FORMLESS is a London based fashion tech start-up founded by Linxi Zhu and Panny Yu. With collaborations with names including Samsung, Atem Network, and their most recent project with ShowStudios under their belt, co-founders Linxi and Panny are redefining digital materiality in their fluid and amorphous virtual designs. In this interview, they discuss inspirations, digital material innovation, shaping and dressing future identities with virtual accessories with AR, and the new and upcoming FORMLESS virtual jewelry exhibition.
Having studied their masters together at the Royal College of Art, with Linxi from a background of fashion knitwear and Panny from a background of jewelry design, they come to join forces when they both realised their alignment in digital creation. Panny worked with 3D software in the process of creating her physical jewelry pieces, and Linxi’s knowledge in knitwear lends itself to an understanding 3D construction. Linxi was creating digital knitwear, blending together her physical designs with the digital through video, and Panny was creating digital eyewear. In the process of incorporating digital processes in their work, the duo gradually shifted away from physical production and moved into fully digital creations, thus the founding of FORMLESS.
“In our material collection, we created a fantasy world showcasing our digital materials, called Forming Paradise. Our inspiration came from animals such as birds, polar bears, and marine creatures. We were amazed by how their organic bodies becomes their fashion, their feathers, fur, spine and tentacles.” — FORMLESS
“We aren’t replicating physical fabrics into 3D design, but rather we are constructing garments an entirely different way, forming different shapes from units, combined depending on the user. Through exploring 3D modelling, we created a collection of impossible materials that can be worn in the digital space. We want people to try on these impossible materials, so instead of choosing something from material archives, things can be much more creative and interesting in digital design, and in web AR you can blend people with their digital creations” — Linxi, FORMLESS
“Jewelry is an object that you always have a connection to your body. That’s why we are very interested in how purely digital pieces can be worn on our physical body, even when it doesn’t exist.” — Panny, FORMLESS
“Jewelry always has an emotional value to it,” stated Panny. “An engagement ring, a ring made from precious metals, or a ring passed on from your grandma, there’s always meaning associated with jewelry pieces. So this is very interesting when it comes to digital pieces, I’m curious to see the way people associate value and meaning to purely digital pieces.”
Formless is launching the first virtual jewelry exhibtion in partnership with the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China. Developed in web AR, it is accessible online on both computer and mobile devices.