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Meet the 2021 graduate who shot editorials in the metaverse before the metaverse

The story behind my final major project is an interesting one.

In 2021, I was a third-year graduate student in London’s Fashion Styling & Creative Direction course. I was supposed to engage with the production of a portfolio and was asked to produce a minimum of eight fashion shoots in editorial format plus two fashion films.

I had been trying to organise myself and make this project happen for a long time before actually doing it. I drifted through a million ideas on how to approach this, and whatever decision I came to never felt like the right one. None of my ideas at the time motivated me to base my whole final year assessment on them.

On top of that, the reality of the pandemic hit me very hard. I was trying to cope with the difficulties it borught, such as online learning and the lack of inspiration and motivation to work.

 

As I wandered around looking for inspiration in pandemic times, a serendipitous meeting with my 3D designer friend was the answer

While trying to figure out my way, I ran into my old school friend Jordan Spence, a 3D designer, and I thought about how fitting 3D design would be for the current fashion climate. 

After researching the subject, I came across all sorts of works. One, in particular, was Vogue Taiwan’s May 2020 editorial called Future in Transit. It served as my main inspiration later on, as it was so forward-thinking and cool that you couldn’t help but be influenced by it.

 

How to use CGI (computer-generated imagery) to create fashion editorials as a journey to digitalisation

Long story short, Jordan came to London with me and helped me out along the way. Together we locked ourselves in my flat for a month and went for it, me as Creative Director and Stylist and him as Creator.

It was an inspired collaboration; we managed to hit all marks just on time, and, in my opinion, we did it quite well.

The six editorials produced later describe a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots.

This experimental project mainly relied on first-hand research and a trial-and-error approach, as there is not much information on the subject, and it had never really been done until a year ago.

 

The environmental shoot is about nature and sustainability as seen through a digital lens 

The environmental shoot, called Elemental, focused on sustainable fashion.

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

We incorporated real-world brands such as Freitag, which uses recycled materials to make bags and accessories we designed ourselves, like hats made from mycelium, showing how 3D technology can also help visualise ideas that are not yet real.

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Elemental editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

 

Utopia editorial as the first fully CGI photoshoot representing a 3D model’s journey from a Dystopian city into the Utopian 'beyond' 

For this next project, full CGI imagery was finally in motion, and the idea behind it was a transition from a dystopian to a utopian environment.

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

The main idea was to show how realistic landscapes can be created but made unique through scale and the ‘impossible’ physical existence of an environment.

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

Utopia editorial by Natalia Shibaeva describes a digitalisation journey and how CGI (computer-generated imagery) can be used in fashion shoots

 

NFT collection fashion shoot: From 'Modern Drought' and 'Darker Future' scenarios to 'Hail Fashion' and 'The Observer' characters  

The following was a political piece dealing with the political situation in the 3D world, such as the rise of NFTs and issues like graphic card shortage.

NFT editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

It took a more creative turn in terms of visualisation because when you can create a fantasy character and put them into all these impossible scenarios, why not just go for it?

NFT editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

NFT editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

NFT editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

 

Fidelity story is all about digital modelling virtuosity driven by the human hand, seen as haute couture in 3D fashion

The last shoot – my favourite one – focused on achieving hyper-realism through CGI.

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

We decided to keep the background clean to show the 3D modelled pieces digitally drawn by the human hand – basically haute couture in a 3D fashion world – such as a dress made of grass or a unique piece made from black gold.

The effect turned out to be quite realistic and perfectly completed the entire project. 

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva 

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

Fidelity editorial by Natalia Shibaeva

The bottom line is, don’t be afraid to experiment because you may find yourself on an exciting new path, and art block is fine as long as you hit every deadline!

 

 

Natalia Shibaeva, 
2021 graduate with a BA in the Fashion Styling and Creative Direction program, London

 

 

Creative Direction Natalia Shibaeva, Production Director Jordan Spence, Digital fashion Anna U, Olga Zmunchila, Evgenia Petrova, Salmonian Arts (All ArtStation), Jordan Spence, Natalia Shibaeva, VFX Artist Jordan Spence

School
LONDON
Course
Programme
undergraduate-BA (Hons) Degrees · 3-Year courses · Bachelor of Arts