We spoke with Eugene Leung and Dan Tse of the multifaceted fashion house INJURY. They discuss the origins of the brand, their current projects and their future trajectories. INJURY is headquartered in Australia and has been on the scene for almost two decades. Following their participation in Crypto Fashion Week this year Leung was recognized as a Changemaker by Australian Fashion Week for his deft bridging of digital art and fashion. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How did INJURY begin?
I’m Eugene Leung, founder and creative director of INJURY, a fashion house that focuses on our own slow fashion design brand, also creating original music and other multimedia arts. I started INJURY in 2004 mainly as a hobby. I was creating graphics and tee-shirt collections in my spare time apart from my architectural job. After the first two seasons we saw good business growth with INJURY, so we moved forward and worked on it full-time, making our full menswear collection, and we joined Melbourne Australian Fashion Week for the first time in 2005.
My partner Dan Tse joined INJURY in 2008 as the womenswear design director. She established the womenswear line and expanded the wholesale business to a global network. We have showcased our runway collections on the official schedules in Paris, New York, Australia and Shanghai fashion weeks.
How would you describe the style of the brand?
We are like amoeba, always evolving or transforming. We never set a particular style. I guess that is what the avant-garde is about, and I guess this is what the current generation is about.
INJURY is a gender-neutral avant-garde streetwear brand strongly inspired by sub-cultures, merging realities between virtual and the real. The brand also promotes slow fashion that focuses on seasonless long-lasting pieces with quality craftsmanship.
What are the gains and losses in making IRL garments versus digital garments?
INJURY has been creating IRL garments since 2004. It is always amazing to see an idea transforming to something tangible. The good thing is that it is very direct and easy to understand. We started creating digital garments in 2020, as we wanted to find a more sustainable way to run a fashion brand. Last year all of our samples were created digital-only with a digital lookbook for media and buyers. With ‘screen-wear’ and augmented reality utilities incorporated into our digital collection, the consumers have a lot of different ways to engage with digital fashion nowadays. We definitely advocate for digital fashion and believe that the market is going though a major revolution in the coming years.
You also write music. What role does music production play in your creative approach to fashion?
Creating music is an important part of my brand story-telling. We always use a
holistic approach for anything in the creative universe, so music is no exception. Music helps set the tone and atmosphere for a collection, and it helps me imagine the characters of the collection. Music, characters, story, and fashion are all integral parts to build the INJURY universe. One cannot be separated from the others. The process of making all these components under a creative direction is the key enjoyment and it is amazing to see them all come together.
Tell us about your recent experiences participating in Australian Fashion Week and Crypto Fashion Week?
In June 2021 we created ‘The Butterfly’s Dream’, the first 100% CGI fashion show in Australia. The film explores the idea of reality, inspired by the ancient philosopher Zhuangzi's paradox. It is an important starting point of an on-going project developing our INJURY x REAL PARENT macrocosm-universe that will expand with time, with multiple interconnected narratives to create art that is an experience, rather than a single episode.
When we developed the exclusive outfit for Crypto Fashion Week, naturally we wanted the stories and the character to be interrelated, so that it also forms a part of our simultaneous narrative. We expressed all our ideas to Crypto Fashion Week and the process of working with their team was very pleasant, efficient and amazing. Another great thing about taking part in CFW 22 was for us to showcase together with other amazing digital fashion artists in the same universe, and to have the chance to get to know more and be part of the digital fashion & art community. We also created the original musical soundtrack for their main show and 3D underwater experience. Throughout the process it was very smooth and easy, I guess because we have similar visions in approaching these films. I enjoyed working with them just as much as with my own team. I created a musical style that we haven’t tried before and it works amazingly.
What's next for INJURY?
We are currently creating our second CGI fashion film to premiere at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2022. It is almost like a sequel to ‘The Butterfly’s Dream’. Our upcoming CGI film premiere will also have a physical event attached to it, with a very special collaboration with the music group DeepFaith to perform an alternative fashion presentation IRL.
The CGI fashion show is part one of the story where everything is in the digital world. The clothing is only available in digital format with DRESSX. Part two is to bring all this digital clothing into real life, so right now we are also busy developing the physical collection. We are also working on our next music release and a pop-up retail store that promotes circular economy.