Taskin Goec is a Berlin-based digital fashion designer and conceptual artist behind Maison Taskin. With a background in physical fashion he hybridizes his technical knowledge with a disruptive technology-infused inventiveness.
A raw aesthetic and immersive narrations characterize the multilevel presentations of his collections. Exploring the intersection of physical and digital, his creations constitute an effort to romanticize the future.
To start things off Taskin, I would like to know more about your education, mostly because you possess a background in pattern making and prototyping and I’m curious to know how these skills translate in digital fashion.
I have a broad field of interests and I have acquired diverse skills since I was a teenager. During my high school years, I would intern at fashion studios in the evenings or during school breaks just to improve my knowledge of the different processes behind creation. Before beginning my studies at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin and London College of Fashion, I already worked as a patternmaker.
After exploring the shape, it felt very logical to me to focus on the surface and so I learned the craft of developing couture textiles at one of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art houses in Paris. So by that time I had shape and textiles covered but I still wanted to radically challenge the way clothes are made and consumed.
Was the interest in the digital sphere present from the start or something you picked up later in time?
To put it simply, I asked myself how I consume fashion. The first answer was “digitally”: since I was a teenager I consumed each season’s trending objects of desire on Tumblr, blogs and social media, before seeing them in the streets or at parties. And that’s when I decided to approach the design process in a way that seemed more appropriate, which is to say digitally. This is a decision I took five years ago and I have been updating and evolving my hybrid workflow ever since.
In your work there’s a constant push for innovation both in design and in the medium adopted each time (I’m thinking of AI): do you interpret this continuous mutation as evolution or innovation?
I think that our wardrobes should evolve together with technology. My work is equally design and research as I am constantly looking for updated ways to think and make clothes. I am not sure if there is a need to differentiate between innovation and evolution at this point, but I think that it helps to be less romantic about the past and a bit more romantic about the future.
Considering the ever present symbolic value of garments, I believe that fashion has always been a matter of mixed reality. In my opinion, what digital fashion is contributing to is the visualization of this blend: one might say that the digital sphere is helping materialize an amalgamation that has always been there.
I agree. I also think that the immaterial sphere is a projection space for our dreams, fears and imagination. A book or a painting is just as much of a window to virtual space as a phone screen. In a broader context this means that designing in digital space means also to create the immediate surrounding around us as it trickles down into our consciousness, our ambitions and lifestyles.
What kind of changes, if any at all, does displaying a collection in virtual spaces rather than physical ones imply? There are obviously constraints dictated by the technologies implied in the process, but does it allow a higher degree of freedom? What makes a virtual space safe? Is anti-malware enough? The last question could be rephrased as such: is an external protocol enough to maintain a safe space or safety is an emerging process and a matter of negotiations within virtual spaces?
I am not a specialist in data security so I can't say much about safety in technical terms. However, there's a critical difference between physical and virtual environments: most of us are freer in choosing the digital spaces. When I moved to Paris or London for example, I started off living in neighborhoods that I did not always feel so safe to express myself freely and to do that is a privilege that is just more accessible online, where platforms often serve specific tribes.
Spaces of Desire, your fashion film for SHOWstudio, explores the passage from one reality to another (from physical to virtual, from original to simulacrum) in terms of glitching. I’ve always been interested in glitch art and I think that in glitch one can find a path towards emancipation. These cracks in the fabric of reality (be it physical or digital) are in fact lines of flight, slits through which drives can flow. What are your thoughts?
Absolutely! Sometimes it is not obvious if we are looking at a real object or a simulacrum. It would be too easy to assume that the physical is always real. Think of the Disney Castle: the real one is in the movies but the one in Disneyland is the simulacrum, although it seems more tangible. I feel in a similar way when looking at the products we consume. Are they not simulacra, artifacts that connect us to an intangible, but real fantasy?
This moment of glitching that you've mentioned is quite magical because something transcending one reality and projects us into another: this creates a sort of mixed reality which is the most accurate description of what most of us live in. Training AI models is what makes me feel the most alive and present at the moment. I've trained models based on my work, my person, my look, etc. and I have conversations about these topics with AI (which probably sounds ironic). But it's almost an out-of-body experience to look at myself and my work from this outside perspective. I am not sure if everyone would agree that this heightened self consciousness is a good thing, but I certainly enjoy switching perspectives as it contextualizes my being in the world. Clothing and AI both help to answer the question 'who am I in this world?' through digital, physical and hybrid forms of expression.