Metaverse fashion and creative duo Dan Tse and Eugene Leung have earned quite the reputation for their immersive explorations into virtual worlds, combining a playful list of new and emerging technologies through mediums across art, CGI, film, fashion and NFTs.
Eugene Leung, a fashion visionary, musician and award-winning CGI film maker, was professionally trained as an architect, before founding his sub-culture-infused Australian fashion label INJURY in Sydney back in 2004. In 2008, his business partner Dan Tse joined as the creative agency’s Womenswear Design Director, taking their collections to a broader global network with a strong focus on the Asian region.
Since 2020, Eugene and Dan have doubled down on their creations in the digital fashion and digital art realm, building their INJURY “macroverse” — an evolving universe of characters with ethereal environments, original music, and digital ownership of its fashion collections.
They’ve amassed a well-deserved collection of trophies for their innovative merging of artistic realms, releasing Australia’s first CGI fashion film, “The Butterfly’s Dream” which was selected for ASVOFF 13, Fashion Film Festival Milano and Bucharest Fashion Film Festival. Their most recent film, “Rare Reality”, won ‘Best Digital Fashion’ at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival, ‘Best Visual and Special Effects’ at the UK fashion festival, and ‘Best Created Environment’ at the Sensei Film Festival.
Inspired by Japanese Anime, comics, gaming culture and art, the future-thinking curators and directors have showcased their works across fashion weeks in Paris, New York, Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing, selling their collections to more than 80 select stores around the world. Dedicated to accelerating the movement that lessens the global fashion industry’s environmental impact, the duo promote small-batch, slow fashion that is both season-less and genderless, believing that fashion should have a significantly longer life than the existing unsustainable industry market.
Conservative estimates suggest the metaverse market could reach US$426.9 billion by 2027, and Gen Z shoppers are continuing to spend more time online, finding more comfort in the metaverse than in real life. The emergence of both physical and virtual world creative ventures are only set to increase. So how did Eugene and Dan make it in the wildly complex, ethereal space of the metaverse?
We spoke to the duo for our rolling series about how they immersed themselves, and hit success, in the new world.
Thanks for joining us Dan and Eugene. Can you share your journey from the very beginning of your foray into Web3?
Eugene: I started the fashion brand INJURY in 2004 in Sydney, Australia, and since then we’ve been creating physical real-life clothings menswear, womenswear and shoes. In 2017, I was invited to creative direct a promotional campaign to promote a group of fashion designers, and instead of presenting their works through a physical runway show or presentation, I decided to create an avatar and showcase digital clothing as a presentation so we made a 30s campaign video which wasn’t easy back then.
After that project we decided to start our own collective REAL PARENT, an electronic music and digital art collective and started exploring the world of the digital fashion and CG film making. And when Covid-19 came, international fashion weeks slowed down, factories shut down, and that was the major reason and the catalyst that drives us to make digital fashion and CG film to express our fashion endeavours.
In 2021 we were presented the very first fully CGI fashion show ‘The Butterfly’s Dream’ at Afterpay Australian Fashion week through the Virtual Show platform.
The feedback was extraordinary and we got invited to produce NFT collections for different NFT platforms. Our CG film got picked up by Nick Knight and was featured on the SHOWstudio fashion film platform. The film travels around the world through different Fashion film festivals and so we did our second CG film ‘Rare Reality’ in 2022 with an NFT-driven metaverse show at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week again and that lead us to win four international film awards subsequently at Berlin fashion film festival, UK fashion film festival and SENSEI fashion film festival in Tokyo.
So how and where did you onboard yourself?
It was a very simple and easy experience, we basically do most of the minting and necessary technical steps ourselves, its a very streamline process. We’re currently on multiple platforms including Foundation, DressX and Culture Vault.
How do you keep updated in the emerging industry?
To really know your purpose of stepping into the digital space, as this drives the outcome. The space has infinite possibilities, exactly like what the creative world is like. It is always about doing your own thing and building it up step by step.
With digital and tech, you really need to keep yourself updated literally everyday and not being frustrated by the rapid pace of the change but embrace it and at the same time, keep focusing on your own art ad see the space as just a modern tool where art will never be bounded by the tools.
YouTube tutorials help the most in terms of gaining technical skills, however it is also the technical skills that gives us the biggest hurdle. We started from very simple aesthetics and techniques before moving towards the more complex stuff.
What’s the story behind your first art collection and how have you managed to grow further from this point?
We were invited to participate at Crypto Fashion Week to have our avatar character REAL and our digital fashion designs featured within the video. The theme ‘Be Like Water’ inspired us to create two metaverse wearables of our dreams. We depict the most versatile, most fluid material that we wish we had in the physical world, the “Meta Spume Gown” is continuously transformed from its bubbly top form to this floor-length gown form, in the same way as the swaying motion of the sea that is reflective of the beautiful mother nature and hugs the wearer closely.
Designed to walk above water, the ‘Meta Wave Boots’, offers the swaying motion of the sea, transcending the limitation of the physical world. These NFT are fashion wearables with additional utilities to the exclusive owners which owners can wear in augmented reality. The collection consists of 1/1 Edition tokens available on Foundation and were sold out within 30 minutes after launch.
Do you think there’s a place for all artists in Web3? Or is it saturated?
There should be a place for all artists, just like the physical space. Things will get saturated and then evolve. It all depends on the type and style or nature of the arts at that particular moment.
Have you managed to share or sell your art with your non-Web3 friends or did you build your community within the space, and if so, how?
Ever since we created our first CG Fashion film, we were invited to showcase and establish our NFTs in numerous platforms, for example being part of the Culture Vault community, and being part of the Crypto Fashion Week community and regularly participating on Twitter Space, Discord stages and panels. From our experience, everyone on the Web3 space is very welcoming and open and naturally we just become good friends with many of them.
A lot of our non-Web3 friends are also very curious about what we created and they tend to enjoy conversations with us to learn more about the digital space. I would explain to them and demonstrate how they can use blockchain technology to own and trade unique, one-of-a-kind digital assets and how this is changing the art world.
How do you find the opportunities differ from the traditional art world?
The major difference is the implementation and application of blockchain technologies that provide the benefits of decentralised data and greater control for users with their data. The benefits of Web3 for artist at the moment I think is the application of NFTs, smart contracts that cut out middle person and allow better connections and long term relationships between artist and owners.
What are your tips on going deeper?
I’m not really an expert at all, but there’s a a few things that one can do:
- Stay informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the NFT and DeFi space. Read articles, blogs, and follow influential figures on social media.
- Attend online events, forums, and meetups to connect with others in the industry and learn from their experiences.
- Get hands-on experience: Try to participate in NFT projects and DeFi protocols, this way you can gain practical knowledge and experience.
What are some of your favourite NFT communities?
It’s difficult for me to pick just one favourite. However, I have a few communities that I am particularly fond of and find to be incredibly supportive and engaging, including Culture Vault, Crypto Fashion Week, DressX and NFTAsia. Overall, my favourite NFT communities are those that are supportive, collaborative and diverse, where artists can grow, showcase their work and connect with others in the industry.
What’s your tips on “making it” in the world of Web3?
Patience, and never underestimate your abilities at the same time. Never over-estimate the results. This is just the beginning of the beginning.