Photo of a fashion model in a shop window advertising Dress Of The Year Collection

Credit: Fashion Museum Bath

Posted by:

Vanessa Bellaar Spruijt Producer

on Thu 26 Oct 2023

Announcing two MyWorld Fashion Fellowships in Residence

Posted on Thu 26 Oct 2023

We are delighted to announce two Fellowships in Residence, as part of MyWorld, with Bath Spa University and Fashion Museum Bath.

The two Fellows will work closely with each other as well as MyWorld stakeholders, including Bath’s Fashion Museum and its Dress of the Year Collection. One Fellowship will be practice-based, exploring the digitisation of existing fashion assets and applications in the digital realm. The second Fellowship will theorise what kind of legal framework needs to surround the application of these digitised fashion assets within virtual worlds , whether AR/VR or other digital 3D environments.

These two Fellowships invite applications from individuals:

  • with a background or practice in game design and/or the burgeoning digital fashion sector or
  • with a background in legal studies and/or IP law to join us to explore fashion in the digital realm, and the Intellectual Property (IP) considerations surrounding this.

Dress of the Year is an annual campaign hosted by the Fashion Museum. Every year since 1963 a designer dress has been chosen to highlight new thinking within the industry. The Fashion Museum choses an industry-based individual to select the dress each year; in 2022 Kenya Hunt, Editor in Chief of ELLE UK, selected a Miu Miu mini-skirt ensemble and in 2021 Ibrahim Kamara and Gareth Wrighton, respectively Editor in Chief and Art Director of Dazed, selected an Armani silk dress.

The assets of the archive are owned by Bath & North Somerset Council (B&NES), with no apparent requirements on permissions for use. However, a strategic focus on digitising assets and the resulting increased visibility will hopefully raise questions not anticipated yet in this area.

For example, a 3D captured vintage designer dress of the year prefigures a very different definition of “publishing” to a 2D photographic image. Would LVMH maintain a position of IP ownership if the Fashion Museum digitised and distributed a 3D representation of a 1940s Dior New Look dress from its collection?

‘This exciting Fellowship combo brings together interdisciplinary practice, research and collaboration. We can’t wait to support these Fellows through this real-world challenge with practical outcomes.’  Vanessa Bellaar Spruijt, Watershed Producer 

The two Dress of the Year Fellows will work together in collaboration with the stakeholders in order to choose a single dress that will serve as a prism for the research. The research would explore two key considerations:

Fidelity of fashion asset reproduction in 3D environments

“The complexity of cloth simulation in order to generate an impression of weight, tactility, flow etc is a very current research area rather than solved problem.” Sally Ann Houghton, lead on fashion innovation for Epic Games

What would an industry leading exploration of the digital representation of existing fashion and fabric assets within immersive environments comprise? What are the affordances, barriers and opportunities when seeking the high-quality translation of archive onto new platforms?

Legal basis of fashion asset reproduction in 3D environments

“Laws haven’t caught up with the metaverse, but that doesn’t mean brands can’t start preparing now.” Jeff Trexler, Associate Director, Fordham University’s Fashion Law Institute

Is there any legal precedent for the extension of current contractual obligations around existing fashion assets when exploring digitisation and exploitation in emerging 3D platforms? Are there nascent models related to the market for purely digital fashions and/or blockchain technologies? What might a new best practice standard look like and what are the opportunities or challenges in adoption? What are the future implications for IP and rights as this process of digitisation of 3D assets gets simpler?

More Fellowship calls will be announced throughout the year – sign up to MyWorld’s newsletter to hear more about them.

These Fellowships are part of the MyWorld IDEAS programme, funded by UKRI. MyWorld is funded through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) ‘Strength in Places fund’. 

Main Delivery partners: University of Bristol, University of the West of England, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Digital Catapult, Watershed, Aardman Animations, Lux Aeterna, Esprit Film and Television, Bristol Old Vic and Opposable Games. 

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