Perspectives on Digital Fashion and Web3

This AI transcription/summary was created on @November 22, 2023. Listen to the original recording here.

TL;DR Preparing for my interview with Marie Bastian, I'm exploring the merger of digital fashion and Web3, emphasizing blockchain's pivotal role. The landscape for creators is changing, offering more tools and opportunities, yet integrating into the Web3 community demands authenticity over competition. I'm focusing on resilience through self-reflection and energy management, alongside the importance of networking. Looking ahead, I discuss trends like AI in design and the necessity of understanding these tools' limitations while leveraging historical archives for creators.

Transcript

I'm going to go over the interview questions that I've been sent for a discussion that I'm having live later tonight on LinkedIn with a digital fashion expert named Marie Bastian, who is CEO of a project called World of Mesh. The first real question after introduction is, how would you describe the current landscape of Web3 digital fashion for creators and what strategies did you find most effective for thriving in the space? I think that we have to first make some definitions. And these are not completely shared definitions, probably, by everyone who's listening to this or everyone who will or people in the space.

But for me, Web3 is quite different from digital. Digital has a... Okay, I'm going to look up the etymology of digital because that's really, really interesting. Hold on.

So digital has been around for, let's say, decades. Blockchain has been a concept, I think, for... Okay, I need to figure out how long it's been a concept. Blockchain also fundamentally is a...

It's a means of synchronizing information in a decentralized way. So I think that... And being able to have verification in a non-centralized way. So there are huge parallels between what fashion has needed for a long time and then fashion...

Also have to define fashion because there's fashion, the industry, there's fashion as a creative medium. And to me, those are also very different things. So I think that... Let's go back to how you worded the question.

How would you describe the current landscape? I would say that digital fashion creators have been doing amazing things because the tools that are now available at relatively affordable prices with more and more coming online make it possible to create fashion or create things in the form of garments using textiles in a way that is accessible. Whereas before there was a very steep learning and financial curve and capital investment curve to get involved in fashion. Okay.

So now that that's defined, I would say that it's an open playground right now. And my entrance into it is very much hinged on my interest in blockchain as a technology for coordinating and verifying things across many different systems, which is still not a full reality of blockchain. It is being built out. And therefore, I was more interested in fashion as a cultural platform, as a medium of exchange, a medium of recognition, recognition of values, community, etc.

And that's why my foray into fashion in Web3 was very much more aligned with the world of merchandising and leveraging merchandising for the building of early, I wouldn't say early, but of kind of circa 2019-20 Ethereum community. So that round of communities that were basically DAOs. Okay, DAOs. That's what I want to say.

I came in. Okay. Next question. Can you share a personal experience when you face a significant challenge as a creator in Web3, and how did you overcome it?

What lessons did you learn from that experience? My background is... Sorry, I have to laugh about this one. My background is coming from more of like the art world.

My background is coming more from the art world. And I wouldn't say that I felt at home there, but I would say that there was a lot of resonance in kind of my approach to things, my proclivities, my style. So it was kind of easy to fit in on a codified level. When I moved into Web3, it was like experiencing...

It was like kind of like high school all over again, because I went to a pretty geeky high school where the geeks were actually super cool, and the alternative people were like... They didn't know what to do with us. Well, there was only one, and it was me. It was a really small school.

So I would say that it was... Yeah, okay. Actually, you know, this ties into like what we saw happen over the past two years, where... When a lot of people were like, I can't find my tribe here, or it looks so ugly, or everything is purple, or everything is like NFTs.

That didn't faze me, because for a long time, I've felt that superficial or aesthetic associations don't speak to the fullness of people, of activity, of potential. So I think that there was a challenge There was a challenge of wanting to kind of just feel at home a little bit more, because I was spending every waking moment and also non-waking moment of my day for three years in Web3, and only did I see marginal increase in the diversity quotient, which is really interesting, and maybe we can talk about this later, but while I say that, as long as I didn't look for confirmation in the typical ways, which really are also meaningless, because I experienced that in the art world, where it's like, you know tons of people, but you're like miserably lonely. There was actually quite a healing experience of almost like me bringing my own conditioning from the art world, where everything is about posturing, to actually be surprised constantly by how inviting and accepting these people were, even though I wasn't really from their tribe at all, and I wasn't a developer, like they were just really chill and cool. So I think that feeds pretty well into maybe our next topic, which is building resilience

is essential for creators in Web3.

What practices or mindset shifts have helped you build resilience during hard times, and how do you stay motivated? Speaking from the other side of a very, very long burnout, I would say that the biggest obstacle is our own judgment of where we are versus everyone else. And once we recognize that deep rooted competitiveness, which is constantly comparing, especially in a day and age when the algorithm kind of susses out the best of the best among billions of people, and then everyone pits themselves against those, I think that there's kind of a, let's see, there's kind of a need to disidentify, and to recognize that there's a lot that's wrong with this world, because there's a lot of wrong incentives. And when I say wrong or right, I do believe that those things can be defined because there is objective wrong happening in this world today.

I don't think we should be destroying our Earth for hoarding optionality, and that's what cash is. I think it's a compulsiveness, and it's a blindness, and I do think that's wrong. I think people should not be killing each other when we all face other existential things that threaten life in its completeness. When I think about those things, and I put my own competitiveness, when I quarantine my competitiveness and recognize that it's actually kind of a program, then it becomes a challenge to find a different way of navigating through the world.

I honestly believe that, or let's say I know, I know for myself, and I know that I'm not that different from others, that we awaken when our curiosity is awakened, when we face a challenge that we can surmount, but it takes some push. So it's become very important for me to, if we ground this in what I actually do, the way that I got out of burnout was I just started looking at myself and my life and trying to find the leaks, because burnout is ultimately a leak of energy. So if you stop the leaks, then the energy stays and it builds. And that involved a lot of tracking and a lot of cleanup work of recognizing that I had kind of made agreements with myself that I had broken.

And that was also around the time that I packed up my art studio and went fully digital for three years. Collaboration and networking can be crucial for creators. How do you go about building and maintaining valuable relationships with others in Web3, especially during challenging times? I felt really lucky that I got to travel to some of the big conferences over the past...

some of the biggest conferences, mainly in the Ethereum ecosystem, over the past few years. And this was due to my involvement with Metafactory, because Metafactory kind of came out of the ribcage of, like Athena, came out of the ribcage of MetaCartel, which is like an OG Ethereum community. And they run a conference called Emcon, and they just did something in Croatia. They're very, like...

Yeah. So... I think that... I almost shudder hearing myself say this, because I'm also a very introverted person, and it takes a lot of energy for me to go somewhere and participate for a week in meeting tons and tons of people.

But it's in those moments of rarefied, full-bodied communication where you get a fuller picture of who someone is, and you can start to explore, in those off times, maybe what's possible to work together on. I think this really is a space for collaboration. And yet, I've also made some of my best friends just from calls, because a lot is communicated as well that way. And I think, you know, I'm going to say two very different things.

The first I already talked about, which is that in-person thing, which is horrifying to me, but it still worked out, which says a lot about people who are actually extroverted. And then there's the surfacing of really incredible work. So... I think that one of the promising things about collaboration powered by Web3 is for there to be almost more...

There's kind of like leading with your actions. Leading with your actions versus leading with your personality. And there are people who, to this day, I would never have known about their work if it wasn't for Web3, and if it wasn't for seeing how they showed up every single day and just being totally inspired by them. And that's kind of what kept me in it, because...

Okay, so there's... Yeah, there's like the superstars where you're like, oh my God, I could learn so much from this person. So... The nuances of collaboration where maybe there's some more mentorship, there are people who are teaching.

So there's horizontal access. There's horizontal access, which has not been the case before. And then there's actually organic discovery of who is better than you at something that you can learn from. So this is a really nice...

Yeah. I also make... One of the things that hit me was the fact that there are compliments and you have compliments and people lie to you, and there are complements, and there's people who are making you work for so much more backwards, I also want to make sure that I bring in this digital fashion sexiness kind of thing. Okay, but let's move on to the last question first.

As a creator, what future trends or developments in Web3 and the digital fashion revolution do you find most exciting, and how do you plan to leverage these opportunities in your work? I'm... Even though things are moving so fast, once you recognize the limitations within these new capabilities, I think it's pretty easy to identify where there's still a need for certain skills. And so I'm talking right now about AI and design, and I think that when you have a machine that can design a million times faster than you can, that's only design, that's only the aesthetics.

Plus, I mean, it hasn't been applied to fashion yet, because fashion has a lot of parameters that are not as flexible as 3D printing something, like grain and all this stuff. You recognize also the limitations better, and I think that it's really important to work simultaneously with the newest tools, while also always looking at what the tools are not doing, because that's the opportunity. It's to be just as good as seeing the deficit of a tool as being excited by its possibilities. And I think that for me, like neurologically, I kind of short-circuit if everyone's buzzing about the same thing, I can't get involved.

So I might have an advantage there where I literally just have to, I have to like revolt and then investigate other areas. But I think that could also be my tip, which is, you know, we are humans, and if trends speak of any human kind of baselines, it's that we bore very quickly. As soon as we think we understand something, we bore of it and we need something new. And it's not just about newness, but it's also about kind of resurfacing the old.

So I think that it depends on who you are, but for brands, I think your archives become like really powerful. And as creators, it's your day, because the tools are just incredible. And I need to work on this answer a bit. Okay, I'm going to stop the recording here, and then I'm going to review the notes, and then I'm going to do another one.

Notes

Main Points

  • Web3 is characterized by decentralized verification and synchronization, which differs from the broader digital context that has existed for decades.
  • The speaker notes a parallel between blockchain's capabilities and long-standing needs within the fashion industry.
  • Digital fashion creators are benefiting from increasingly accessible tools, lowering the barrier to entry in fashion creation.
  • Personal experiences in Web3 reflect a challenge of cultural fit and the value of community and acceptance over superficial associations.
  • Building resilience involves disidentifying from competitiveness and recognizing the false incentives imposed by societal norms.
  • The speaker advocates for energy management, identifying and plugging energy 'leaks' as a way to recover from burnout.
  • Networking is crucial, and the speaker has built valuable connections both in-person at conferences and online.
  • Collaboration in Web3 is highlighted as a means to learn from others and find synergies in skill sets.
  • The speaker is excited by possibilities in AI design but also advocates for identifying opportunities in the limitations of new tools.
  • They encourage exploring archival resources for brands and unique angles for creators as pathways to innovation in digital fashion.

Stories and Examples

  • The speaker shares a personal story of fitting into Web3, likening it to their high school experience of being an outsider in a geeky environment.
  • They discuss a significant period of burnout, revealing the process of self-evaluation and managing energy to overcome it.
  • Networking experiences at prominent Ethereum ecosystem conferences facilitate valuable professional connections and friendships.
  • The recognition of Web3 community acceptance despite initial cultural differences is emphasized as a personally transformative experience.
  • The pursuit of collaboration is highlighted, with the speaker finding value in both mentorship and horizontal access to relationships and skills within the Web3 space.

References and Citations

  • Marie Bastian, CEO of World of Mesh, is referred to as an upcoming guest in a discussion on digital fashion and Web3.
  • Metafactory is mentioned as a collaborative project arising from MetaCartel, an original Ethereum community.
  • Emcon conference by MetaCartel is cited as one of the significant networking platforms within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Implementation

Potential Action Items

Research the etymology of 'digital' to better understand its origin and historical context.
Investigate the history and development of blockchain technology.
Define personal definitions of fashion as an industry and a creative medium for clarity in the discussion.
Identify and utilize the latest digital fashion creation tools while noting their limitations.
Prepare improved answers and further refine insights on the role of AI in design and collaboration within Web3.

Follow-Up Questions

  • What specific events or initiatives has the World of Mesh undertaken to advance digital fashion in Web3?
  • How do you see the role of digital fashion evolving as blockchain becomes more integrated into various systems?
  • Can you share specific examples of how blockchain technology has addressed challenges within the fashion industry?
  • What strategies do you recommend for creators in Web3 to protect themselves from burnout?
  • How can creators best leverage their unique skills alongside AI in the design process?

Arguments and Areas for Improvement

⚠️
These are potential arguments and rebuttals that other people may bring up in response to the transcript. Like every other part of this summary document, factual accuracy is not guaranteed.
  • There could be disagreement on the speaker's definition of Web3 and digital fashion, as these are emerging fields with evolving concepts.
  • Some may challenge the notion that blockchain is a panacea for the fashion industry's need for decentralization and verification.
  • The speaker's view on the importance of personal appearance and fitting in could be contested as subjective.
  • There might be a counterargument against the speaker's assertion that real-world networking is crucial given the virtual nature of Web3 engagements.
  • The focus on the limitations of AI could be debated by those who believe that AI holds the promise to resolve most design challenges.

Related Topics

  • ai in design
  • blockchain technology
  • collaboration in web3
  • creator economy
  • cultural fit challenges
  • digital fashion
  • fashion industry
  • professional networking
  • resilience building
  • web3

Meta

  • Sentiment: mostly positive
  • Transcription Cost: $0.138
  • Chat API Cost: $0.065
  • Total Cost: $0.203

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