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Wales’ first digital catwalk show launches in Cardiff

CFW Natalie Collins and Paula Abbandonato - USW Jane Barne Gwyneth Moore

The University of South Wales (USW) hosted Wales’ first digital catwalk show last night (Monday 22 April) as part of Cardiff Fashion Week 2024.

The launch event introduced the concept of digital fashion to the audience – which included local fashion brands, designers and models – showing how clothes can be designed and created using specialist software and tailored to avatars, instead of using physical fabrics.

Compared to traditional garment manufacturing, digital fashion is inexpensive, sustainable and isn’t constrained by creative barriers or production limitations – helping to reduce the fashion industry’s environmental impact and offering more freedom for designers. Virtual garments can also be more affordable and accessible than physical items, opening the fashion world to a wider audience.

Digital Catwalk Show 2024

The Cardiff Fashion Week digital catwalk show showed how this concept is already being taught in the Fashion curriculum at USW, and featured designs by current students, modelled by avatars in various digital locations.

The evening also featured a video by Fashion Design graduate Jessica Evans, who founded Isadoska – a biodesign label creating sustainable fashion by combining natural materials such as mycelium and algae with textiles – in 2023. As a digital fashion educator, Jessica helps designers use specialist software to create digital and physical – known as phygital – garments, working with them to save time, materials and money.

Gwyneth Moore, Course Leader for Fashion Business & Marketing at USW, said: “The creation of digital clothing is key to how all our courses are evolving. We’re preparing our students for an industry that will look very different to the one we can see now.

“The fashion industry has a significant impact on the planet, and so we’re working towards a world where fast fashion no longer exists; you could try on clothes virtually and add embellishments on later, to make them your own. We’ve seen it in the gaming industry for many years, so now it’s time to focus on making fashion more sustainable, and cleaner – as it should be.”

The Digital Catwalk Show 2024

Paula Abbandonato, Director of Cardiff Fashion Week, added: “We are so excited to have launched Cardiff Fashion Week with such an innovative event at the University of South Wales, which epitomises exactly what we are about.

“What would a regional fashion week be, if it didn’t provide a local platform for young and talented emerging designers from across Wales to showcase their skills in an accessible and affordable – as well as professional and fabulous – fashion week, close to home?”

The event also welcomed the finalists of Queen of the Palace Wales, who tomorrow (Wednesday 24 April) will compete for the opportunity to represent Wales in Europe’s biggest drag festival in Benidorm.

This Saturday will see the Cardiff Fashion Week catwalk shows and fashion village take place at Cardiff Masonic Hall, featuring new and established designers alongside retailers.