Avakin Life — Interview with the designers

As part of our Fashion:Altered partnership, we are interviewing some of the incredible designers we are debuting on Avakin Life during this year’s Fashion Week celebrations about their in-game and real-life work in the fashion industry.

Our first designer is Linus Leonardsson, a London-based sustainable fashion brand who are known for creating glamorous clothing and accessories for all genders.

Q. What inspired you to become a clothing and fashion designer and how did you make it happen? How has that evolved by launching new collections in-game?

Linus Leonardsson: I’ve been attracted to fashion and clothes for as long as I can remember. As a child I was quite socially shy, which had a big impact on why I felt so drawn to express myself visually through clothing, instead of verbally.

Accessing the internet and its never-ending possibilities to explore fashion was also really powerful. It helped me completely immerse myself into this world from an early age and soak up all the knowledge I’ve been developing ever since..

This helped me to figure out what schools to apply to and get myself a part time job at the age of 15 to start saving money for my studies. I was a very determined kid! I think this digital introduction to fashion is a fantastic asset in the current global climate and for launching in-game fashion. With virtual clothing, the possibilities are endless and focus can be taken from functionality and commerce in favour of visual punch and fantasy. So in a way, in-game clothing is even more fun and fabulous than physical fashion because the possibilities have no limit!

Q. Where do you look for inspiration when designing outfits for Avakin Life?

LL: I love telling stories and depicting sceneries through my fashion design. The pieces that launch in-game are inspired by breaking social boundaries and bringing the old world into the future. The scenery depicts socially aware ‘club kidz’ taking over the secluded and more intimate spaces in society, such as conservative garden clubs or highbrow private members-only events.

Our physical cities are very limited in terms of meeting people and sharing opportunities between different social classes. That is why I think Avakin is a perfect platform to launch these garments — digital encounters allow everyone to benefit from the same possibilities to meet no matter where you are in the world, breaking down both physical and social boundaries.

Q. What about expression in this context? Can you give us some examples of how gamers are using fashion and design to express their creativity?

LL: Exploring fashion through social gaming can be a great gateway to getting to know oneself in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. From personal experience, using an avatar to play around with fashion and appearance in a digital environment that doesn’t judge you really helped to remove any fear of being more expressive with the way I dressed, both in-game and in real life.

The digital environment removes the pressure of physically having to showcase your creativity, which in turns allows you to cultivate your own taste and creativity more freely.

Q. Do you think fashion in social gaming can be used to promote diversity? And if so how?

LL: Absolutely! The alternative world that gaming offers is a powerful tool that can definitely create a more accurate representation in terms of diversity than usually seen in the fashion industry. The beauty of the internet is its global reach — it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, with virtual fashion everyone has the same access.

Because of this, I’d like to believe that barriers are brought down allowing people and creative expressions that would usually not cross each other’s paths to do so!

Q. Do you think we’ll see mainstream designers create exclusively digital collections?

LL: In my view, it’s just a matter of time before we see digital collections being launched on a bigger scale. Several brands have already taken steps to digitalisation, with inclusion of animated supermodels and even game characters for their campaigns, or the launch of Instagram filters featuring animated products. I think this is just a first step for an industry that’s slowly but steadily understanding the potential in virtual fashion and its attraction to younger generations.

Digital fashion is also a super exciting direction when it comes to sustainability, which is definitely on the rise too.

Q. What can new and young designers learn during Fashion Week?

LL: Fashion Week is a fabulous spectacle where I think the most important lesson to be learned is to have fun! It’s very common for people to doubt themselves in the beginning, which of course can be a good thing as well! It’s important to question one’s own decisions. However, it’s equally important to love what you do and to have fun with it! Otherwise you will quickly lose both direction and spark.

I try to see beyond the business side of it, and instead view Fashion Week as a celebration of creativity and free expression!

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