitute to the craftsmen incredible know-how or handcraft but as an accelerator of preciseness in the way we can communicate with the best ones.Julien Fournié
Fashion and Video Games
We have a responsibility for what we are putting in these videos games and the silhouettes I see for the moment are just close enough to reality so that they can influence gamers, but we have to promote more the real aesthetics of fashion design with people who know how to build a garment. It is very nice to see some fantastic buildings in the virtual world, but when you want to make them in real life, you call an architect, no?
Architects have already invested in the 3D world because buildings are rigid … it is easier. But it should be the same for fabrics and for garments, for interior decoration, etc.Julien Fournié
We have already approached the world of video games with several endeavors made in the PubG Mobile video game, which is part of Tencent Games and we have discovered a few things on the way. Last year, after integrating the inevitable rules of gameplay, we have tried, based on 2d approved sketches, to create new Haute Couture outfits both for the physical and the digital worlds and to launch them at the same time. Just watch this, it will give you an idea.Jean Paul Cauvin
I have realized that, in this game environment, we were still challenged by many problems: the size of the avatars had to be equal whether they are male or female. Many conceptions of the body could not emphasize differences between the male and female body types because of gameplay rules. No heels, No high hats, mid-thigh hemlines for skirts, etc.
This has a strong influence over the silhouettes we are promoting to the gamers, don’t you think?
I know that Fortnite proposes more avatar body types, including animals and metahumans.
A digital couture workshop
We are on the threshold of a new era when digital and physical are blending together. Artists and designers will express themselves in these two fields , some in both fields.Jean Paul Cauvin
Because we see the limits of the virtual environment, we want to push them further, like you all here … and at Julien Fournié, we have come to the conclusion that we should be opening another workshop, at the side of our Haute Couture physical workshop, with collaborators working on 3D garments.
I believe in positive contamination: if the seamstresses in our Haute Couture workshop work together with virtual 3D designers , both sides should understand, little by little, what they can bring to each other.
This can help Haute Couture transform itself and this can help the metaverse to enter the world of applied arts and positively contaminate real life aesthetics.Julien Fournié
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