As we move further into the 21st century, explorations and trials in the digital realm continue to become more advanced than ever before. At the turn of the century, SHOWstudio experimented with fashion film and the possibilities of a digital future, being the first to live stream a fashion shoot only a year after its birth (Sleep) and then a couple of years later, Alexander McQueen's fashion show (Plato's Atlantis) which, thanks to Lady Gaga and her slew of little monsters, broke the internet. The internet was still only an infant when both these streams happened and despite its wavering temperament, our director Nick Knight saw its potential and embraced it with his innovative ventures. Since then, we've come on leaps and bounds - as a platform and as a wider community - and although a digital future may scare some, others are racing towards it keener than ever to welcome its possibilities.
Daz 3D, a leader in 3D digital art, and the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF), a digital strategy and innovation institute that is a driving force in digital diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry, have released a non-binary and photorealistic digital double, Catty 8.1. It was released for Pride on 28 June, marking the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City.
Catty 8.1 - a gender nonconforming and digital double of IoDF's Creative Director and Co-Founder, Cattytay (she/they) - has been sculpted and artistically realised by Daz and its most talented creators. Together, IoDF and Daz 3D are ultimately seeking to initiate change through this partnership and further the promotion of digital diversity to ensure underrepresented communities in the physical world are not left behind in the digital world.
Honouring the need for safe spaces in both physical and digital worlds, Cattytay stated:
'An important part of our work at IoDF is giving marginalised voices a space to be more accurately represented. We felt it was important to be supporting the curation of this bundle for the queer space and for our queer community during Pride.'
Speaking of representation and inclusion, the CEO & Co-Founder of IoDF, Leanne Elliott Young, said:
'We have to consider where representation is going and ensure the voices in these communities are heard. Working with companies like Daz 3D and forming this partnership will pave the way for change.'
With the lines between the physical and digital worlds becoming even more blurred thanks to the increasingly popular 'metaverse' and technologies that create space for 'the in between', IoDF exists as an emblem for change. Noticing the buzz around IoDF's work on digital diversity and inclusivity, Daz reached out to spark ideas - leading to a seismic partnership that continues to propel the industry to change, sharing a mutual desire to drive queer representation in the digital sphere.