Virtual Rags is a digital design studio that provides 3D-modeling, digital pattern making and motion design services mainly in the fashion field. Their team offers solutions for purposes ranging from marketing to manufacturing, custom tailoring or 3D-printing. They started their journey a year and a half ago and since then have been honored and blessed to build creative relationships with brands and individual designers from all over the world.
In this interview, Roman of Virtual Rags speaks on his journey into the digital fashion space, its significance compared to the physical world and where it's headed.
Hey Roman! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your work with Virtual Rags? When did you get started creating art, and how did you find your way into the Digital Fashion space? What is Virtual Rags?
My name is Roman and I am a part of the Virtual Rags design studio. Everything started a little less than 2 years ago, while researching the term “metaverse” for a college project. This topic is definitely stressful – like a mixture of something very “foreign” but inevitable. After some thinking about ways to connect our current reality with the new upcoming one, fashion seemed to be the perfect bridge. And here we are. Today, our team offers solutions in developing 3D models for all kinds of items for purposes ranging from marketing, to actual manufacturing, custom tailoring or 3D-printing.
What is digital fashion, and how do you think it will be integrated into society in the future?
We can see digital fashion becoming the new gaming. At some point it will be a full-on replacement of physical world fashion, allowing people to not only shop more efficiently and safely, but also have fun doing so and even wearing stuff they would never wear in real life or couldn't wear simply due to the garment not being possible to exist!
On the more realistic side, it will also definitely become the #1 tool to produce clothing more quickly, more precisely and most importantly, that are safer for the environment. AR, 3D and other technologies allow reducing costs and amounts of fabric used to make a single piece of clothing, which saves energy, natural resources and work-force. This is actually the biggest advantage these technologies bring to the table, and surely the most exciting.
What inspires you to create digital fashion? What messages are you trying to express with your style?
The Internet is our second home now and that’s undeniable. What’s also undeniable, is that it has become a realm where people are way more comfortable with sharing feelings and thoughts that they would never do in real life. Virtual reality is both a trap and an equivalent of freedom, and because of it, we are now aware of (and inspired by) so many new problems, desires and ideas. We can now try to make our non-material world a more sustainable, comfortable and free space.
Can you please speak on the pieces you minted on Portion? What influenced the creative process that went into its design? What inspired you to create these pieces, and how do you envision your audience will interact with and interpret your designs?
I envision that the pieces will serve as inspiration and reference points to something people either feel but cannot express, or simply need to plan for their next shopping spree. The full outfit can also become a way to pay homage to some of the best young brands out there today.
The Tiger Dress is painted with Sasha Ignatiadou’s wildly beautiful art. Animalistic ornaments with tigers as the main theme refer us to the Kenzo brand's aesthetic, but the fantasy remains original.
Ornella dress was born as a pure flow of emotion, with a goal of representing a raw feeling rather than just a cover for a body. Inspired by Netflix's own Euphoria series.
This Galactic Winter fit, despite using complex textures as jeans and holographic fabric, still stays smart and sustainable. Created w/ Cease and Desist brand's show-stopping jeans, accompanied by Axel Arigato's Winter Marathon sneakers.
What tools and software do you use? How long does it take you to craft a piece? Do you start with a clear vision, or does a piece take shape as you work?
Clo3D, Marvellous, Z-Brush, Cinema4D, Blender and some other software goes into our processes, each playing a role for particular goals and needs. Length of the process depends a lot on the piece's complexity: where some hoodie can be created in a few days, there’s a pair of embellished shoes that’ll take weeks to perfect. A clear vision is a must when working with someone else’s garments, but when we create our own, a lot is added in the process.
When did you get involved in the NFT space? How do you think NFTs can change the creative landscape?
This spring when we worked with 2 sculpture artists to help them sell their physical art through NFTs. NFTs, as I see them, will become an important tool for building an unlimited amount of new jobs, preserving history, supporting justice and helping humanity shift to appreciating the non-materialistic values easier and more organically. If we use the tool correctly, of course. It can as well serve a lot of unethical purposes.
What are some of your observations about the emerging behaviors in the digital fashion space and what do you see as next opportunities for this industry? How do NFTs change things?
There’s a lot happening right before our eyes right now, but what I clearly see in the grand scheme of things is that fashion is getting back to its roots of creating wonderlands and being a wild free art space, but now with a mission to shine light on problems and solutions instead of just putting on shows. We love playing games, and I think it is an awesome solution to treat serious things as a game. NFTs help make it all one huge multiplayer game, engaging us into building a better future.
Do you have any advice for artists just getting started on their digital design journey?
Dream big, research and build a community. And use licensed software.