Assaf Reeb on digital fashion turning dreams into reality

Assaf Reeb on digital fashion turning dreams into reality
Assaf Reeb
We spoke with designer Assaf Reeb about his current projects and his views on the digital fashion space. Reeb was born in Tel Aviv and now lives and works in Berlin. He has been involved in the fashion industry since he was a teenager. Reeb recently collaborated with the fashion magazine DUST, which resulted in the PFP project Fundamentally Human. Other recent projects include wearables for Desperate ApeWives and work with the creative studio Project AVE on an immersive experience for Decentraland Metaverse Fashion Week. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did you get your start in digital fashion?

Like many people who work in this field, I started my career in the traditional, analogue fashion industry as a designer. After finishing my BA at Shenkar I continued with an MA in Fashion at Central Saint Martins under Prof. Louise Wilson. I had always been fascinated by the image-making side of fashion, but was frustrated by the amount of physical resources that are spent on this side of the industry: shows, samples, photo shoots, editorials, costumes for performances – it all seemed like an incredibly wasteful way to create what was essentially imagery. I was drawn to prototyping and modelling tools like CLO3D and Blender as alternative ways to express my ideas about fashion and from there continued to AR and gaming skins, as I was looking for use cases.

Courtesy of Assaf Reeb

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm currently working with a couple of NFT projects, both are in the realms of digital fashion: one is a collaboration with an already-successful PFP collection, Desperate Apewives, which is much about the memes and cultural references of web3. It has been an exciting attempt at creating the House of DAW, a metaverse-native brand, by leveraging their web3 brand IP as well as an incredible community of crypto natives who are highly enthusiastic about their NFTs and see themselves as a part of the brand. For someone coming from fashion, these visual materials are unusual and refreshing and to see the excitement and engagement of the community is something that resembles fashion with cult-like fans of renowned streetwear brands, sneakerheads and loyal followers of avant-garde designers.

The second is Fundamentally Human, a collaboration with Luigi Vitali and Michele Fossi of DUST magazine, which I consider to be one of the most exciting fashion magazines around. The project aims to diversify the landscape of PFPs and avatar imagery and to bring more queer, fashionable aesthetics and creators into this space. It's a very high-end approach, much more similar to a traditional fashion publication aesthetic and there is a mission that we are all about, which is to support underrepresented queer creators as the metaverse and web3 is being built. Aside from that, I'm doing a mix of consulting to brands, giving talks and having conversations and tutorials with students in a few universities, which I find extremely rewarding.

You have done a lot of work with augmented reality. What's most exciting about AR filters today?

I think what DRESSX are doing is super exciting as a glimpse of what is waiting for us in the near future. I can't wait to see what the new headsets from Apple and others will do to the AR market, and while I've gained a lot from the Spark AR and Lens Studio ecosystems, I would love for another platform to emerge, perhaps one that rewards higher end, more elaborate experiences with a strong emphasis on body tracking and cloth simulation. I think if game studios would have put their mind to it in the same way they do with MMOs we could see some amazing things happening in AR and digital fashion.

How has digital fashion evolved over the past few years?

This is just the beginning, but it's impressive how it has turned from a dream into a reality in such a short time. It's the result of the collective effort of a relatively small group of people who saw beyond the challenges and had a very vivid image of what digital fashion can be. We are not there yet and there is a lot of work to be done, but we've come a long way in the last 3 years. New aesthetics, technologies and platforms have been introduced and are beginning to have a very profound effect on the fashion industry as a whole.

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This post has been updated on 17 September 2022 to include the names of collaborators and projects.