1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your project
Hi, I am Iana. I am a digital fashion designer. I moved to Europe three years ago after I graduated in theoretical and applied linguistics in Moscow. After five years in the field of intercultural communication I decided to find my actual passion and purpose. During that period of my life my Dutch fiance and I decided to see the world and to travel across Europe. We’ve traveled to Sweden,Russia and lived in Greece, France, Italy. I traveled with very few clothes but with my sewing machine and my laptop in hand. I didn’t always have the opportunity to sew, so I started studying digital fashion. After three years of self-studying I became a professional digital fashion designer.
The POWERHOUSE digital collection is a nostalgic tribute to my school years when I still had my whole career (or careers in my case) yet to come. These two NFTs, Powerhouse Suit and Classy Trench Coat, carry small yet very nostalgia-inducing details. The Suit is embroidered with tiny cells taken straight from the well-aged biology class posters. The pattern of the Classy Trench Coat consists of a line in Russian cursive ‘Class work’ which we all used to write down in our copybooks at the beginning of every class.
With these two NFTs I wanted to bring people back to their childhood when they are still so curious: they want to know more and more and still have no idea what they want to become in the future. You are just hungry for everything which broadens your mind and thrills your imagination.
2. Describe your style
I am a symbolist. Symbolism is also my favorite direction in art and poetry. I like taking real-world objects in their original state and shape and implementing them into my fashion collections.
I try not to do it bluntly, but rather complementing a symbol with an appropriate texture and color. In the end my garments don’t scream “Look, I am [insert your option]”, but give a subconscious feeling of something familiar or nostalgic.
I would say that I am able to do what I’m doing only thanks to digital fashion. There is no logistic or financial problem for me to suddenly design some abstract embroidery of a tiny mitochondria and embroider it with golden threads. In reality it would cost a lot and be quite unsustainable.
3. How did you get into the nft wearables space?
When I lived in the Italian Alps I finished designing my first collection. Next step was to find a factory or independent seamstresses to produce it. I didn’t even want to start not having developed a zero-waste production cycle. I started looking for sustainable fabrics, factories with proper work conditions and minimum waste. But there was always waste. The biggest challenge was logistics. I could not arrange the delivery without CO2 emission.
One day I came across a podcast with The Fabricant and realized that digital fashion is what I was looking for.
Answering your question, the NFT technology goes hand in hand with digital fashion. It allowed me as a digital fashion designer to have stability and certainty that my digital design is feasible, real and authenticated.
4. What advice would you give designers that want to get into the NFT wearables space?
Ask questions, be ready to multitask, but also collaborate with people if you feel you need help. Creating an NFT wearable is a complicated process and requires a lot of skills. You need to create an idea, a story, develop a moodboard, draw a sketch. Then when it comes to actual garment development you need to construct a 2D pattern, develop prints, 3D textures, decorations of your garments. The next step is to build a scene around your garment. It can’t be a random scene, it should also correspond to the main idea. Only then you mint your NFT. You would think it stops here, but in reality it only starts. Minting an NFT without marketing it properly could be useless. This is why you should always have a clear marketing strategy on how to reach NFT collectors. You see, this process includes 5 jobs: fashion designer, pattern maker, print/texture artist, scene artist, marketing manager. And possibly more.
5. What has been the biggest obstacle?
Sometimes the scariest part about entering this space can be the amount of information about blockchain technology one needs to comprehend. This is why I was a little bit indecisive and reluctant about minting an NFT. Luckily digital design fashion communities are so helpful and inclusive, you can always ask any question. I’ve particularly appreciated Discord servers of The Fabricant, DressX, Artisant and DIGITALAX. I just keep learning by doing and sometimes figure out things on the go.
6. What is the biggest reward?
The biggest reward is to understand that you’ve actually entered the community and you’re surrounded by extremely talented people: fashion designers, 3D artists, collectors, writers, community managers. It brings you clients, people always share skills, communities provide workshops, you constantly meet new people and a single message or a request can lead to the best collaboration of your life.
7. Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Just these days, the digital fashion agency from India OnClickCloset and I have established a collaboration on an NFT fashion collection called ‘Sea Foam’. I am very happy about that because it’s always much more fun to work together. I take care of the concept and the dresses and my partners create 3D scenes and animation. We work on the marketing plan together and it’s fascinating how much more you can come up with when you have three heads instead of one.
In the future OnClickCloset and I would like to introduce our NFT collection to a digital fashion week. Also, we consider collaborating with Artisant, DressX and Zero10 app.